5 Main Insights into HR Processes Automation: Myths vs Reality

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Insight 1. Not all companies need to automate their HR processes

Automation of HR processes is suitable for businesses with more than 100 employees and a separate HR management department. The latter should consist of at least three employees and have a constant workload and some important tasks.

 

If the company is small (up to 50 people) and has only one HR specialist, who is not responsible for active recruitment or work with the existing staff, implementation of an HRM system will be counterproductive and unprofitable. 

Insight 2. Automation may and should cover only some processes

You should proceed with automation gradually – process by process, task by task. Otherwise, it will only complicate the working life of the employees. 

You may consider automation of such processes:

  • the whole process of recruitment;
  • staff adaptation;
  • motivation, KPI calculation, recordkeeping of charges and bonuses;
  • assessment/certification, skills and competences management;
  • staff training;
  • communication between employees, answering questions;
  • opinion and satisfaction surveys;
  • recordkeeping of working hours;
  • vacation and day off approval;
  • recordkeeping of employee traveling (logistics control);
  • career management;
  • staff dismissal (exit clearance form); 
  • goals and objectives for the staff;
  • creation and maintenance of the staff database;
  • engagement assessment.

Insight 3. Automation saves money and other resources

Many executives believe that automation of HR processes is a waste of money, though this is a false assumption. When properly chosen and configured, the HRM system allows business owners to save both the employees’ time and operational costs. Additionally, it brings a number of other benefits:

 

  1. It speeds up solving everyday tasks. For example, a manager used to spend three hours on communication with the applicants, but with the implemented HRM system this amount of time can be optimized to 15-20 minutes;
  2. It saves time, allocated to routine tasks, so that the HR specialist’s efficiency improves. It is particularly important for HR directors and HR Business Partners;
  3. It enhances the loyalty and engagement of the employees. Since all the information is in the system, the workers do not have to wait long for responses, or communicate with the HR specialist endlessly to find out how many days off are available;
  4. It reduces the staff turnover. This benefit results from the previous one: when the employees have regular and valuable feedback, as well as access to the necessary information, they know that they are treated well, and, consequently, do not want to leave the company;
  5. It accelerates training of new employees for further independent work (quick adaptation). For this purpose, a checklist with reminders is created in an HRIS system to ensure that everything is done timely and professionally. Such approach will help the new workers shake off their fear, stress and feeling that nobody cares about their adaptation at the moment;
  6. It allows the employees to quickly improve their qualifications and acquire new knowledge/skills, as well as helps the managers organize the online staff training. This is especially relevant for remote teams, a company’s branches, representative offices in different cities and countries.

 

You can also automate several business processes at once. However, it is better to do this after the initial testing of the system and familiarizing with its basic functions. 

Insight 4. Choose an HRM system according to a particular algorithm of actions, not by its reviews

You should choose the HRM software with due thoroughness, because you will have to work with it for at least a few years. Therefore, we recommend that you prepare in the following way:

  1. Write down all the currently existing processes of your HR department; 
  2. Divide these processes into categories, such as Recruitment, Surveys, Training, etc;
  3. Make a list of those HR management processes that you would like to automate;
  4. Give a priority to each process, so you do not turn the optimization into chaos;
  5. If you have an ERP system or accounting program, consider exchanging data between HRM and this software (salaries, charges, etc).

 

When you proceed directly to choosing an HRM system, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is there a built-in HRM module in your ERP system?
    Modern ERPs, such as Acumatica, are very likely to have such modules. You can customize the module and cut your implementation costs. A fine example of HR module modification is described in this case study.
  2. What other services will be connected to the HRM system? 

These may include emailing services, LinkedIn parsing modules, downloading files from Google Docs, etc. Your future system should be able to integrate with other services (for example, should have an API).

Insight 5. Automation does not always go smoothly, and this is OK

Indeed, sometimes automation of HR processes runs very easily and exactly the way you planned. But in 90% of cases there are some problems, and you should be ready to face them. Here is a list of typical challenges that may emerge on the road to automation:

  • Lack of resources (usually financial and human ones);
  • Doubts regarding the right choice of HRM and the overall necessity of HR automation (see Insight 1);
  • The company is not ready to change the structure of its business processes, especially in the real-time mode (arguments and communication are required);
  • Adaptation to the HRIS system can take up to six months (especially if HR department has more than 10 employees), and this period seems to be very long, but in fact this is a reasonable time frame;
  • Some functions of the system are inconvenient to you, so you want to develop a new system that would meet your requirements;
  • Other contingencies. 

Conclusion

It is natural to be resistant to new things. But still, you should not give in to this feeling – instead, remember why you decided to automate the HR processes of your company and what you can get in the end.