Attracting and retaining world-class talent is the #1 influencer of success in the 21st century. As a result, your HR employees play a critical role in your future prosperity. Yet, too many of them waste valuable time on manual HR processes that have become an administrative burden for growing organizations.
Drowning in paperwork, files, email threads, and other rote, repetitive, manual tasks has kept HR teams from performing at their best.
Consider your typical onboarding process: You hire a new recruit. Many forms and days later, you’re finally ready to invite the new recruit to work in-house. That is, once you double- and triple-check your forms for errors, re-route the paperwork back to the new hire to fix the errors, route the form to all stakeholders and wait for signatures, and follow up to keep things moving along.
Add to this employee vacation requests, expense claims, performance management and more, and keeping HR running smoothly can feel chaotic, if not impossible.
This situation is especially problematic if you’re focusing on business growth. Sustaining growth means improving the productivity of the HR team so they can focus on what’s important – talent.
So what is the solution?
Generic HR software requires an overhaul of your department to fit the demands of the software, and custom programming is, well, just plain expensive and time-consuming.
Thankfully, there is another solution—and it’s cost-effective and relatively simple to implement. Enter HR automation.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- The Benefits of Automating HR
- Real-World Examples of HR Automation in Action
- How to Automate an HR Process, Step by Step: Employee Onboarding
The Benefits of Automating HR
Today, HR departments must modernize in order to stay competitive. A 2015 survey by Deloitte revealed that 80% of respondents believed their company’s lack of HR skills was a significant issue. As a result, organizations are increasingly redirecting resources to improve their HR department.
They’ve realized that a key aspect of modernization is automation. The HR department has many rote, repetitive, and/or manual administrative processes ripe for automation.
HR automation increases productivity because it reduces the time and resources required to complete typical workflows. Your workflows and forms are automated and live in the cloud, so anyone can search for them, retrieve and edit at any time without needing to go on a company-wide scavenger hunt.
Put Your Focus Back on What Matters—The People
The sad reality is that, on average, HR employees spend 40% of their time on administrative work, either entering data from one system to another or on other tasks. This is time they could otherwise spend attracting and retaining talent.
HR automation also fosters a fair recruitment process by eliminating unintentional bias. Automation lets companies focus more on candidates’ qualifications instead of other physical traits that may unintentionally lead to human bias.
It’s not uncommon for new hires to lose a little “fire” for their new position as they drown in paper forms and emails. By automating and standardizing your onboarding workflow, new hires won’t get so overwhelmed with the process. When you automate HR, you help your organization empower your new hires by fast-tracking their journey to starting their new positions.
Complex Tasks Become Easy
Complexity is the enemy to HR, especially if your company operates in more than one location. Standardizing your HR processes reduces complexity and accelerates and streamlines process completion.
For example, when you onboard new employees, automation reduces the steps to complete the process since employees fill out the forms digitally. In addition, repetitive fields (name, address) can be automatically synced across multiple documents, reducing the likelihood of errors.
Software also helps decrease the number of errors made, and standardizes processes such that every employee gets the same experience. Using modern technology draws customers and new employees to your company, and helps employees stay on top of any tasks they need to complete.
Understand the WHY (Analytics and Reporting)
If you operate your business in multiple locations yet one location operates with lower process costs than yours, how can you measure what’s working and what isn’t—and why? With manual processes, this is hardly reliable as it requires making assumptions and relying on guess work, instead of looking at real data.
With a cloud-based HR workflow automation solution, analytics and metrics are easy to track—and they’re reliable. View which processes are working and which ones need improvement—and understand exactly WHY they are performing the way they are.
For higher ups, they are able to pull up data quickly, making it much easier to read reports and analyses efficiently.
Improved Communication and Collaboration
Tired of chasing down co-workers to ensure the right information gets to the right people? Say goodbye to multiple email and in-person follow-ups. Cloud-based automated HR solutions end the document-chasing game and allow you to set up automatic reminders and messages with any workflow to notify all parties of pertinent due dates—and ensure they comply.
