There is one thing to know that you need to automate a certain business process, but another thing to know how to automate. It can be intimidating to approach an automation effort in HR, however, in most cases, the automation experience is a lot simpler and more intuitive than it might seem at first glance. With proper guidance and by picking the right automation software to do the job, the process can be streamlined with quality assurance.
In this article, we will discuss the 3 best practices when approaching an automation effort in HR.
Benefits of Automation
First thing first. Why should you even bother to invest in automation solutions? There are several benefits to automating processes in HR, including time efficiency, smaller environmental footprint, reduction of workload, return on investment, and more.
The most self-explanatory benefit of automation includes time efficiency. Compared to humans, automation technology handles transactions a lot quicker. An automation tool also has the capability of operating 24/7, compared to a human that needs to sleep, eat, and rest. With improved time efficiency, operating costs will decrease.
Smaller Environmental Footprint
Automated tools streamline and simplify your business processes, hence using less energy and reducing your environmental footprint. For example, with agile HR software, you can reduce scrap and use up less space at the office or warehouse.
Reduction of Workload
As you automate repetitive, mindless tasks with proper management tools, your employees will save time at work and be able to focus on tasks that bring value to your business. As you remove hideous repetitive tasks, the employee experience is improved. Automation software can be a valuable cornerstone to agile development at your company and lead to more agile teams that work more productively and can take accurate, data-driven decisions.
Return of Investment
If you adopt automated software that is customized based on your business needs and specification, you will quickly see a return on investment (ROI) due to lower operating costs, increased production output, and reduced lead times.
Top 3 Best Practices in Modern HR
To utilize the benefits of an automation effort, it is essential to adopt the best practices in modern HR. The goal of the best practices is to reduce the risk of any failure, promote the success of the automation software project, and streamline workflows. We summarize the 3 best practices of the automation framework into the following:
- Know your objective
- Know your weaknesses
- Constant research
Best Practice: Know Your Objective
Before you deploy any potential software development and testing of automated tools, it is beneficial to know your objective of the automation effort as it will affect your automation experience. When forming your objective, it is useful to follow the SMART GOAL framework, which ensures a clear definition of your objective. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Below, we list some of the most common reasons for an automation effort:
Cost Reduction and Productivity
As it increases productivity and improves cost efficiency, a common reason for automation is to cut costs and increase productivity. Although quality software is associated with a good ROI, as some management tools are more costly than others, you want to establish a budget before you start your software projects. By running a system testing, you can get a rough idea of how much the process will cost.
By executing various tasks simultaneously and constantly, automation software can be a valuable key to improving your performance. If you are looking for an automation tool for this reason, you should look for an agile tool that allows for the continuous delivery of output.
You might be looking for a tool that will help you draw data-driven decisions using real-time data. If this is the case, you should search for automated software that enhances usability through a rational and intuitive user interface.
With web applications, you want to be able to produce reports and graphical dashboards with customized data metric. To be able to make decisions on the go, you should look for software that also provides a mobile application.
Automated software produces reliable and constant output and reports that you can reuse as many times as you want. To ensure software quality, search for software that ensures software quality assurance and has a reliable quality center for customer support. You can also test the reliability and spot any defect in the automation through software testing.
Best Practice: Know Your Weaknesses
Another essential part of an automation effort is to know your company’s weaknesses. By identifying your weaknesses, you can find more functions that need to be improved through automation.
What Does Your Organization Lack?
It is essential to identify what your organization lacks to find the best business processes to automate. If you pick the right business process, your ROI will increase.
Start by listing your processes. To be sure you have identified all processes, you can include your employees in this process and ask for employee feedback. Depending on your industry and business needs, you are going to want to automate different functions of your operations. However, common HR functions to automate include:
- Payroll: salary changes, paychecks, etc.
- Administrative: paperwork, forms, etc.
- Recruiting: attracting candidates, hiring processes, etc.
- Onboarding: access to training programs, hardware, etc.
- Offboarding: removing access, scheduling exit interviews, the last payroll, etc.
- HR support: chatbots and digital assistant
- Timekeeping: sick days, hours worked, etc.
Do You Have Limited Time?
You need to identify the development life cycle of your automation effort. To find out how long the automation effort will take, you can run automation testing. A proper automation test should give you enough information to make an accurate time schedule. It is useful to share the test plan with all of the management so everyone can be aware of the lifecycle of the software project.
Best Practice: Constant Research
Another best practice for an automation effort is constant research. To ensure quality software that is best suited for your HR functions, you need to have a dedicated team that executes continuous research on the subject, both before and after the automation effort.
What are Competitors Utilizing for HR Automation?
Before you adopt automated tools, it can be useful to research which management tools your competitors are utilizing. This can give you a good starting point for automated software that could be useful for your business needs.
Analyze All Solutions
Once you have identified potential management tools for your business needs, it is time to analyze which would be best for your business. There are different software solutions to choose from on the market. In general, HR software can be divided into 3 different categories:
- A unified solution
An HRIS, also referred to as a human resource information system, is a cloud-based solution that helps with human resource management, including simplifying paperwork, processing payroll, managing policies and procedures, executing timekeeping, and more.
Although there are several benefits of an HRIS, such as a centralized interface for all HR functions and a standard configuration for each module, it also has several drawbacks. This includes time-consuming integration, no freedom of choice between functionalities, high implementation and subscription costs, and more.
Using multiple best-of-breed systems refers to when you adopt different software by picking the best in the market for each function. Furthermore, this gives you the freedom of choice to adopt HR software that is the most suitable for your business while allowing you to adapt to complex business requirements, however, this automation solution also has its drawbacks.
The drawbacks of multiple best-of-breed systems include disparate data across systems, multiple data entries required, difficulty in standardizing HR procedures and processes across systems, and unsafe information sharing.
A unified solution, that configures all the best-of-breed systems on a unified platform is an automation solution that capitalizes on all the benefits of multiple best-of-breed systems while offering the benefits of a unified interface.
The benefits of a unified platform, such as PeopleSpheres, include customizability, a single source of truth, minimized disruption, secure data and information sharing, the ability to connect cross-functional systems, and much more. A unified solution allows you to deploy new automation efforts as needed along the way, hence supporting business growth and innovation.
Report Results of the Automation Effort
Once you have decided to deploy an automation effort and gone through with it, it is essential to report the results of the automation software. The results should be analyzed and used for new potential automation efforts. You can retrieve the results of the automation effort by running a software test. The test case should uncover failures and address any potential risks in the process. By testing software continuously with testing tools, you ensure management credibility and high quality software.