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How and When to Use Human Resources Automation

For small businesses, it can be easy enough to handle human resources tasks with a small HR team. Maybe you only need to onboard new hires once or twice a year, and your company is small enough that you aren’t subject to state and federal leave laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

But as your company grows and your workload builds up, you may start to consider alternatives such as automating HR processes or outsourcing HR functions. These solutions can help you save time and money and reduce human error.

Here’s what you need to know about human resources automation, including which tasks it can automate and how to know when it’s the right time to implement it.

What Is Human Resources Automation?

HR automation is the practice of using software to perform tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually. This could be as simple as sending out automated emails when an initiating event, or “trigger,” occurs, or automating more complex processes like pre-filing online forms and approving leave of absence requests.

To get started with HR automation, you’ll need to choose automation software that’s compatible with the tools your HR department already uses, such as your scheduling software. Connections between different types of HR automation tools are known as “integrations” and allow you to create more complex HR workflows.

When you streamline your workflows with human resources automation, you free up your HR staff to focus on higher-level processes and employee engagement.

When Do You Need Human Resources Automation?

Human resources automation isn’t a good fit for every HR task, and some steps will still require human input. Still, by using HR automation software, you can reduce the time it takes to make important decisions and complete time-consuming manual tasks.

Here are four signs that your business is ready for human resources automation: 

You have many repetitive tasks.

It doesn’t make sense to use business process automation for HR tasks that only need to happen once or twice. It would take more time and money to write the code than it would just to complete the task yourself!

But once the manual processes start piling up — time-tracking, expense claims, data entry — you can put automation to work for you. By replacing physical timesheets and spreadsheets with digital alternatives, you’ll be able to streamline key parts of human resource management and simplify HR operations.

You have a growing workforce.

Increasing the size of your workforce means more work for your HR team members, right? For every new employee, there’s the onboarding process, employee benefits enrollment, leave of absence management, and more.

HR automation can help you scale up more efficiently, standardizing the onboarding process and allowing employees to take the initiative with self-service portals. Making it easy for new employees to resolve problems in real-time can improve the employee experience and increase employee retention.

Your tasks have multiple stakeholders.

How long does it take you to complete HR tasks when you need approval from another department or team member? Sometimes, it can be something as simple as waiting for a signature from an HR manager — but these delays can add up over time.

Tasks with multiple stakeholders are the ideal candidate for HR automation. Instead of relying on phone or email, your human resources automation software can send out a notification every time someone’s input is required.

There’s no need to carry forms around the office or fax them to remote team members when you can review and sign documents online.

You need to keep a paper trail.

Many HR tasks require you to keep a paper trail, and a full digital transformation of your workplace doesn’t mean doing away with records entirely. In fact, it can make it easier to maintain detailed records of HR forms and comply with your legal obligations.

Whether it’s standardizing performance review templates to reduce bias, or creating a rules engine to help with leave of absence requests, HR automation helps you keep a paper trail of your decision-making process and improve regulatory compliance.

Which HR Processes Should You Automate?

Human resources automation: employees working together using a laptop

There are so many different ways to implement HR process automation that deciding where to get started can be a challenge. Do you need to invest in a human resources information system (HRIS) up front, or can you take it one step at a time?

Depending on how far along you are in your digital transformation process, you may want to start by overhauling one key process or workflow at a time. When you use a no-code platform like Pulpstream, you can add on new integrations as you go.

Here are just a few HR automation examples:

Employee onboarding

Employee onboarding automation is used to streamline the onboarding process. Along with a self-service portal for payroll and employee benefits enrollment, it often includes employee training modules and even chatbots to help new hires get up to speed.

Similar tools can be used in the offboarding and recruitment process. From applicant tracking systems (ATS) that evaluate resumes, to scheduling tools that automate exit interviews, you can use HR automation at almost any stage of employment.

Leave of absence management

Determining how much time an employee can take off work and tracking their remaining leave balance is the bane of many HR professionals. Not only do you have to abide by company leave policies, there may be state and federal laws that apply.

For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave at companies with at least 50 employees. Some employees may also be eligible for paid sick leave or parental leave under state law.

HR automation makes it easier to track FMLA leave and other types of leave and to ensure that employees are using their leave entitlements appropriately.

Performance management

Performance management refers to all of the processes you use to improve employee performance and address behavioral or attendance issues. These can range from an annual performance review to disciplinary action like a corrective action plan.

Automating the performance management process can ensure that regularly scheduled reviews actually happen as intended, and that they’re performed in a way that’s fair and consistent for all employees. Plus, by making performance management a routine and transparent process, you can remove some of the anxiety and awkwardness.

Benefits administration

Employee benefits administration has become more complex in recent years, with some companies allowing employees to pick-and-choose their own benefits package. Access to health care, wellness benefits, and personal leave such as a sabbatical may depend on how long an employee has been working with your company.

When you use HR automation, you can empower employees to view their current list of benefits at any time, and to get notifications when they become eligible for new benefits. When anything changes in their personal life, such as needing to add a spouse to their health insurance policy, they can update it using a self-service portal.

Workplace safety

Workplace safety concerns are a key responsibility for any HR team. But scheduling inspections and fielding complaints the old-fashioned way — with paper logbooks or spreadsheets — is a recipe for human error and safety lapses.

HR automation can help you bring your incident management process into the digital age. Schedule inspections automatically, allow employees to report safety violations online, and track the progress of workers’ compensation and other claims.

Save Time and Money With Human Resources Automation

Employees happily talking to each other

Human resources automation involves using HR software to automate tasks that occur frequently and don’t require a lot of human input. It can even speed up processes that do require human input or decision-making by automatically notifying the appropriate stakeholder and keeping a digital paper trail of important forms and documents.

Pulpstream simplifies HR automation by providing a cloud-based, no-code platform that integrates well with existing software. Instead of getting a new HRIS or outsourcing HR processes to a third-party, simply create your own custom workflows to automate key tasks and cut down on your administrative workload.

Contact us today to request a demo and learn more!