Adoption of technological advancements to improve efficiencies and save costs across multiple departments seems to be rapidly gaining priority in organizations. One of the focus areas for automation is the HR department, with an average HR personnel currently spending approximately 7% of his efforts on strategic and 62% on tactical tasks (According to a report by E&Y in June 2016). Though there is clear need for automation in the HR Department, we need to consider the advantages and threats that this transition will bring with it, before taking the plunge. Another key question to address while defining the HR automation strategy is which HR processes should we look at redesigning and to what extent?
Defining Your HR Automation Strategy
Understand the benefits and threats to Automation
According to the E&Y Study, an HR personnel’s time spent on tactical work can be reduced to 20% with automation.
- Increasing Efficiency & Productivity
- Speedy Proactive Decision Making
- Reduction in Security Issues and Human Errors
- Automatic Adoption of International Best Practices with robust software solutions which usually have prebuilt workflows, designed as per global industry guidelines
- Better Team Collaboration
According to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 53% people feel that automation will cause their workplace to become ‘more impersonal and less human’.
- Losing out on key HR attributes like listening, connecting, empathizing, motivating
- Impacting morale and engagement of employees
- Higher employee dissatisfaction and turnover
Hence it is crucial to find the right balance between automation and the level of human engagement with employees.
Build an Automation Roadmap
It is useful to create a plan with various automation milestones with the corresponding implementation timeframes and investments you are aiming. Focus first on Business Process Automation (BPA) that is the automation of the administrative tasks that though crucial, tend to bring down HR productivity when done manually. These activities will mostly be labor intensive, repetitive tasks involving a lot of paperwork like payroll processing, contract creation and filing, leave management, resume processing and tracking etc.
According to a US national survey conducted by Careerbuilder in March 2017, it was found that the HR processes most commonly automated in organizations were payroll, background checks, application tracking and administration of employee benefit schemes. The processes that were still very predominantly handled by the HR personnel with little or no automation were employee training, on boarding and job referrals because the ‘human element’ has a greater part to play in these.
Make Employee Involvement a priority
As per an article on the ‘The Future of Work: HR Trends 2017’ by Forbes, focus on employee experience featured on top of the priority chart for the year. Better employee experience improves involvement and deeper engagement that an employee has with the company. This in turn translates into better customer satisfaction and greater revenues.
When looking for small business HR Software & automation, an organization should always keep in mind that HR at its core is about people and the technology adoption roadmap should be focused on including them (rather than replacing them) and making their experiences as well as productivity better.
Some examples of how technology can be used as a facilitator for improving employee experience are as follows:
- use of social media, apps & websites to nurture relationships with employees and stakeholders
- social networks for improving transparency, internal collaboration & communication
- Building platforms to applaud them in a forum, recognizing their performance and rewarding them
- Using apps to make tasks like approval of expenses, filing taxes and view salary details more employee friendly
Have a strong execution plan for implementation of HR automation
Technology implementation organization wide can be quite a challenging task. There will be issues that the users will face in using the new systems and a lot of resistance to the new processes. There should be dedicated project management team overlooking the initiative and ensuring a smooth implementation, with all stakeholders’ buy in and complete adoption.
This project management team should create a strong execution plan after reviewing all current workflows, mapping current processes, gathering pain points and collating information from end users, department heads and all others involved. They should plan on adoption and training activities that will be critical in making the automation initiative a success.
Redefining HR processes and automating them will shape the future of the workplace. Hence this mission critical task needs the buy-in of not only the management but of all the other stakeholders as well. It needs to be meticulously planned and the strategy needs to be in line with what the company envisions itself to look like in the future. Most importantly it should be looked as an enabler of the workforce -improving their productivity, efficiency and experience rather than as a replacement of manpower. Companies that are able to leverage the power of technology to redefine HR to their advantage, will be able to gain an edge over competition.