As the modern economy spreads its arms to include technology in the market, the word Automation becomes more common among the industrialists. The current times bring the inimitable partnership between the business and the technology. Mobile phone applications, 4G technology, Virtual Reality, Online Businesses, etc., have expanded the scope of such collaboration.
Businesses have evolved to use big data in their digital transformation. The company can automate the production process, the distribution process, the consumer relations process, and even the buying and selling process. But how can anyone automate the HR processes? What is the need for automating the HR process, and how can it benefit in the future? Let’s dive into the answers to the same.
What is HR Automation?
The simple question that arises in the mind of the reader is – What does HR automation mean? This term comprises two essential components: HR and automation. By understanding the two, one can easily understand what HR automation is.
The International Society of Automation (ISA) defines Automation as “the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.” In simpler words, it is the technology that performs a process or procedure with the requirement of minimum human involvement possible.
That defines the second half of the term. Now for the first half: in the contemporary world, HR is an umbrella term that describes the management and development of the employees in the organization, unlike the traditional times where it meant just the personnel or the department handling the same.
Combining the two definitions, we get a technology that performs the HR-related process/procedure, like recruitment, onboarding, payroll calculations, attendance and leave management, retirement benefits, etc. that are otherwise performed manually by the HR department.
FactoHR defines HR automation as “the process of improving the productivity of the HR department by freeing employees from wearisome non-automatic tasks and allowing them to give their attention to complex tasks like decision making and strategizing. As the process of calculation of payroll or maintenance of attendance is performed automatically, the burden on the management reduces.
Time thus saved, can be utilized in completing essential tasks. The automated systems can handle the procedure right from recruiting the employees to their retirement and everything in between.
How Automation Benefits the HR process?
Better management efficiency and improved focus on more essential tasks like decision making or strategy formulation aren’t the only benefits that the automation of HR processes provides. Hereunder are some other ways in which the HR process benefits.
1. Cuts short the recruitment and onboarding process:
These two processes, in the HR realm, are the most time, energy, and resource-consuming method. It takes the management weeks, even months, to get through with these processes.
One must know that just the recruitment consists of numerous steps like screening, scrutinizing, interviewing, etc. automation, however, performs such tasks within hours, and the management has to perform the simple task of checking the results, conducting the interviews, and doing a background check (that is, in case of the recruitment process).
It minimizes the processing time, ensures transparent functioning, and reduces errors to improve its overall efficiency.
2. Updated appraisal process:
The appraisal process includes the performance evaluation of the employee. Traditionally, this is a tedious task, and it feels burdensome to the department to do the same lengthy process for all of the employees.
With automation, they do not have to worry about performing the whole evaluation process themselves as they get a real-time report as and when needed. Hence, automation helps in improving the appraisal process.
3. Quick and easy leave approval process:
When the leave management is in the hands of technology, the leave approval process becomes quick and easy. It informs the department when an employee submits a leave application for their approval.
It notifies the employee when they leave application is approved. Besides this, the software can auto-approve the leaves with customized options. These features help to quicken the leave approval process, which would otherwise take weeks as the paper applications sit on the table, waiting to be read and approved.
Benefits that Businesses can leverage by considering HR Automation
Thirteen members of the Forbes Human Resource Council examined how Businesses are leveraging technology in HR. Mentioned below are the three essential benefits that the business leverages by implementing HR automation.
As discussed above, automation takes away all the lengthy and monotonous work from the department and uses computer systems to do the same. It enables the department to save a lot of time, effort, and funds that they can otherwise use in much more critical fields like decision making, grievance management, dispute management, making strategies, etc.
The department becomes more active and efficient because they have to face new tasks instead of doing the same repetitive work. When the efficiency of the department is improved, it is evident that the organization thrives.
2. Error and Hassle-free Process:
The chances of mistakes are high when the processes are traditionally carried out. When there is a minimum human intervention, there are minimum human errors. The mistakes may be made only in the data entry level of the process which is carried out by humans. But these errors are easily traceable and can be rectified without any aggravation. Thus, automation minimizes errors almost entirely and provides a hassle-free process.
3. Excellent experience:
The HR process’s automation makes the work a lot more fun because the employees and management do not have to worry about the extensive manual process. Everything is done automatically and the employees and management save a lot of time because all the time-consuming work is completed in a matter of a few clicks. They do not have to roam in the work premises for the applications and approvals, as this can be done on their cellular devices.
HR activities Business Can Deal Through Automation:
1. Employee Onboarding:
When there are numerous resumes, applications, CVs, etc., received in paper form by the management during the recruitment process, it becomes easy to lose or misplace a paper or two from enormous bundles. It is because the whole process of onboarding is shared among many employees, and resultantly the paperwork gets tossed around from one to another. Besides, this process takes up hours, at times, even weeks’ worth of collecting such data.
When this process is automated, the time is reduced by a mammoth. The data is collected in digital form and stored in the cloud platform. It makes it easier for authorized personnel to access the documents without much effort. The data is secured by encryption, and it is organized efficiently to avoid misplacing.
2. Employee Timesheet Management:
In a traditional system, an employee inputs his hours worked at the end of the day or week. It may not be accurate as sometimes, the employees forget when they entered that day, let alone a whole week. At other times, very rarely, the employee may enter more hours than he worked with a corrupt intent. It’s because the system of entering the clock in, under the traditional process, is either in the form of an excel sheet or by jotting down the hours on a paper sheet.
Automation provides various non-cheatable ways to punch in the hours using technology. These include a biometric system of punch in, logging in through emails, or clocking in on cellular devices, restricted to a specific office area. It allows easy calculation of work hours and avoids the malpractices of entering the wrong hours.
3. Leave Requests:
Usually, the employee willing to apply for a leave writes a written application on paper. He submits this to the respective personnel and waits for the approval to arrive. The receiver may forget to go through the application right then, and there are chances that the application would be sitting on the table for days, weeks at times. And once he sends out the approval, it may take time to reach the employee. This process may take days. It is inefficient and may cause dissatisfaction on the part of the employee.
Leave Management applications/software provide a unique characteristic of notifications and reminders. When the superiors receive the application, the software notifies them through their cellular devices. In the case of pending apps, the software sends a reminder to a person to go through the same. The employee also receives a notification when his leave is approved. The software allows customized auto-approval in case of work-related leaves. It reduces the workload of HR and saves time.
4. Performance Management:
When there are many employees in the organization, keeping track of their performance and evaluating the same becomes a drawn-out process. It takes weeks to prepare a report on everyone’s performance. The method of comparing, analyzing, and evaluating takes yet more time. The appraisals become delayed or unjust (in case a mistake was made in the evaluation).
Hence, when the process is automated, all that HR has to do is to evaluate the performance reports and analytics. All the hefty process of preparing an analysis is removed as the software provides real-time reporting and analysis.
The traditional interviewing systems for the exit interview consisted of the employee filling up a paper form, which required him to write explanatory answers for the questions asked. It was time-consuming and pressurizing on the employee as he would have to fill it in the office premises itself. However, with automation, the employees can use their mobile phones as per their preferences.
With the changing technological environment, it becomes a necessity for the company to automate the HR processes. If they can use technology for marketing and advertising, why not for Human Resources? Sticking to the traditional manual HR process would only mean that the organization brings an end to itself.
The conventional system is more like an anchor holding the organization down. When the competitors cut their anchors off and soar in the sky, the ones holding onto theirs could do nothing but sink. The 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, once said: “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” It is better to invest in HR automation to have the chance to survive in the modern tech-savvy market.