Get ready to Automate – 7 Processes HR departments should automate

July 9, 2019 | Aoife Flynn 5 mins read

Behind every great company is a great HR department, as the saying should go. Regardless of the industry or the service, a strong HR team with streamlined business processes is essential to deliver top results as a company. After all, it is the HR team that looks after the most important asset: the people. To grow as a business and attract the best talent, HR departments are turning to the automation of HR processes. HR systems are undergoing automation for many reasons. They want to become more efficient and more accurate to save the company time and money. But it is also proven that by offering superlative service, companies can onboard the best talent and improve staff retention rates, driving revenue for the business in the long term. As for the results of process automation, the statistics speak for themselves. In world-class organizations, the technology spends in HR departments is 80% higher than in less successful businesses thanks to the use of HR automation systems. The return on this investment is that these HR departments can service 59% more employees with less support staff in less time.

Thanks to HR automation, teams are able to focus on the tasks of proactive talent acquisition and long-term strategy. In other words, ensuring the business is putting its best foot forward in line with company goals as it steps into the future. The most important processes for an HR department to automate are the most time-consuming, regular and repetitive processes. We explore what they are here and see just what happens when HR automation is applied.

  1. Holiday Requests

With old systems, human error is common and the workload for HR professionals is enormous. An automated HRIS that will manage which employee is owed how many days of holiday and when they can take them will be invaluable to busy HR professionals. Fielding multiple holiday requests, tracking used leave and flagging when an employee may be over or under using their holiday allowance are all tasks that an automated system can take care of with minimal input from HR personnel. There will be no more departments left with no one at the helm as the system will prevent duplicate holiday bookings, ensuring adequate cover on every level of management.

When Nokia India switched from manual to automated HR operations, they reduced employee disputes over holidays and pay to zero. The old system which required manual updating on a daily and monthly basis was time-consuming and inaccurate. Not only were HR resources strained, but mistakes were also rife and employees were able to take advantage of the system.

Working with Kronos, Nokia India found that the answer to their problems was an automated, integrated system that offered managers real-time visibility on availability, absence management, and automated rule application. The new software reduced the number of support staff required from 20 to just one.

  1. Recruitment

The hiring process is notoriously expensive. It is estimated that it costs anything from 10 to 30% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them, increasing to 200% for highly-skilled jobs. The process is also labor-intensive. HR departments need to keep resumes, job descriptions, application letters and tax forms for every potential candidate. Automated systems eliminate this mountain of paperwork. Not only will automation handle all the administrative filing duties, but there are also even HR automation tools that can help in the selection of candidates by picking out those who are qualified using automatic CV scanning software. Rather than reading hundreds of unsuitable resumes, artificial intelligence will identify the top ten for human perusal.

Alternatively, an online form, particularly one containing a task for the candidate to complete, will locate the strongest applicants without time spent conducting telephone interviews. Given that 78% of companies are prioritizing diversity when hiring, the use of artificial intelligence to present human talent acquisition teams with a diverse range of candidates, eliminating any bias in decision making, is essential for the future of recruitment.

North Shore LIG, a healthcare company in the USA faced the challenge of quickly recruiting a large number of suitable candidates from a potential pool of over 15,000 applicants. Thanks to analytics and artificial intelligence systems installed by Oracle’s Taleo Recruiting Cloud Service, applicants were vetted, sorted and matched to the relevant vacancies in record time.

  1. Employee Onboarding

Ensuring every new hire receives the same onboarding program can be a headache. With all the paperwork required to accept a new employee into the business as well as the training and integration process, it can be easy to miss a vital step. Each new employee requires a user account, an email address, access rights, addition to the right mailing lists, a key card and access code. The orchestration of this across departments in the business is not only time-consuming but it’s rife with errors meaning employees end up stuck in a lift or unable to send an email for their first week. The result? An employee that does not feel welcome, does not feel engaged or does not understand their role within the company. That employee is then much more likely to underperform or even quit, costing the company more time and money in hiring a replacement. Instead, automating the process brings each employee up to speed within their first few weeks, guaranteeing a positive first impression.

Indeed, recent data from Oracle suggests that improved employee engagement can save a company as much as 2.5% in revenue. This is in part down to a reduction in staff turnover, 20% of which happens in the first 45 days of employment.

Dr. Wade Larson, the CHRO of the global manufacturing firm, Wagstaff, collaborated with Oracle HCM Cloud to offer new employees the “best first day ever.”  By switching to a cloud-based system, he was able to move the entire process online, automating the training, review and pay review processes, speeding up the new employee learning curve and reducing staff turnaround.

