Technology is increasingly becoming a vital asset for most, if not all businesses. Bringing about the ability to automate various processes, repetitive and mundane tasks can operate independently without the need for constant human oversight. This enables businesses to become more efficient than they usually are with traditional methods. Yet, as compared to sectors like manufacturing and transport where technology has already made huge inroads into, automating HR has remained low on the agenda for many.
Under-investment in operational HR hinders the opportunity for more strategic HR activities. HR needs the same level and pace of investment in operating processes and management information systems as other vital business functions.
The gut check: Why?
Businesses who don’t look to employ automation into their HR processes face losing their better employees. This is especially true given the changing expectations of the millennial workforce. No longer is the paycheck the sole deciding factor in an employee’s loyalty to a company. Increasingly, employees have been ranking job satisfaction as a key factor in influencing their decision whether to stay on with a company or not.
A survey from CareerBuilder found that HR managers who don’t fully automate lose an average of 14 hours a week manually completing tasks that could actually be automated, while 28% waste 20 hours or more and 11% waste 30 hours or more. Imagine all the time that this could have been used to create value for the business instead.
Furthermore, giving in to technology for time-consuming routine tasks also provides the benefit of ensuring service consistency with reduced error rates. In this aspect, its productivity value unquestionably outperforms that of human beings.
The hard truth: So, if there are tools for employees to automate simple HR processes, why should they be drowning in HR admin that do not value-add?
Research by Access Group found that 65% of HR professionals at mid-tier firms are struggling to spend any time working on value-adding initiatives. Instead, their time is being consumed by day-to-day operational activities such as keeping track of employee attendance, payroll admin and ensuring employee health and safety.
While necessary, these monotonous tasks do little to value-add to an HR’s personal and professional development. Especially with the ready availability of HR technological resources that could simplify these tasks, even more would their role seem menial and redundant.
Instead, businesses could consider automating HR to shift responsibilities so that HR can free up time to concentrate on value-adding items. Enable HR to create real business value and not just be a glorified administrator.
Automating HR: How?
Any number of HR processes can be improved through automation. For example, onboarding new employees is typically laden with forms and can take an unreasonable amount of time when it’s done on paper. With electronic forms and automated workflows, data entered once can be used to populate multiple onboarding forms. Employee reviews are another process that benefits from automation by being faster, clearer and easier to trace from beginning to end. And it isn’t just HR processes that can benefit. Other business processes like expense reporting, maintenance requests or transportation management benefit from electronic forms and workflows too.
HR management has been constantly evolving. In the last few decades, it has changed its focus from personnel management to strategic human resource planning. With increasing labour costs and a lean manpower economy, the ability to capitalize on technology advances will help businesses balance productivity gains against expenditure costs. New technological advances have also allowed for an increase in affordability, simplicity and accessibility of HR automation services for organizations of all sizes.
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