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Automation in HR. 6 Tips on Where and How to Save Time and Money as Soon as Possible

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Overflowing agenda of HR departments and the lack of quality colleagues. The question, why the field isn’t able to accept innovations sufficiently, has been the argument of Czech HR specialists for several years. But the typical saying “there’s no time” won’t solve it. The classic example is that many senior people spend their precious time doing only executive activities that could have been replaced by automation a long time ago. Although I don’t want to generalize, I believe that in every company up to 20% of working time of HR people “lay fallow”.  Let’s take a look at 6 places where you can find them the most often. 

Basis – All-in-One HRIS assistant

Work in HR is primarily based on working with people. Then, administration is essential to make everything work. And where possible, let the machines do it. Because only they can generate data in adequate quantity so that the human part of HR can make decisions about the structure and competencies of the teams, and achieve the highest possible added value of work. 

Repetition is the mother of wisdom. So, it’s a good idea to remind that in order to automate processes, you have to digitize them first. 

You definitely can’t think about automation when most of your processes are still done with a pen and paper or are managed through tables and documents. 

Therefore, you won’t move without so-called HRIS system. But how to choose the right one? Basically, you should look for two criteria. A good digital partner for your HR department must be “all-in-one”. Why? Having multiple systems means that you often have a lot of the same data in different places. And it just means potential weak points in your digitization effort- for example, if you have to change the surname of your colleague, who has just got married, in multiple HR systems, think about change. 

The second criterion is API connectivity- i.e., the ability to connect the system with other digital tools. For example, those that measure time, take care of task management or deal with communication with employees. Connection via API should be an absolute standard. So, if your system doesn’t offer it, it unnecessarily creates space where you’ll have to update some data manually again as part of the digital process. 

The third advantage- but not the necessity- is when your HRIS runs in cloud as so-called SaaS service. Why? Simply because it’s the most practical nowadays and if HRIS system is also used by employees, there’s no better way. 

Why pay attention to automation right now?

Completely relevant question. Apart from the answer “because it’s useless to waste time”, there is also another context. Next year, there will be much less time. Companies that will be drowned in unsolved essential problems can be under pressure that paralyzes them. 

Remember the golden rule- HR people are up to their ears in work during quiet times. And it’s even more in turbulent times. Every change, that effects the company, is immediately reflected in most HR processes and time required for implementation increases exponentially.  Variations of the teams suddenly mean multiple growth of onboarded and offboarded colleagues. In these cases, there really is no time to waste. 

What will the process of automation help with?

→ Increases work efficiency

→ Unties hands for more creative and senior activities

→ Reduces error rates

→ Improves cooperation within the department

→ Improves the overall experience of candidates of your HR

How to approach automation systematically?

→ Identify repetitive processes in your operations and analyse them into sequential steps. 

→ Convert them into money for working hours based on the value of your colleagues’ work    

     and your work

→ Take ten the most expensive and identify step by step what your added value is. Activities        

such as “forward, fill, draft, check by list” are those that should be replaced by an automated process. 

Where can the lost hours and money be found literally at every step?

Recruitment ads

Create an advertisement for the next position, list expected requirements, add comprehensive information about the company culture and a list of benefits. Place not only on agreed recruitment websites but also on internal company channels or social networks. Then, evaluate the candidates on daily basis so they don’t have to wait too long for your response. In case of one or two ads per month, this may not be such a problem. But imagine that you work in a company which offers dozens of positions per month. There, you advertise, onboard but often offboard as well, dozens of candidates every month. 

In this instance, it’s essential to debug automated process. The hours spent on processes are growing exponentially, and who knows how unpleasant managers can be when waiting for their strategic candidate. They definitely don’t want to spend their evenings correcting recruitment adds. 

5 things to automate first:

→ Generation of expected competencies and job description with regard to the position

→ Completion of the advertisements – basic information about the company, recruiter’s profile

→ Sharing on advertising websites via API

→ Posting on your own recruitment website

→ Evaluating the effectiveness of advertising

CV screening and priority of the candidates

Times are changing and situations when there were received responses in the number of units of candidates for the advertised position are probably a distant history for some time. Anyone who has ever had several job positions advertised will confirm that it’s difficult to have an order in the CVs and to keep in mind basic information about the candidates even in case of one advertised position. Not to mention when the company announces several of them. 

There’s nothing worse than sending, to dozens of candidates, requests for additional information, giving them feedback on receiving their CVs and at the same time scoring candidates, identifying the most promising ones and, if necessary, preparing a pre-recruitment assessment. If you don’t manage CV screening, it can be a critical moment. You can lose a potential talented colleague. Or you can identify him correctly but due to unmanageability of the whole process, you will yield him to a competitor who is faster or handles the entire evaluation process better. 