Speed Up the Recruitment Process
You may relate to the sinking feeling you get when wading through a pile of 100 resumes from candidates who applied to an open position. How do you streamline this process and whittle down the candidates without the typical stress?
HR automation can help you with the recruitment process by comparing job application data and providing a shortlist of candidates based on the hiring criteria you set up. Use automation to replace your initial review or eliminate some of the burden of the process.
No Tech Superstars Required
Modern HR automation solutions are not difficult to set up. They don’t require expensive programmers, long setup campaigns or the assistance of your IT department.
The best automated solutions have pre-built templates and easy drag-and-drop interfaces that cater to the non-techie. Setup is fast and easy (no coding required).
Automation also enhances security. When onboarding and offboarding employees, you are handling sensitive data. Automated HR solutions keep your data secure in its database and only accessible by the parties you permit to view it.
Real-World Examples of HR Automation in Action
Let’s take a look at a few real-world HR automation examples in action.
Your recruiting process must be one of the most efficient processes in the company, as talent is the most important determinant of success in the 21st century. Attracting and retaining fresh, world-class talent has become a critical aspect of the company’s future.
According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, more than one in three working Americans are millennials; more than any other generation in the labor force. By 2030, an estimated 75% of the workforce will be millennial talent, which means your company needs to start engaging with them now. A streamlined recruitment process attracts millennial talent, and they are inclined to stay at technologically advanced companies.
You can never have too many talented applicants; the more the better. Digital recruitment software increases your pool of applicants so you can quickly find the absolute best candidate for the position.
Automated recruitment processes keep relevant materials organized and readily available for the next time they’re needed. Increase your company’s reach and access to even more top-notch talent, standardize the process, and make sure all applicants have the same, high-quality experience.
2. Employee Onboarding
Once hired, employee onboarding is a very important HR process. The process is far from simple — it requires lots of communication and information passing, and multiple departments must coordinate and crossover. Manual onboarding processes quickly become tedious and error-prone, even just based on the number of employees trying to work on the same thing. Accurate and consistent communication is key.
Instead of relying on slow methods of communication, employee onboarding automation software can standardize the process, such that every new hire gets the same welcoming experience. Software can send important documents to everyone easily, notify employees what tasks need to be completed and when, and set aside space in the office for the new employee if need be. Automation technology helps keep all the pieces organized and easily accessible to all relevant employees.
3. Data Analysis and Risk Management
Digital software makes it very easy to analyze and compare different data. This is an important HR function that is becoming more and more significant as companies switch to automation technology.
Software helps HR representatives with risk management, digital data associated with risk factors is easy to analyze. With this software, employees can compare different courses of action and map out potential outcomes. This makes finding a solution much faster. Employers are also able to analyze employee data — for example, how likely a high-performing employee is to stay or leave the company.
Especially in larger companies, there is a surprising amount of data that HR processes, creates, and collects, and automation software helps sort through loads of data. This way, employees can focus on tangible data analysis instead of spending time sifting through dozens of documents to find the right information.
4. Employee Offboarding
The offboarding process in any company is usually complex since there are so many moving parts. When off-boarding, the organization must revoke the employee’s account credentials, collect their ID badge, conduct an exit interview, and more. This involves multiple departments within the company that must work together.
Manually offboarding employees often evokes lots of emotion, both from the employee and colleagues. Digitization makes this process much easier for everyone. When emotions run high, people skip steps and rush processes to get things done quickly. Especially when multiple departments are involved in the same process, small miscommunication can cause huge mistakes that are costly and very difficult to fix later.
Instead, your company can avoid these situations before they even happen. Make sure the right information goes to the right people and that everything is organized and clear. Implement automation software for your employee offboarding process and you minimize the risk of error. A stressful process becomes much easier for everyone involved.
5. Employee Training
Over time, as more HR departments switch to automation technology, the use of simulators and electronic instruction will increase.
