If company leaders tally up all the tasks accomplished daily by human resources professionals, they’d be astounded. HR professionals have a considerable burden on their shoulders, and HR mistakes can cost companies thousands of dollars.
Though many HR teams have begun investing in automation to disperse their workload, some HR professionals are skeptical about automation and the future of work and their industry.
“Increasingly, people will be working with machines that don’t need benefits, reassurance or human support—or weekends and holidays off. They will provide endless streams of data and conceal nothing.” – David Tobenkin in HR Needs to Stay Ahead of Automation
There’s no denying that automation creates unknowns in the industry. But understanding how it works and how to implement it into daily HR operations is the best way to eliminate robotic, time-consuming tasks and focus on the elements of HR that require a more human touch. Here are five reasons why working with (not against) automation is key for a successful HR team.
1) Automation Gets Rid Of The Grunt Work
Your HR processes are complex, especially if you have a small team. If you look at most HR professionals’ weekly schedules, you’d see a wide range of tasks on their plate. You do everything from recruiting and hiring to onboarding and employee engagement. These tasks are time-consumptive, and it can be challenging to focus when you have to wear so many hats every day.
We all have parts of our job that we enjoy, but these tasks are often pushed to the bottom of our to-do list because we spend so much time working on tasks we hate. Automation helps people flip that around. If you automate the parts of your job you dislike, you can spend more time working on what you love.
One quick thing you can automate as an HR professional is the video interview scheduling process. Scheduling an interview by going back and forth with a candidate is the definition of grunt work. Using a scheduling tool will speed up the interview process by allowing you to set up your availability, send a link to a candidate, and let them pick a time/date that works best for them.
Some other grunt work that automation takes care of? Calculations. Even using a tool as simple as Google Sheets can save you tons of time. Setting up a quick Google Sheets formula once will speed up the process of calculating things like payable hours, working days, length of service, and so much more.
2) Computers Remember Better Than Humans Do
We all know that HR tasks can be expensive. You only have to tell a computer about an upcoming event once. Once that is programmed, automation takes over, removing worries and unnecessary tasks from your to-do list.
Here’s a real-life example: missing a government form submission date can be a pain, not to mention costly for business. Automation can remind employees and HR professionals about upcoming deadlines and ensure that paperwork is submitted on time. This logic can be applied to all sorts of situations.
Another way you can use automation is as simple as using a tool like Google Calendar to remember important dates like birthdays and work anniversaries. We know that our employees are more likely to turnover during these events, so setting up calendars to remember these important dates gives you one less thing to worry about.
3) Insight Gleaned From Automation Helps Us Act Accordingly
Humans don’t instinctively notice trends in data. Unless you are a quantitative person by nature, you might see something but not be able to put your finger on what it is or why it matters for your business.
Computers and programs, on the other hand, are always taking in data. The software you buy for your business is typically calculating dozens or hundreds of data points that the human eye isn’t trained to see. Investing in automation allows you to supercharge your HR team and consider these data points as you are working with your people.
When picking an automation tool for your business, don’t get distracted by data. The software may tout the data points it tracks every day, but ultimately, you don’t want too much data. Information like pass-through rates, cost of hire, time to hire, and first year turnover rates are important pieces of information software can track and calculate for you. Focus on the software that gets you the most useful data for your job and business, and avoid software with too many bells, whistles, and learning curves.
4) Automation Is Cost-Effective For Teams Who Need More People But Can’t Afford The Investment
In an ideal world, we’d have fully staffed HR teams. We know that HR is often short-staffed, and companies can even see it as an afterthought. Convincing the C-suite to invest in HR professionals can be challenging; meanwhile, your team pays the price.
HR automation tools can step in to save the day. HR tools cost money, but they are more cost-effective for small teams who don’t have a ton of excess capital. Take an inventory of your current HR staff. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What do they love and hate doing? Search for and invest in automation tools that fill in the gaps your team has.
For example, many HR teams struggle to keep track of activities happening across the department. This results in a lot of mishaps and unnecessary work if teams can’t communicate properly. Using a project management tool like Asana helps teams work together more effectively without needing five daily stand-up meetings every week. Project management tools like Asana are an amazing investment, and for many small businesses, they can be completely free.
5) Investing In Automation Puts Amazing Knowledge In Your Hands
Automation products typically come with excellent customer success specialists. Each company you add to your tech stack should have the necessary knowledge to help you use that tool effectively.
These teams should also be knowledgeable about the industry as a whole. By investing in automation, you are investing in companies that know what they are doing. They understand the legal concerns of your team. These companies build products that help you successfully manage things like recruiting, hiring, onboarding, time management, and more.
HR automation platforms put a ton of energy into user education and information. These come in the form of blog posts, product release education, videos, social media updates, and more. HR automation is a business, but automation companies don’t thrive unless their customers and people do.
You may have gotten into HR because you love working with people and helping them navigate the world of work. It makes sense, then, that embracing automation and new tools gives you pause; could these new tools get in the way of you doing what you love and working with people? Since HR can feel thankless, it’s also easy to understand why HR professionals might fear automation taking jobs or stifling people growth at companies.
But the reality is that automation can be a trusted ally if used to empower your employees by allowing them to do work that makes them feel good. Not only that, but it can give HR professionals the bandwidth they might currently lack to truly excel at the tasks they love.
About the Author
Katie is a digital marketer who loves monitoring management and leadership trends to create more valuable B2B content for managers. She loves connecting with writers, journalists, and professionals across all industries to spread the word about the value of time tracking for companies. Katie is particularly interested in helping the world become a more productive place.