As an HR professional, there are a lot of people counting on you to do your job well. Not only do you have to provide a great employee experience, but you need to attract and onboard new hires, comply with employment regulations, and ensure that your team members have access to the latest software tools and HR technology.

One of the best ways HR managers can take the initiative is to improve HR processes with automation, eliminating time-consuming tasks and streamlining HR workflows.

Here are five steps to improving HR processes as well as five HR functions that you can streamline with HR software today.

What Is an HR Process?

A human resources (HR) process is a workflow that you use to perform an HR function. Rather than allowing each member of your HR team to do things their own way, an HR department usually has a standardized set of procedures that everyone has to follow.

Each HR process may have its own step-by-step guidelines, or you may have a set of procedures you’ve developed over the years but have never written down.

Having clear HR processes is key to improving business efficiency, reducing human error, and developing a consistent company culture.

You can improve HR processes by documenting each step, eliminating redundant or time-consuming tasks, and using software to automate HR functions.

5 Steps to Improving HR Processes

Improving HR processes takes some effort, but it can save you time and money in the long run. Here are five steps HR leaders can take to improve HR processes today.

1. Review

First, take stock of your existing workflows and your current HR system. Make a list of your HR processes and identify the areas most in need of improvement.

Maybe you have a legacy human resource management (HRM) platform that isn’t keeping up with the times or your processes are spread across multiple storage systems and spreadsheets. Look for redundant and unnecessary tasks you can eliminate and data silos you can consolidate.

If you aren’t sure where to start, you can interview members of your team to find out which tasks are slowing them down or sidetracking them.

2. Digitize

The next step to improving HR processes is to digitize as many parts of the workflow as possible. Digitization refers to the conversion of analog data into a digital form — such as scanning paper documents with optical character recognition (OCR) software.

Digitalization is the process of making the entire workflow digital, such as switching to paperless billing instead of paper invoices and checks.

Once you’ve digitized your workflows and are storing data in the cloud, it becomes easier to optimize each step. For example, you can collect electronic signatures to reduce the time between generating a contract and signing off on it.

3. Automate

Business process automation involves using software to perform recurring tasks that don’t require much human oversight. This can include everything from data entry to smart scheduling and payment processing.

There are plenty of opportunities for human resources automation, including benefits administration and leave of absence management. You can use templates to fill out forms using existing employee data, saving time and reducing human error.

Best of all, when you use a no-code automation platform like Pulpstream, your team members don’t even have to know how to code in order to use it.

4. Empower

Your HR team members aren’t the only people who need to access your HR system. New employees will need to navigate it during the onboarding process, and existing employees may need to update their details or request a leave of absence.

This is especially important with the rise of remote work, since you may have fewer team members in the office to handle HR processes in person.

By providing a self-service portal or app that employees can log into from anywhere, you’ll empower employees to find solutions to their own HR needs, cutting down on resolution times and increasing employee engagement.

5. Assess

The next step in improving HR processes is to assess them regularly and ensure that they’re still in alignment with your overall business goals.

You can monitor employee performance with HR software to determine how much labor you’ve saved with task automation, and use key performance metrics (KPIs) to help with decision-making and problem-solving.

Use a process of continuous improvement to keep making small changes to your HR systems over time and adapt to new industry trends and regulations.

Key Areas for HR Process Improvement

Improving HR processes: employee shaking hands with an HR manager

When determining which HR processes to improve, consider which processes require the most time and effort but are central to your core business operations. Here are five areas of HR management that are good candidates for digitization and automation. 

Employee Onboarding and Offboarding

Depending on the size and structure of your organization, the recruitment process can be especially time-consuming. You can use automation throughout the hiring process, from generating job descriptions to automating the employee onboarding process.

Not only will you be able to onboard new hires faster, you can easily provide access to accounts to ensure that they’re ready for their first day on the job. You’ll also be able to automate the offboarding process so you can find out why employees are leaving and take steps to improve retention and employee satisfaction.

Training and Learning Management

Your onboarding process may include training modules, but learning management is an ongoing process that helps your organization stay relevant. Some credentials may be required to ensure compliance with industry regulations or employment laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Use a cloud-based HR management platform like Pulpstream to deliver training online and remove the need for in-person training sessions and paper assessments.

Personal Improvement Planning

Improving HR processes related to performance management and professional growth can help you bring employees’ personal goals and your business goals into alignment. Automate the performance review process and check in with employees frequently about their goals, compensation, and professional development opportunities.

Complaint and Investigation

Workplace investigations can arise out of safety violations, employee misconduct, or any other kind of workplace incident. Having a streamlined process for reporting an incident or filing a complaint with HR can bring about a faster resolution time.

By using Pulpstream to facilitate audits and inspections, workplace investigations, and claims management, you can resolve incidents fairly and maintain the documentation you need, such as a chain-of-custody reports or interview transcripts.

Disciplinary Processes

For incidents that call for disciplinary action, follow a standardized disciplinary process to ensure impartiality and maintain a paper trail. Rather than leaving it up to individual managers to set the rules, develop a formal code of conduct and use a disciplinary action form to address code of conduct violations.

Improving the disciplinary process provides employees with an opportunity to correct their mistakes and fosters a more inclusive company culture.

Improve HR Processes With Pulpstream

Entrepreneur shaking hands with her colleague

Human resources processes range from employee onboarding to incident investigations and performance management. Having streamlined HR processes is key to maintaining a positive workplace culture and increasing employee engagement. You can improve HR processes by digitizing paperwork, providing a self-service portal for employees, and using automation to reduce or eliminate tedious manual tasks.

Pulpstream is a cloud-based HR management platform that enables you to streamline multiple HR processes all in one place. Use it to gather and store employee data, track performance milestones, generate reports, and more. Our intuitive no-code interface means you don’t even have to learn how to code in order to use it!

Request a demo today to see how Pulpstream can empower your HR department.