HR Automation

Focus on the Talent

As HR specialists, we understand that no one system can offer HR departments the functionality they need to manage the complex world of HR. But most systems need primary information that is typically maintained in the core HR system. Setting up HR automation will address this need and free up HR Departments to focus on value-add tasks. In the long run, investing in automation software can save thousands by increasing productivity and allowing your department to focus on what makes your company really tick: the talent, not the paperwork.

What is HR Automation?

HR automation (also known as HR process automation or HR workflow automation) is the use of technology that automates recurring HR processes and reduce manual tasks, using predetermined triggers. The purpose is to ensure data flows from the source record in one system, to another via a workflow or an integration without sacrificing quality. This serves to reduce manual tasks, increase data quality and the speed of data transfer (real-time), improve the confidence in reports and significantly reduces the time it takes to complete HR tasks. The time savings also equates to cost reductions as well, allowing the HR team to focus on more value-added tasks and ensures better business partnering by the HR Department. But most of all having the data available in the right systems will contribute to significantly improved data analysis and reporting, leading to better decision making.

According to studies carried out, HR departments can spend between 40% - 60% of their time on manual tasks. Typical tasks include entering the same data into two or more systems, setting up spreadsheets for various processes (e.g. annual pay review, bonus/commission payment calculations, etc), running reports and downloading them to combine the data from other systems to produce the required outputs.

Why HR Automation?

Automation handles many of the administrative tasks that, though critical, slow down productivity when performed manually. Such tasks include filing documents, creating new folders, and transferring documents between employees, hiring managers and others.

According to a report by McKinsey, "The Future of Work", an employee in Europe spend on average, 59 days per year on administrative or repetitive tasks.

By automating standard and repetitive HR activities, organisations can reduce the time spent on manual HR planning and processing and design, streamline, integrate, and deploy necessary services swiftly at a considerably lower cost. Thus, HR automation can reap indispensable benefits if implemented right and enable HR to focus on their roles' more strategic aspects, such as talent forecast, pipeline succession, and decision making.

Organisations will be able to lower operational costs by 30% by 2024 through automation technologies - Source: Gartner "Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021

As HR continues to evolve, automation is central to their evolution. A modern HR organisation needs the tools to prepare employees for growth and meet tomorrow's challenges.

A moderate to strong growth of HR Automation tools, including robotic process automation and virtual assistants/chatbots, is predicted in 2021. 38% of companies believe AI and robotics will be "fully implemented" in their company within five years. Deloitte Human Capital Trends research (10,400 respondents from 140 countries)

Benefits of HR Automation

A changing landscape in both technology and talent means HR must frequently seek out better tactics, processes, and tools for performance. Companies that rely on manual, paper-based processes are re-examining their processes and finding that automation technology leads to many benefits, including better productivity, cost containment and compliance, awareness of employee and candidate talent and chances for strategic contribution to the organisation.

The technology behind HR Automation

Technology now enables organisations to automate repeatable business processes and support this move toward more strategic activities. But, with a wide array of options available, how do Heads of HR select the right solution for their organisation?

HR automation software should include robust process automation capabilities that are user-friendly and intuitive. If a system is easy to use, it is more likely to be adopted quickly, allowing organisations to reap the benefits sooner.

The technology deployed behind automation can easily be broken down into six pillars:

  1. Robotic Process Automation (RPA),
  2. Process Mining,
  3. Digital Process Automation (DPA),
  4. Low-code Automation,
  5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  6. Chatbots

To learn more about these, their benefits and use cases, download a copy of the guide: 'The 6 Pillars of Intelligent Automation from an HR Perspective.'

When to automate?

HR business leaders across all industries and organisations of all sizes are turning to intelligent automation to increase their operational efficiencies. By automating repetitive, error-prone, time-sensitive work, HR can focus on driving better employee experiences and delivering accurate, strategic guidance to executive team members.

"More than 80% of CEOs are focused on driving the digital transformation of their business. HR is now tasked with leading the organisation through this transformation." -Gartner, HR Leaders Propel Business Growth—Research, advice and tools for HR leaders

Before you decide to automate HR processes, it's important to weigh all the factors involved, such as the predicted growth of the company and the level of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with the current HR system.

  1. Under performing core processes – do any of the fundamental responsibilities of HR fall short? Inefficient payroll processes, slow onboarding etc., can all be signs of this.
  2. Workforce has outgrown HR capabilities - a lack of recruitment efforts coupled with high turnover rates is often an indication of this.
  3. Audits have become problematic - HR records and procedures fail to meet regulations, and the audit process itself disrupts work and hinders productivity
  4. Operational costs have escalated and are unsustainable – managing and maintaining paper records, including storage.
  5. Decrease in HR Budget/staffing
  6. Geographic business expansion – manual and paper-based processes rely too much on data entry and administrative bottlenecks to efficiently share information with other locations.

What HR processes can be automated?

The range of HR processes that can be automated is vast. These include recruitment, employee onboarding/offboarding, performance management, payroll and benefits.

What to look for in an HR Automation solution?

Although this depends mainly on the challenges you are looking to address, an HR Automation solution must integrate seamlessly with the systems you already have in place and be relatively simple to implement and use, with minimal training. You also need to consider the budget you're working with, set yourself a rollout timeline, and consider your stakeholders.  Most companies can have up to 10-12 systems involved in the HR automation process, which means ease of integration is crucial for success.

It's also important to note that HR automation will not fix poor HR procedures or policies. Additionally, your chosen HR automation software may work well for your company's current size but fail to scale as you grow in size or expand overseas. These are all factors to consider before choosing an automation tool.

 To ensure the solution you choose is in tune with your HR processes, you need to cross-check the list of features this automated HR software offers.

Here is a list of six features every HR automation software must have:

  1. Actionable Insights: Speed up the decision-making process with visual-rich reports and dashboards
  2. Omni-Channel Access: Access information related to any HR process, anywhere, at any time, on any device
  3. Quick Integration: Synchronise data with other HR management systems through API integrations
  4. Risk Mitigation: Make all HR processes tamper-proof with audit trails and 360-degree visibility
  5. Automated Alerts: Set automated alerts to keep employees on track and complete tasks on time
  6. Dynamic Workflow: Design unique, automated HR workflows that are in tune with every HR process

How to approach HR Automation?

If you are looking to harness the power of HR Automation, there are nine simple steps to follow, i.e.:

  1. Define your objectives
  2. Find opportunities
  3. Validate your beliefs
  4. Establish governance
  5. Develop a plan
  6. Run a trial
  7. Deploy a solution
  8. Track your progress
  9. Make further improvements

To learn more about these, download 'Your 9 Step Guide to HR Automation.'

Start your HR Automation journey

As you begin to identify opportunities for HR automation, remember that automation is not a means to an end. HR will always be about the people, and automation technology should serve those people, not replace them. As such, not every single aspect of HR can or should be automated; rather, automation should help HR professionals find and retain more talented individuals, collaborate with the organisation and spend more time evaluating their workforce.

Before you spend more resources hiring additional employees to manage your HR tasks, think about automation for your HR processes. As organisations continue to move at breakneck speed, there's no reason to compete at a snail's pace using manual processes. With Tugela People's HR Automation products and services, and unparalleled support, you could well be on your way to a streamlined and optimised HR department.

To find out more about HR Automation and how we can support your organisation, please reach out on tel +44(0)1908 030360 or email: info@tugelapeople.com. Alternatively, complete the ‘Get in touch’ form and a member of our team will be in contact with you.