Does Your Business Need HR Automation? Here's How to Decide

Digital transformation is providing modern-day business owners and HR managers with more options for streamlining their day-to-day operations. While HR automation certainly has its benefits, how will you know whether it’s right for your HR team?

Discover the true definition of HR automation, its benefits and limitations, and the must-have tools you need to know about to take your HR department to the next level.

What Is HR Automation?

Human resources automation is using software applications that can perform basic job functions for you.

For example, automated time clock applications track your employees sign-in times and working hours. There are also applications that automatically calculate pay and run payroll at designated times. Other routine tasks that HR professionals may automate include benefits administration, job applications, onboarding, and annual training.

The Benefits of Automation for HR

While implementing HR process automation does require spending time to learn new software and skills, those efforts are often rewarded with great benefits.

Improve Efficiency

The repetitive tasks that HR requires (such as calculating and running payroll) are time consuming when done manually. Automating these processes means that HR professionals can get more done in less time.

Improve Communication

HR automation ensures that employees receive timely communication—and allows HR professionals to worry less. Imagine how much smoother your day would go knowing that automated follow-ups or reminders about recent or upcoming training will be sent to staff via text or email.

Reduce Human Error

Manual processes are often prone to human error, and these mistakes can be costly. Consider the fact that your business can face fines and penalties if you miscalculate payroll taxes or forget to send out critical information about health benefits. Using HR automation can help ensure that you’re completing tasks correctly.

Focus on Strategic Tasks

The efficiency that HR automation produces allows professionals to take on higher-level responsibilities. When HR managers aren’t stuck using all of their time on repetitive tasks, they can focus on strategic ones that actually move the business forward. For example, HR managers can spend that time creating initiatives to upskill or reskill current teams for future needs.

Gather Data and Insights

HR automation applications give HR professionals access to a wealth of workforce-related data. Being able to track certain information (such as absenteeism, pay, and turnover) can help the HR department spot and assess potential issues and take corrective action.

Use Less Paper

Automating HR processes means your office will have less paper to buy, which can ultimately save you money. Additionally, you won’t have to find space to store paperwork. Not only is digital storage much cheaper but it also makes finding information more efficient—a win-win.

Improve the Employee Experience

HR automation allows you to implement employee self-service platforms so employees can do things on their own, such as downloading W-2 forms or electing health benefits. This speeds up the process for them, contributing to a higher level of employee satisfaction.

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How HR Professionals Can Use Automation to Make Their Work Easier

HR automation tools tackle a wide variety of mundane tasks. There are some tasks that are most suitable for automation:

Here are a few HR automation examples that demonstrate how HR professionals are taking advantage of automated platforms to make the job more efficient.

Talent Acquisition

HR automation tools can help you attract top talent by using generative AI to help you write a well-structured job description and automatically post it to popular job boards. An applicant tracking system (ATS) provides an easy way to collect applications digitally and screen resumes and cover letters for keywords and qualifications.

Some automation tools will build customized offer letter templates for you and allow you to track and analyze recruitment data to make your processes more effective.

Onboarding

Some solutions send automated introduction emails and allow you to systematically assign and track a new hire’s completion of each onboarding task, scheduling automated reminders if they forget to complete something.

Grant automatic access to tools and applications to minimize the need for IT to get involved. You can also opt to deliver e-signed forms, which can be automatically saved and stored to ensure proper recordkeeping.

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Payroll

Payroll software can track employee time and calculate hours worked. Many platforms will automatically calculate and file payroll taxes so you remain in good standing. In just a few clicks, you can complete your payroll run and ensure your employees get paid on time every time.

Performance Reviews

You can use HR automation to alert managers and supervisors when a review meeting is due. You can also automate surveys to collect feedback from various stakeholders and provide accurate and unbiased 360-degree performance reviews. Collect and store data and generate automated reports to help you decide on bonuses, raises, or even disciplinary action.

Benefits Management

Use an automated self-service platform to deliver required information about health, retirement, and other benefits. Allow employees to make their own elections and change those plans during open enrollment periods.

PTO Management

HR automation can help you create a self-service application that allows employees to see their options in regard to time off, including personal days and sick time accrual. Automate the process of requesting time off, allowing employees to log in to see their request history, submit paperwork electronically (if necessary), and get notified of approvals.

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HR Data

Automated software can track data on individual employees and groups. This includes self-identified demographic information, time tracking and payroll data, training and skills acquisition, and employee feedback provided via surveys. Use this information to help you make strategic decisions about everything from hiring to pay to promotions to new initiatives.

Professional Development

An automated employee training portal won’t just deliver training to your employees, it will also alert employees about upcoming trainings, track which employees complete modules, and send reminders about completion deadlines. You can also develop an automated learning platform to help employees map out their careers and deliver personalized training based on their professional goals.

Offboarding

Automate the offboarding process by scheduling exit interviews with employees and easily delivering documents for electronic signature. Ensure all employee information is updated in the system and that you have a complete employment and payroll file to satisfy compliance requirements.

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Limitations on Automation for HR Teams

While automation is an excellent way to save time and increase efficiency, it’s important to note that HR workflow automation does have its limits. Keep in mind that HR leaders and business owners cannot automate human contact, especially when sensitive topics are involved. Some HR tasks still require communication and empathy:

Good HR practices still necessitate emotional intelligence and soft skills, and automation cannot always deliver that.

Top Tools for HR Automation

Getting the most out of HR automation means using the right tools. These four unique options can empower your team with efficient and effective processes.

BambooHR

BambooHR is a comprehensive, all-in-one HRIS solution. The platform is much more than just an employee database. It also automates payroll, time tracking, benefits administration, leave requests, recruitment, onboarding, performance management, and employee feedback. If you’re looking for a one-stop shop, BambooHR can provide that.

TalentLMS

TalentLMS helps you create an automated training platform for your employees. Create your own courses and personalize the learning experience based on each employee’s individual needs.

Pingboard

Pingboard is a tool built specifically for distributed teams, but it can work for those in the office, too. It’s an easy-to-use organizational chart platform that allows employees to create profiles that explain who they are and what they do. The software then uses that information to show employees how they’re connected to the people on their own team and across other teams.

Asana

Asana is a project management application designed to help your team keep track of all your to-dos. The company prides itself on having created a system that connects project workflows to greater, company-wide goals so that your team is always working toward the same outcomes.

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