As of now, some companies still use outdated training processes that aren’t as efficient as they should be. Instead of finding time to “fit training in” when schedules overlap, digital technology like apps, portals, and webinars allow employees to train at their own pace. The employee can complete their in-depth online training and make sure they understand everything before moving on, preventing confusion and future mistakes.
Using automation technology for employee training is also an easy way to get detailed feedback on the process, so that it’s constantly improving.
6. Employee Benefits Management
Benefits, especially setting up retirement plans, are much easier using automation software. It can do a variety of things, but mostly, it helps provide different options and alternatives, helps the employee compare each one and decide which path to take. You can design and use the software such that it takes specific things into account when putting together a retirement plan, customizing it to fit an individual’s needs.
Using automation software for retirement plans frees up valuable employee time, so they focus on what’s important — customers. Instead of repeatedly offering the same retirement plans and packages, software will help your company realize which plans are the most popular, least popular, and how they measure up to each other. Once this data is available, companies can improve and change their packages to help each employee.
Other common examples are time off requests, absence records, performance appraisals, timesheets, etc.
How to Automate an HR Process, Step by Step: Employee Onboarding
We’ll walk through a simple 4-step process to set up general W-4 and I-9 forms for the new hire to fill out and submit to HR for approval.
Note: The steps in this section require a frevvo account. You can try frevvo free for 30 days.
1. Select a Form Template or Create your Own
frevvo’s many HR process and form templates make it easy to get started, since most of the HR automation tasks outlined in this article can be created by modifying one of our pre-built templates.
Alternatively, you can easily create new forms from scratch using frevvo’s drag-and-drop form designer.
Since we’re creating onboarding forms, we will start with a template:
Just customize your forms to accommodate your unique business process requirements. There’s no coding required.
You can automate your forms to behave dynamically — showing certain form fields only to certain users, performing custom calculations, or auto-filling fields like the date.
Once you’ve created your templated forms, you can simply send copies electronically to all new hires.
2. Create Automatic Notification and Approval Workflows
Use workflows when you need to route your forms to several departments for notifications and get approvals (including electronic signatures).
We’ll illustrate a simple onboarding workflow below, but you can quickly customize one with more departments and approvals according to your specific needs.
In our example, the form gets sent to a new employee for completion.
Once your new hire fills out the form, frevvo will inform them of any potential errors or required fields left blank. (This eliminates a time-consuming back and forth between HR and the new hire.)
Once the employee digitally signs the document in frevvo, the form gets automatically routed to finance and then to the IT department for approval and provisioning of equipment.
You can set follow-up reminders for anyone involved in the process and review the status of a workflow at any time.
Using the visual workflow designer, you can also create custom business logic — without any coding. You’re in full control over which employee documents get routed to which departments. You can create workflows for each department, different hiring managers, or various levels within the company.
3. Automatically Generate Official PDF Documents
Every onboarding process needs to generate official PDF documents like federal and state W-4s and the federal I-9. With frevvo, it’s easy.
New hires provide each unique piece of information (name, address, SSN, etc.) just once and sign once. frevvo can map the form data–including signatures–to multiple PDFs to quickly generate accurate, official W-4 and I-9 forms.
PDF mapping in frevvo is 100% visual. Simply drag and drop fields from the workflow into the PDF and frevvo does the rest.
If, for instance, your business operates in two states, you add conditional business logic in frevvo to generate the appropriate state W-4 based on the employee’s form inputs.
4. Test and Deploy Your Workflow
Test your forms to review the experience the user will have when filling out the form and double check your business rules.
After creating and testing the form, you’ll be ready to publish the form and use it as part of your onboarding workflow for all new employees.
Now, each time you hire someone, you’ll be able to focus on the most important parts of onboarding–training, team building, and team integration–rather than spending your time and energy chasing down countless forms and documents.
Before hire additional help for your HR admin tasks, consider automating your HR processes and workflows. With frevvo’s visual, easy-to-use interface, step-by-step instructions, and world-class support, you could be on your way to a leaner, meaner HR department within a few days.
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