HR Automation - Effectiveness Efficiency and Engagement - Part 2

Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, Rewards and Recognition

It took me 30 meetings, involving over 50 stakeholders, in a span of FOUR months to understand existing processes and gather information about challenges faced by HR team and leadership team and create a document and process flow diagrams. In the next phase of my project, I had to conduct a feasibility study and make recommendations. I conducted a one day workshop for the entire HR team on a theme “Changing Role of HR in an era of Automated Processes and Digitalization”.  

The integral message of the workshop was to highlight following SEVEN benefits of HR Automation and the new role of HR Function –  

  1. Saves Space–I visited one organization that employs 4,000 employees and is into business for last 20 years. They have rented a warehouse to stock lakhs of files which probably they will never use. When we automate HR systems, it saves space by eliminating or minimizing paper records and thereby removes the need for extensive filing systems and large storage areas, which in turn saves the organization’s money on rent and utilities.  It also speeds up the process of document/information transfer as and when required thus saves postal and courier expense. It also eases up the audit processes conducted for various legal compliances or certification issuances such as ISO, CMM, PCMM, etc.
  2. Improves communication with employees across functions and geographies – I remember days when employees would  walk down to HR Department, sometimes they had to wait in a queue to ask for information (leave balance, letter for address proof, interpretation of any policies, etc.), make a complaint (discrepancy in salaries) or get their queries resolved.  With automation of HR Processes, leave records to get updated in real time, all policies are made available to employees, complaints can be raised online where they get a ticket number and a turn-around-time (TAT), and failing to respond within TAT automatically escalates the issue to a higher-up in the hierarchy. Process-flow has been set in such a way that an unresolved complaint gets escalated to CEO or Managing Director of the organization. Therefore, the automation brings in transparency in the system. Any announcement can be made instantly through the intranet.  Communication becomes quick, effective and low-cost.
  3. Factual and Quick Decision Making - Automation of HR Processes enables Process Owners to create any kind of report and analytics thereby helping them to make every kind of decision. Through automation, any leader can access the information he requires while being at any place in the world without a necessity of exchanging emails with HR team members. HR Automation has helped managers to determine when and who to hire and what best methods are for employee development. Automation has allowed skill and competency matrices readily available to decision makers; hence, before looking outside for required skills and competence, organizations look within and hire talent within by ways of transfers, promotions, etc.
  4. Increases Productivity and Cost Optimization – As discussed above, with automation HR saves physical space required for keeping files and cost of employees required to maintain those warehouses and storerooms, communication becomes efficient, quick and low-cost; and quality and speed of decisions improve, thereby, increasing bottom-line profitability. HR Automation also saves the time of those who need to communicate with HR on regular basis. Time saved has a direct impact on resource optimization and increased productivity. Organizations are able to achieve more with fewer resources at a low cost.   Accomplishing more in less time boosts morale. 
  5. Effective Hiring – Managing Talent Acquisition in its manual format is one of the most tedious tasks, particularly when the organization wants to use multiple channels of sourcing. In talent acquisition, a missed or lost resume can be a very costly affair. It is important to collate all resumes for an open position at a single place, evaluate them thoroughly, share it with the hiring manager, and organize interviews in a timely manner.   With an applicant tracking system, the hiring team can write a job description and promote it widely on job sites and social channels with just a few clicks. Qualifying questions automatically eliminates unqualified applicants and help uncover the best job candidates. It accelerates the recruiting processes and allows the recruiting team to focus on interviews and deliver outstanding candidate experience. Also, by reducing administrative work, the recruitment team will be able to cut costs and add to the bottom line of business. 
  6. Performance Management–Next to recruitment, the most critical HR function is effective performance management and in the dynamic business environment that we are living in, KRA’s of employees’ change several times in a year, employees need regular feedback to keep a track of their performance, and coaching and mentoring should be given to those who are lagging behind in their performance targets.  Discussing performance once in a year can be suicidal. Automated employee performance management tools make it easier for managers to give feedback and easily manage performance review.   Automated performance management system allows HR to provide descriptions of ratings, especially for job skills, and forces managers to use a prescribed rating scale that helps in improving the consistency of ratings. Thus, employees perceive the process to be fairer.
  7. Development of Bench Strength and Succession Planning– With automation, it becomes easier to manage available skills and competencies in the organization more efficiently and effectively. Employees become aware of skills and competencies they need to move to the next level. They can apply for any open role within the organization with a fair knowledge of their probable success rate. HR can help the organization create a learning centre   to prepare a talent pool of high-potential and high-performing employees to ensure business continuity. 

In a case of any queries, please contact the author.  

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