HR automation is no longer an option for human resources departments. With stiff competition for talent and the need to do more with less, HR departments simply don’t have the time to complete time-consuming HR processes manually anymore. More time needs to be spent working on strategic planning, building alliances with other departments and employee career mapping. If these “big picture” tasks fall to the wayside, both your HR department and the company suffers.

Automating HR processes like employee onboarding, benefits, time tracking, performance management and other HR functions just makes economic sense. A productive and efficient HR department that is focused on improving candidate and employee experience and building the company’s brand and reputation will find it easier to attract and retain talent.

What is HR Automation?

HR automation is technology used to improve HR department efficiencies through automating manual workflows within essential and strategic HR processes. These tools enhance the protection of data while significantly minimizing the risks of errors. By eliminating time-consuming and repetitive tasks, HR departments reduce the amount of resources spent on traditionally manual processes, like processing time tracking sheets, time off requests, tax withholding forms, employee evaluation forms and other tedious, albeit necessary, paperwork.

Bottom Line Benefits to HR Automation

The ultimate benefit of HR automation is to save time. Time equals money, especially in human resources. According to a PWC survey, 44% of HR leaders say cloud-based HR technology increases efficiency and 35% say it reduces costs. With more time on their hands, the HR department has more resources to focus on the longer-term or “macro” activities.

Shaping Organizational Culture

Company culture, otherwise known as organizational culture or corporate culture, is the environment in which your employees work and how the company operates. It includes your mission, goals, core values and policies.

Why is this important?

Company culture affects employees’ desire to work harder, have a great attitude, work well with their co-workers and be more creative. Company culture improves voluntary turnover rates. One in five employees has left a job due to workplace culture. And, a company’s culture can be the deciding factor for candidates choosing between your company and your competitor.

Providing a Better Employee Experience

The employee experience is the impression your employees get of your company at every interaction—when they’re recruited, onboarded, during performance reviews, training, succession planning and offboarding.

Why is this important?

The better your employee’s experience, the more engaged they will be. And companies that have employees who are engaged from the start are 21% more profitable, have a 41% reduction in absenteeism and experience 59% less turnover.

Building a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Racism and inequality continue to be a reality today, and businesses have a unique opportunity to contribute to balancing the playing field through hiring, talent management and company decisions and policies.

Why is this important?

“Diversity in the workplace is an asset for both businesses and their employees, in its capacity to foster innovation, creativity and empathy in ways that homogeneous environments seldom do,” writes Executive Chairman at QI Group of Companies Vijay Eswaran for the World Economic Forum.

Supporting Organizational Development

Organizational development improves and reinforces strategies, structures and processes in order to advance overall organizational effectiveness. OD practitioners use scientific findings to create a structured and controlled process to bring about change.

Why is this important?

Organizational development is all about creating change that makes a company more effective. Change can be measured by financial performance, customer satisfaction, organizational member engagement and an increased capacity to renew the business.

Eliminating Paper Reliance

Another top benefit, one that can immediately be experienced when automating HR processes, is eliminating your reliance on paper. What we’re talking about is both the actual paper and ink and the time required to manually complete paperwork.

Consider all the paperwork required during the onboarding process:

  • W-4 for employees or W-9 for contractors
  • I-9 Employee Eligibility Verification form
  • State Tax Withholding form
  • Direct Deposit form
  • E-Verify system that verifies employee’s work eligibility in the United States

Automating this process by using a cloud-based, onboarding system simplifies the process by eliminating paperwork completely. New employees can complete the required forms at home, before day one. Saving both HR and the employee loads of time.

HR Processes that can be Easily Automated

Realizing the benefits of HR automation is one step, implementing automation in HR is another. There are several areas where automation can improve HR processes.

Recruitment and Applicant Tracking

With the help of an automated Applicant Tracking System, you’ll gain insights about your recruitment process because it gathers data from every part of the process:

  • Workflows—Identify what’s working and what’s hindering you
  • Targeted data—Learn where improvements can be made department-by-department
  • The applicants’ experience—Improve employer brand with a simpler process

With key data in front of leadership, actionable improvements will be made based on tangible evidence. Trust the process and your recruitment efforts will know no bounds.

For your administrators managing the cloud-based HR automation tools, they will reclaim countless hours once dedicated to managing manual tasks.

Timesheet Management

Managing timesheets on paper or navigating through Excel spreadsheets is time-consuming and needlessly labor-intensive. It can also be costly and worse yet, put your company at risk of errors and inaccuracies.

All of this is avoidable with the implementation of HR automation tools. Some benefits of implementing a cloud-based time and attendance module include:

  • Giving HR administrators tools to configure and manage specific rules and workflow structure
  • Obtaining customized reporting seamlessly
  • Giving employees the ability to clock in/out, view/manage PTO and more

Performance Management

It is extremely hard to manually track goals, manage fair compensation evaluations or even have enough time to truly create an efficient performance management process. HR automation tools, like performance management software, can help improve performance evaluations for administrators, managers and employees by automating numerous workflows, acquiring advanced analytics, sending out templated communications, providing a customized scoring system and more.

Today’s top talent is looking for fair compensation, ample opportunity for growth and great work culture.

Benefits Management

Without automating the benefits management process, HR administrators and employees go through a painful ritual every year. Besides the multiple meetings and communications administrators must organize to relay benefits facts, they also have to manage HR administrators then need to sort employee enrollment selections and relay paperwork to the appropriate carriers.

When done manually, this is an all-hands-on-deck process, which can effectively stymie progress to the greater goals you want to reach for the year.

With HR automation tools to help you administer the benefits management process, you and your employees will experience these improvements:

  • Employees can compare, analyze and check plan costs prior to enrollment
  • Employees can print consolidated benefit statements at any time
  • Administrators can configure rules for specified benefit options to appear in employee portals based on set criteria
  • Employee selections are seamlessly sent to appropriate carriers via Electronic Data Interface (EDI) transferBenefits deductions sent directly to payroll

Employee Self-Service (Portal)

Increasing organizational-wide transparency starts with access to information. An HR automation tool that allows employee access to the data that matters most to them is a great way to increase transparency and grow your employer brand.

Implementing an employee portal synced with the appropriate software tools, can allow you to offer employees the ability to:

  • Manage PTO
  • Clock in and out
  • Review and select their benefits
  • Download and print pay stubs, W-2 and ACA forms
  • Track goals and manage performance
  • Submit expense reports
  • Take surveys
  • Access company documentation and more

HR administrators can configure the features, content available and access based on company priorities and other rules determined.

Make Humans Your First Priority While Automating HR Processes

HR automation doesn’t mean human interaction needs to go by the wayside. If anything, it proves automation leads to more time being spent on improving the human interactions between managers and employees.

Companies that have achieved organizational transformation through automation have found putting people ahead of process and technology is crucial to the success of this process. Companies must remember people are at the heart of the organizations.

With time saved, HR managers can apply the human touch by:

  • Planning virtual or in-person employee events
  • Hosting company webinars
  • Setting up “office hours” to make the department more accessible to employees

When looking at which HR process to automate, it is not a matter of if but when. Moving forward, companies need to do more with less to stay competitive. If companies don’t have the time to strategize and set goals, they’ll quickly fall behind. HR automation allows businesses to streamline time-consuming processes that, let’s be honest, are clunky if done by hand.

Wondering if your company’s HR processes need to be automated? Take our Free HR Assessment to review how you’re currently working and then talk to us about how we can help you work smarter.