Research is suggesting that there’s a war for talent out there that is so competitive, that the best candidates are off the market within 10 days. If that’s even half true, then HR functions that aren’t moving at the speed current business dictates, are going to let their organisations down. But, asks communications and marketing consultant Nico Prins in an interesting article called How to Save Time with HR Automation, it’s hard to see how sticking with a manual on-boarding process will help.
“HR professionals have the potential to make a big difference in their organisations—if they have the time and resources to focus on what matters most, that is,” Nico points out at the US website Business 2 Community. “[But] for many HR departments, all the benefits questions, time-off requests, hiring tasks, and more leave barely enough time to breathe, let alone think about strategy.”
This is where HR automation can really make a difference, he claims. How? Because many of the most time-consuming HR tasks become fast, easy, and automatic, giving valuable time back to your HR team so they can focus on people. His examples include how an automated applicant tracking system can save a lot of time in the hiring process, e.g. “crafting job descriptions, posting on various job boards, screening and sorting applications, contacting candidates, scheduling interviews, organizing notes from hiring managers, and sending out offer letters”. Nico also details how a traditional (manual) onboarding process takes up about 11 hours in a week when there’s a new hire, but using automation that can be slashed right down by half by “time-saving features” like onboarding checklists, automatic reminders, new-hire packets.
‘More than fifty percent of us work for companies with less than 500 people’
Given that automated employee self-service and automated reporting (e.g. on key metrics like turnover, headcount, time-to-hire, employee satisfaction, and more) is all there for the taking, it’s maybe surprising we’re not seeing all this more widely adopted. Perhaps a clue emerges from another great piece we got value out of this month, HR Automation For All over at The HR Exchange Network. There, Tracie Sponenberg, the Chief People Officer over at a US plumbing and heating wholesale supply business called The Granite Group, also agrees that the promise is there: “If HR takes the time to automate the routine day-to-day tasks and ‘paperwork’ we can be free to really dig into strategy and people development – coaching, training and developing our team members to be prepared for the future of work – whatever that may mean to our individual industries and companies.”
But, she cautions, “It seems as if every conference I attend, I’m hearing about HR Technology from large, global public companies – which is great, but not relatable. What they don’t often share is that more than fifty percent of us work for companies with less than 500 people. Small companies.”
It’s a useful reminder that a tech message always has to sound relevant to the audience it’s being pitched at. Hopefully, vendors will listen to Sponenberg’s reminder, as a final interesting piece of content we found on Benefits News offers hope that a key business process that’s often a problem for SMEs could be next in line for automation – payroll.
As the piece’s author, Software Suggest’s Kiran Bajpai notes, “A sophisticated payroll software platform not only helps save tremendous amounts of time over manual payroll processes but also eliminates human errors rampant in the manual process of data entry or data collection.” A good piece of payroll package can also calculate all types of payments, including bonuses, commissions and wage deductions, she states, adding that good payroll software helps maintain consistency in different departments—and that having a centralised HR management software keeps employees from different departments updated on your latest HR policies without having to touch base with other offices individually.
However, as she notes, achieving this can be a challenge for small firms with limited IT resources: “One of the biggest challenges of automating payroll processes is the absence of in-house payroll skills, compelling organizations to count on payroll outsourcing tailored to fit their business. Therefore, before taking the final plunge, you need to prepare by upgrading your skills and capabilities for this large-scale transformation.”
A timely reminder that HR automation is great, but that we have to help our potential customers get there at their own pace, perhaps?