If you run a business, you’re always looking for opportunities to improve your systems and find efficiencies to empower employees, increase productivity, grow your company, and make more money. One of the best ways to achieve all of those things is to automate manual processes. And one of the most important areas to introduce automation is in your HR department.
HR automation benefits start before new employees are hired, continue to assist employees by streamlining workflows for job roles across the company, and make offboarding seamless when employees churn. Automating your human resource tasks makes an almost immediately-noticeable positive difference to your company’s culture, efficiency, and bottom line.
What is HR Automation?
Your HR department manages the people who keep your business running. Human Resources staff handle the essential tasks of hiring the best people for your company, then providing employee onboarding and employee training that ensures the best people for the job do the best job for the company. HR also interacts with other key departments like finance and operations, answering people-related questions.
Your HR team is responsible for paying staff and providing perks and incentives to keep that top talent happy. When the time comes, HR deals with employee offboarding too.
So it doesn’t make sense to ask your HR staff to spend hours each day doing paperwork. Nor does it make sense to waste their time on menial, repetitive tasks like data entry.
Human Resources Automation (HR Automation) converts payroll and benefits forms, for example, into digital files and then manages those digitized files with software. The process starts with high-production scanners that get rid of years of filed paperwork, creating a cloud drive of instantly-findable digital files. Then file management software supercharges the efficiency of your HR department by turning all those time-consuming and monotonous tasks into automated processes. HR automation software increases efficiency and security while reducing human error. It creates more time for HR employees to focus on tasks that require decision-making and strategy.
Benefits of HR automation for all job functions
1. Reduced Paper-based Processing
Through document scanning and digital form-based approaches to gathering data, HR staff maintain a secure repository of all documents and records. Not only does digitization reduce the time it takes to find files—paper shuffling and digging through folders and filing drawers is completely eliminated—but the cost to store physical documents (and duplicates) goes to zero. Floor space can be repurposed or, in some cases, depending on the size of the archive, office space can be downsized which produces a significant saving in rent and overhead costs. On top of these time and space optimizations, peace of mind comes from meeting industry-set security regulations since sensitive information is locked behind a password-protected gate.
2. Improve Efficiency
HR staff spend much of their time on repetitive tasks like entering data into a database or spreadsheet, sending templated emails to multiple employees, manually routing work requests, tracking down and updating the status of those requests, and moving documents between staff for sign-off approval.
HR Automation captures data from digital forms and documents and leaves it in an accessible digital format that can then be shared according to predetermined workflow rules. Data is automatically entered into backend databases that have a clean user interface (dashboard), making it accessible company-wide as required. Workflows are tracked by software, updating stakeholders as needed, and ensuring processes are completed as expected.
List automation is a feature that enables bulk loads and updates employee records to help your HR team manage onboarding, offboarding, and administrative changes to employee documents.
Simply upload your employee list (even if it is in Excel or CSV), and the software will automatically make updates as employee data or status changes. For example, list automation will relabel records whenever a name changes (it even maintains prior name searchability, so the record is still traceable via the original name.)
It will maintain the latest change to employee status across the employee lifecycle and automatically update metadata for all employee documents. In case you’re wondering how your team will know about these automatic changes – the software sends out email alerts every time a change is triggered.
Efficiencies are realized with automation immediately because repetitive tasks are completed with fewer errors. Workflows are completed much faster without even needing an HR staff touchpoint. With unstable economic fluctuations, recessions, and unprecedented staff shortages, handling more tasks automatically offloads the burden from already squeezed HR staff.
That means the people who manage your people get more time and resources to perform important person-to-person functions. HR professionals are happier doing their job because they get to focus on bolstering company culture, and ensuring that staff are happy and feel appreciated.
The advantageous offshoot of employee happiness is increased efficiency and productivity.
3. Reduce The Number of Errors And Create Consistency
When hardware and software gather data, machines don’t grow tired of the repeated nature of form-related tasks. Software continually pays attention to what data is input into the system and what data is output. Outliers and errors are flagged for further investigation, which reduces the time spent finding errors and increases accuracy. Accuracy is paramount when it comes to payouts for reimbursements and sensitive information like Social Security Numbers and bank accounts. Further, data is centralized and shared from one consistent source instead of relying on multiple reports compiled and maintained separately.
Another way in which automation reduces errors and increases consistency is indexing. With multiple people indexing, Jonathan Doe could be indexed as:
- John Doe
- Jon Doe
- JOHN DOE
- J. Doe
- Mr. Doe
For someone not versed in search variation, finding an exact file could mean multiple entries, which is incredibly time-consuming, frustrating, and takes away from human-centric duties and higher-level tasks. When the retrieval process is automated, artificial intelligence recognizes that although a file is not an exact match, that version is a likely entity. The results are shown for selection, and the correct file is opened. This prevents duplicate files when a “missing” file doesn’t have to be recreated. Machine-based recognition adds consistency and reduces human error.
4. Improved Employee Experience
When you’re heading for an ocean cruise, would you rather sail in a bathtub dragging odd bits of plumbing behind you, or would you prefer to climb aboard a sleek yacht?
Yep, the yacht.
Your employees don’t want to crowd into that clunky tub. HR Automation is a great big, modern step forward that makes sure your worker’s experience isn’t a drag. From the day they first sign on with digital forms, they appreciate everything moving swiftly and not having to redo or resubmit. The same is true of the daily tasks of each worker across your company. A dashboard will show them who is working on what, and where a task sits in terms of completion. Employees will easily find documents and resources required to complete a task, which means the task is completed efficiently. And that means everyone working on those tasks is less stressed.
5. Remote Work
Workflows that require input from multiple departments become very inefficient when tasks get lost or people don’t know what is required of them. As your company grows, so does the number of work items, which means there are more opportunities for communication roadblocks to derail productivity.
HR automation delivers automated updates, helping to keep everyone on task, and making documents available in the Cloud. Efficient employee collaboration is especially important in an age of hybrid and fully remote work-from-home models.
Automated HR processes minimize delays. Automation software ensures that the person for the job has easy access to their tasks so they can provide required feedback fast. When it’s easy for employees to communicate and collaborate, less time is wasted searching for documents, wondering who is responsible for what, and at what stage a task is complete.
One of the most significant benefits of MEDI’s Smart HR Automation is the ability to electronically sign documents. Managers and stakeholders can accelerate workflows and reduce the burden of administrative paperwork by signing digital documents using e-signatures to cut out printing, scanning and couriering physically signed papers. They can sign off on approvals, contracts or agreements while they’re away, traveling or working from other offices.
Should the worst happen and your sailing vessel hits a rock, HR automation software builds in automated disaster recovery—all documents are saved, important projects are backed up, and everyone is back to smooth sailing in a fraction of the time it may have once taken to recover from a problem or breach in a physical office.
HR Automation benefits all job functions
HR Automation makes traditional HR management jobs like recruiting, onboarding, retention, offboarding, payroll, benefits, PTO requests, and performance tracking faster, more accurate, and more efficient. From the basic starting point of turning old paper into flexible, easily-trackable digital documents, to tracking employee performance easily across the company, to making sure the employees who keep your ship sailing are a happy crew, HR automation pays for itself from day one.
Aside from all the benefits of HR automation, the simple fact is that the days of paper-based companies are over. Businesses have jumped on the digital ship and automation is the natural next step. Make the transition now. Your HR department will thank you for it, and so will the rest of your employees.
Are you ready to modernize your company and start taking advantage of HR Automation benefits? MEDI provides HR automation solutions that solve your business challenges. Leverage technology in a way that creates more efficient HR automation business processes. Speak with the MEDI experts today.