Automation will help you to reduce both the error rate and clearness of the entire recruitment round. 

5 things to automate first:

→ Automatic request for missing information

→ Priority of the candidates according to clearly defined key

→ Automatic communication in case of the most promising candidates

→ Evaluation of candidates’ feedback (speed, method)

→ Pre-recruitment assessment, assignment and evaluation of the tasks

Onboarding / Offboarding

Preparation and planning of onboarding are parts of the culmination of the recruitment process. If you spoil onboarding, you not only lose a potentially talented colleague but also devalue all previous steps and investments in them. This is one of the reasons why automation is the obvious choice for onboarding. It will allow you to get rid of uncreative agenda and focus on those processes where your human approach is irreplaceable. 

And it’s the same with offboarding. You don’t fight for a new candidate but if you spoil it, the offboarding employee can not only discredit you based on the last contact with you. Not to mention the loss caused by the inappropriate return of the things entrusted to the employee’s use.  

5 things to automate first:

Onboarding checklist based on the character of the position

→ Automatic generation of contracts, protocols and other documents with the possibility of            

     digital signatures

→ Automatic planning of onboarding / offboarding meetings

→ Providing / removing app access

→ Creating employee in the database / removing employee from the database 

Communication with employees

Here on the blog, we regularly deal with the topic of communication with employees. And once again, it’s surprising how little attention is paid to communication and systematic feedback collection or how little work is done with the possibilities of digital tools. On the basis of the motto, no automation without digitalization, it’s communication and feedback that are still waiting for more effective management. 

When you start using automation tools, you’ll realize how much crucial information you have been missing all the time. 

I like the following analogy: We can’t allow the global e-shop, where we are regular customers, to communicate more adequate than we do with our own employees. The ability to address them by their first name in e-mail communication after evaluating the effect of individual communication campaigns. 

It’s just a funny paradox that the difficulty of good communication, which automated processes would handle quite easily, leads to the point why this important part of interpersonal relationships in companies has been overlooked for so long. 

5 things to automate first:

→ Regular feedback collection

→ Feedback planning

→ Wishes for holidays, birthdays or professional achievements

→ Regular summaries of what is happening in the company

→ Evaluation of communication effectiveness, identification of unusual phenomena

Time management

The amount of time devoted to a particular activity is one of the most important commodities for the analytical part of your work. This variable plays a key role in evaluating the effectiveness of your team and only thanks to it you can evaluate the impact of all measures taken. Time is also essential element of datasets that define company’s readiness to use artificial intelligence. 

However, there is no secret that so-called “timesheeting” is very often opposed by the employees themselves. And without them, of course, you aren’t able to guarantee authentic report of how much time each activity will take. Reason? In many cases, timesheets require tens of minutes of manual work per month. 

This is eliminated with properly selected automation and you then have a chance to get accurate information without facing dissatisfied colleagues. 

5 things to automate first:

→ Generation of expected monthly scope based on project information

→ Tracking the time spent on work

→ Classification of working hours

→ Automatic identification of overburdened colleagues

→ Documents for invoicing

Employee benefits

The last five years, the vast majority of the companies have changed the view on employee benefits. In most cases, the remuneration, which often worked with the prestige of the job or focused on wellbeing, became a non- financial benefit that is primarily intended to be practical and useful not only for the employee but also his household. 

Why pay more attention to employee benefits? Considering that fact that inflation hasn’t had the last word yet, this can still be a key non- financial performance how companies can help their employees when they’re unable to increase in salary. Then, there’s something more, although it’s not widely discussed in Czech context. A well- chosen mix of employee benefits has entirely inclusive character. For those, who have already studied ESG requirements, it’s clear that every point devoting to promoting inclusion counts. 

Automation is therefore a suitable way to increase and expand the number of benefits offered, make their use more efficient and save time because of this change. 

5 things to automate first:

→ Easily accessible list of benefits automatically refreshed on the base of new measures

→ Regular e-mailing about the possibilities of using the benefits

→ Personalised selection of the benefits based on life situation

→ Evaluation of the use of individual benefits in relation to employee satisfaction

→ Employee feedback on benefits applicability

How to buy for management automation?

Automation definitely is the investment. Its implementation requires quite a large amount of money. However, it’s the investment with the highest rate of return. Therefore, when you negotiate the budget, don’t forget:

→ Identify the cost of hours saved by automation

→ Think about the processes that you’ll be able to handle better thanks to hours saved

→ Convert hours saved into the price of an executive position

You’ll see that also the investment of hundreds of thousands seems to be a good idea.