  1. Employee Information Database

If a company has grown from a handful of employees in a makeshift office to a sizeable enterprise employing hundreds, or even thousands, of people, the task of maintaining employee data records may have become more daunting over time. Automation takes the effort out of this process and saves money on staff hours. Under HR automation best practices, employees can submit their own amendments which the system will approve and log in the data records. Automating this process wins back time for HR teams to carry out other more strategic business tasks.

As one of the most recognizable car rental brands in the world, Avis employed over 30,000 employees across 27 countries when it switched to automated HR systems. The company’s aims were to improve agility in an increasingly competitive travel solutions market to promote innovation at every level of the business.

In collaboration with Workday, Avis was able to condense 35 HR systems into one global cloud network, improving availability and access to data. Employees were able to view and log their own personal, payroll and career data.

Avis and Workday noted a high adoption rate to the new system thanks to the fact that employees could access the server from their mobile devices.

  1. Evaluations

Employee evaluations are key when it comes to keeping employees happy, motivated and on-task. Traditionally, the evaluation system was slow, full of delays and marred by tonnes of paperwork. By using an HRMS, it becomes more efficient, streamlined and fairer.

An HR automation system creates a workflow which sends out reminders when evaluations are approaching and will track their completion. As well as providing useful data and analytics, this has the effect of making promotions more efficient and timely as well as keeping employees motivated.

North Shore LIJ saw improvements in this area following the adoption of cloud-based automation software. The system identifies the best candidates for promotion by selecting those who are progressing quickly and possess the right mix of emotional skills and aptitudes including organizational abilities and risk management. Best of all the entire process is based in the cloud, so it’s global, mobile literate and user-friendly.

  1. Payroll  

Paying employees the right amount and on-time is one of the most important functions in the HR department. It leads to happier employees and contributes to improved retention of staff. Payroll automation software reduces the chance of a human error occurring: consider a slip of the hand that doubles an employee’s pay packet.

Automated systems can handle complicated and time-consuming matters such as tax, deductions, benefits, annual leave, and bonuses. Also, they will keep complete records, meaning that a visit from the taxman is going to be less daunting. Employing a payroll software is a fast and cost-effective way to automate this process and offers a strong return on investment when satisfied employees remain with the company for years to come.

Phorest Salon Software, a cloud-based management software helping salons all over the world manage their bookings, scheduling, and marketing. With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, Phorest enlisted Payslip global payroll management solution to standardize their global payroll and manage their global payroll provider process.

“Payslip’s workflow automation enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real-time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.” 

Ana Kelly, International Payroll Manager, Phorest

  1. Expense Claims

Expenses claims are one of the most time-consuming and high-loss sectors of HR management. But their automation not only reduces company expenditure but saves staff time. Time which staff can spend on more complex tasks. The software manages late submissions, out of policy spends and missing receipts, taking the hard work out of chasing busy employees.

Despite being one of the biggest insurance companies specializing in disability and life insurance in the USA and the UK, Unum was using a self-developed HR process. Consisting of multiple systems and many manual processes, control over spend was limited. When they began their collaboration with Workday, Unum hoped to regain management of their $550 million expenses spend and save the time of their HR professionals.

Workday implemented one integrated system combining HR, finance, and expenses which offered employees real-time insight and flexibility. As a result, the expenses report cycle was reduced from three weeks to less than a day, despite handling 50,000 invoices a year. This improved on-time payments by 38%, saving the company money.

Whilst it’s true that the interim period of the HR automation process can be challenging as old systems transfer over to the new way of working and teams undergo training in the new systems. Once established, the immediate benefits will ripple across the whole company including, most importantly, in revenue.

Oracle was able to help UK insurer, Standard Life reduce their HR costs when they implemented a cloud-based human capital management system. They saved more than £7.7 million in their first year operating with the system thanks to reduced HR support headcount and a reduction in the number of HR interface systems at work.

This amounted to a 17% reduction in HR costs or a 32% return on their investment. Based on this, Standard Life enjoyed a 100% return on their investment within just five years of implementing automated HR systems.

Automating the most regular, time-consuming and repetitive tasks makes sense across all business units in an organization. To learn more about automating Global Payroll contact Payslip today to set up a free trial of our automated global payroll solution.

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Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across nine in-country vendors on one platform. When the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, it was not an issue from a payroll perspective, and critically getting everyone paid. The Payslip platform enabled continuity for our international payroll service including the fast and seamless implementation of the Payslip Employment Self Service during this time.

Colin Smith

Payroll Manager, LogMeIn

With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, we rely on our vendors to deliver on time, every time. Payslip’s workflow automation, enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.

Ana Kelly

International Payroll Manager, Phorest