Human resources focus on the human side of business. But increasingly HR teams are occupied with mundane, repetitive tasks, taking their energy from performing more strategic HR functions. Managing leave, overtime calculations – it’s a long list of must-do’s on any HR’s list with less than half of that about improving this important resource – people.
Many of these tasks are easily automatable. Our industry is in the throes of digital transformation. The opportunity is ripe for embracing more automation of HR tasks. HR automation could potentially be a gamechanger for your business.
But with robotic process automation and artificial intelligence (AI) thrown into the mix, what does it all mean?
What is HR automation?
HR automation does what it says on the tin: technology that works to automate recurring HR tasks to save time while continuing to deliver the same quality result. Think about the enormous amount of paperwork your HR team spends their time on. If your business operates in multiple locations, imagine how much more control would you have and how much time your HR team can save when processes and repetitive tasks are automated across the group. If your automated HR system sits in the Cloud, everyone, regardless of location or time, access and records on the same system, simplifying groupwide strategy.
What are the benefits?
There are many reasons why your company should care about HR automation, but the most obvious reasons are compelling enough on their own.
Manual processes that are time consuming and repetitive often get shoved to the bottom of the priority list and it can build up to a point where an HR team member is stuck playing catch-up instead of doing other essential tasks. It often leads to multiple errors in a process where it can be avoided altogether.
With HR automation software, the paperwork processes and repetitive tasks are digitized, allowing the HR staff to use their time more constructively to the benefit of the business.
The manual completion of timesheets, payroll and leave allocations leads to many mistakes, thank to human error. In HR, we aspire to an error-free environment. Although it’s not possible, we can reduce the error margin with automated HR systems.
Make Strategic Decisions
Thanks to HR automation you can easily track and analyse HR metrics. This gives you strategic advantages to identify patterns and get insights into processes, where they work and where they fail, enhancing strategic business decision-making capability.
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What Processes can be automated?
You can automate any process that is repetitive and takes employees away from their other core duties. With the latest advances in AI, robotic process automation (RPA) is becoming more commonplace. This means that different processes handled in different applications can be extracted into your company’s HR software without the need for interfaces between the applications and your HR system.
For example, an employee emails receipts for an expense claim to her line manager. The RPA extracts the receipts information onto the HR system, and then automatically types it into the bookkeeping system.
This has huge potential application and the simplification of HR processes within a business.
But what HR processes most benefit from automation?
Payroll is a repetitive and time-consuming process. When overtime and leave allocation is calculated manually, a lot can go wrong. And getting an employee’s salary wrong is a very tricky situation to maintain trust and confidence in an employer.
HR automation allows your business to track and do the routine monthly calculations automatically. This simplifies your payroll process significantly and makes it easier to find up-to-date information when you need it.
Onboarding new employees involves collecting a huge amount of paperwork for employee data, signing of forms, providing training for new hires, requesting network access and appropriate devices, and more. HR automation can give the recruiting HR person to follow a checklist of the onboarding process, reduce paperwork by getting employees to sign forms online, and a host of other benefits that reduce waiting times and other inefficiencies.
With HR automation you can easily record and track employee performance to inform bonus allocations, salary increases and disciplinary action. And you can do all these bias free, with a clear reference point for managers during performance reviews and an objective measure for the employee to see where they stand.
Leave management involves multiple processes. The employee must keep their leave record updated with leave taken. The manager must have given approval for leave requests. HR must record the leave taken and leave balance for payroll.
Automating leave management means the system automatically keeps tally of the leave entitlement for each employee. Employees can request leave in the system and managers can approve it on the same platform, where it is recorded and ready when the payroll run comes up for that specific month.
Manual processes are by nature unreliable and error prone. If an employee must submit an expense claim, for example, it is a tedious, laboursome task for most and takes them away from their ‘real’ work at hand.
It is estimated that roughly one in five expense reports are filed incorrectly. But HR automation can improve this rate, with managers approving in the system, and payment automatically sent for payment.
Also, where a manager must approve leave, overtime, training, and so much more, this is easier to manage and minimises time spent on the activity of approval, if the process is automated.
HR automation is arguably a must-have nowadays. With intelligent advances like RPA and AI, other HR functions like sorting through thousands of CVs for a job vacancy can also be handled through automation, rather than occupying your HR staff’s valuable time.
This post was written by gulfHR who are an exhibitor on the HRTech247 HCM – Full Platform and Employee Engagement floors. You can visit their HRTech247 exhibition stand here.