Automation allows work to be faster and more effective and can, as a result, translate into huge savings for the organization. HR departments also benefit from it, as with the use of appropriate tools, it is possible to introduce solutions that will allow companies to achieve unprecedented quality, which consequently affects the satisfaction of all employees. It is worth getting acquainted with specific tools used to conduct a painless digital transformation in this field.
This article will explain the following:
- What is automation and what are its advantages?
- How to use automation in HR departments?
- What functionalities are offered by automation systems?
HR automation – what is it?
Automation is a significant reduction or replacement of human work (physical or mental) by machines. Such an abstract concept is best illustrated by an example. In one banking firm, eight people prepared bank statements for four hours each day. This process was estimated at PLN 15,000 per month. Despite such a large amount of work, there were up to three-month delays in the implementation of tasks. The company decided to automate the process, i.e. introduce dedicated IT solutions. As a result of this change, instead of a total of 32 hours a day, the implementation of tasks began to take 2.5 hours and consisted of only entering input in the form of data that was not processed by the software. The improvement in efficiency reduced the costs incurred to PLN 1,300 per month and eliminated any delays.  Such a change allows companies to carry out ambitious tasks and develop team members.
Technology can be used when a person is unable to perform a specific job or to facilitate tasks. It enters increasingly more areas of company life, and Human Resources departments are no exception. It is estimated that the automation of HR processes can bring huge savings – as much as 200 million dollars a year regarding digital solutions in the field of Learning & Development, 10-20% in the case of benefits and services, and 14 hours a week for people who make up the HR department.
The benefits of HR Automation
Digital HR offers a number of advantages, including the following:
- increased efficiency,
- time saved on performing repetitive tasks,
- fewer mistakes,
- lower process costs,
- high quality of candidate experience,
- high quality of employee experience,
- increased commitment and satisfaction of HR employees,
- focus on a data-driven approach and setting measurable goals.
The HR department can use automation to reduce or eliminate repetitive tasks that often result in human error. Entering the personal data of candidates or employees into the appropriate systems can serve as a proper example here. Such problems can be solved, for example, by using an Artificial Intelligence tool equipped with the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) mechanism. This allows users to fill in data after entering documents or their scans (CV or ID card) into the systems. Errors and repetitive work elements are then eliminated, which translates into time savings and increased satisfaction of HR specialists. Moreover, if HR team don’t want to manually schedule the meeting the best way to get interviews scheduled is to add “Book a slot” section in your email using a meeting scheduler which helps to reduce the human error. The ability to focus on more ambitious and creative tasks also increases their commitment and fulfillment.
Digitizing HR processes can have a positive impact on all employees due to the elimination of delays and the introduction of proper flow in necessary corporate mechanisms. Similarly, timely contact with candidates, (often automatic) feedback at every stage and notifications about upcoming dates affect the positive reception of the future employer and improve candidate experience (CX).
Analytics and a data-driven approach may be introduced along with the implementation of appropriate systems, which is equally important. Thus, HR departments can focus on defined and measurable goals. This will allow them to transform into real business partners participating in the company’s strategy.
4 examples of automation in HR
HR areas in which automation is possible are extremely extensive and most often result from the organization and the scope of responsibility of the department within a given company. Below are four examples where the introduction of appropriate tools can certainly improve the operation of the entire company.
Automation can spare HR departments many typical administrative tasks. Artificial intelligence is developing rapidly in this area and supports recruitment on many levels – from acquiring candidates (thanks to the analysis of activity on social networks and contact with job-seekers), analysis of their CVs (verification of whether profiles meet the criteria), the use of chat-bots (answering typical questions of candidates around the clock), to digitized recruitment interviews (based on video images and the analysis of facial expressions).
Although for some companies it sounds like science fiction (especially analyzing candidate behavior during a job interview using AI), some automated solutions are not only achievable but actually necessary. An essential recruitment tool is ATS (Applicant Tracking System), which helps to manage candidate applications. Many such systems are equipped with automated messages, the ability to select the appropriate date by the candidate, collective activities (i.e. managing groups of candidates), or even artificial intelligence modules that allow HR departments to conduct a search of the candidate market or the aforementioned CV analysis.
Learning and Development
L&D is a growing and constantly developing area offering interesting new solutions. The possibility of its automation is provided by a proper Learning Management System. For example, an LMS allows companies to quickly and efficiently assign users to courses, manage content, as well as adjust the pace and quality of knowledge acquisition (by tracking training dates or test results). E-learning platforms also allow companies to adjust the form to employee needs and provide each member of the organization with the means to contact specialists (through remote courses). Automated certification can also increase motivation. Such activities strongly support e-learning, and the analysis of the results facilitates the planning of further training courses. Some LMS platforms take advantage of the fact that they are used by all employees and offer mood surveys or other short questionnaires (so-called check pulses), allowing HR departments to define urgent needs faster. Another example of interesting functionalities can be found in the use of artificial intelligence to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and a better selection of courses or augmented reality modules, enabling hands-on experience in selected areas.
Each new employee must perform certain activities required by law or constituting a necessary element of the corporate culture. All operational tasks related to e.g. onboarding, offboarding, performance management, or HR processes can be automated in the form of specific tasks assigned to proper employees. What is more, the system will remind them of the need to take action. This facilitates the management of employee development paths and their personal data. HRMS or HRIS (HR Management System / HR Information System) are systems that make it possible. It is also worth mentioning that some programs can be combined with ATS to automatically enter the candidate’s data along with an LMS at the moment of employment, enabling links to specific courses as part of onboarding and including their performance in the employee’s tasks.
Commitment and well-being
Introducing cafeteria systems, providing easy management of benefits, creating challenges and gamification, facilitating appraisal, automatically gifting employees on special occasions, studying commitment and mood in teams and the whole company, or collecting points exchangeable for rewards – these are examples of functionalities offered by an Employee Experience System. Such applications require proper implementation and calibration to company needs, but they can become a platform for responding to individual employee needs while building a community in the company. They facilitate, above all, the introduction of initiatives, their cost management, and convenient control – usually with a small effort.
As the examples above show, the right tools can help companies achieve great success without putting a heavy workload on large departments. Most of the tools have built-in analytical modules that provide relevant data and facilitate the management in each of the above-mentioned areas. This takes HR processes to a strategic level and creates solutions that are tailor-made for the company and translate into the development of the company and its employees, consequently creating a better workplace.