Where do you see automation in your daily life? It’s everywhere! Each time your order a pizza online, run your Roomba vacuum, or use your smart phone to adjust the temperature or lights in your home, you’re using an automated system that does work for you.
What about automation in the workplace? Maybe you’re fortunate enough to work at a company where paperwork, filing, and notifications are all automated. These are all great candidates for automation, along with other repetitive tasks that eat up so much of our time at work.
Today we’re going to look at ten Human Resources tasks that you can and should be automating. These are tasks that cause unneeded stress and, when done manually, can lead to potential errors, compliance issues, and data loss.
According to Forbes.com, “most HR processes can now be automated.” It’s time to stop accepting HR as a department that is full of manual processes, mind-numbing repetition, piles of paperwork, and other stressors, and start enjoying the benefits of HR Automation.
1. Update benefits selections
If you’ve ever worked in or around an HR Department, you know all about the horror of Open Enrollment. This is the hectic window of time when every employee in your organization must assess his or her benefits, and make whatever changes are desired.
As if understanding the benefits themselves isn’t difficult enough, you must also manage all of the paperwork and data entry involved in making changes. When employees wait right up until the deadline, or even beyond it (as they often do), you’re left burning the midnight oil, trying to meet your own deadlines.
With an automated benefits process, employees can access a self-service portal and make their own selections. Since the process is electronic, there’s no need for you to enter the data in any other system, especially when the portal can be integrated with whatever HR software you already use.
2. Process PTO requests
If you’re still using Outlook to submit and approve paid time off, you’re behind the times. For a more consistent PTO request process, you can set up a workflow within your Enterprise Automation platform, kicking it off with a customized electronic form that employees fill out whenever they want to take time off. From there, the system automatically reviews their available PTO and routes the request to the appropriate manager for approval or denial. Both parties are reminded when the PTO date arrives, and payroll is automatically notified of the difference in hours and pay codes.
3. Update employee data once, across all of your systems
When an employee has a change of address or any other update, it can be requested through a self-service employee portal. From there, the data can be pushed to any other systems you wish to connect to the portal. That way, information is entered only once, and administrative errors are avoided.
4. Send reminders of employee reviews
It’s a common problem – employee reviews fall through the cracks when more pressing matters require the attention of management. From there, they’re forgotten about for weeks, or maybe even months. HR process automation tools can help you keep track of these important dates, even allowing you to “snooze” reviews and other related tasks in the event that you aren’t quite ready and need to postpone briefly. Without fail, you’ll continue to be reminded, which will help you stay on top of your employee review schedule.
What’s more, an Enterprise Automation platform can provide you with the analytics you need to be able to assess your team’s performance. You can see how much work is being done, along with how long each task takes to be completed. Over time, these analytics can show improvement or declines in performance, and they can be used to set goals.
5. Organize, index, and file new hire paperwork
What does a New Hire Packet look like at your organization? Is it a binder full of forms to be filled out, signed, and filed manually? Aside from the unnecessary manual labor involved, how much money is your organization wasting on all of that paper? The time and money spent on onboarding has a concrete impact on the bottom line, especially if you’re in an industry with a high turnover rate.
These expenditures can be minimized through automated HR onboarding. With an automated step-by-step process, HR managers can dramatically cut onboarding time, all while ensuring consistency in each new hire’s onboarding experience. Training materials can be standardized. Benefits packages can be always at-the-ready, without the need to print out a large packet of varying documents. Better yet, each step in the process is signed off on by the person responsible for completing it, so nothing falls through the cracks.
6. Ensure compliance
According to an article on benefitspro.com, “I-9 compliance is an area with significant potential financial risk for employers because ICE is reaching settlements for technical violations (completing the form incorrectly). For example, Abercrombie & Fitch, which uses an electronic system, recently reached a $1.04 million dollar settlement with ICE for technical violations.”
With such stringent requirements around I-9s and other HR-related documentation, it’s more important than ever to have HR document management software that can organize your files.
In fact, you can even set up your automated HR onboarding workflow so that it requires certain documents to be present before moving on to the next step. If an I-9 hasn’t been submitted to the system, you will be notified so that the missing file can be submitted.
7. Be prepared for an audit
Audits aren’t just a threat to accountants. They also can loom over the heads of HR professionals. In fact, benefitspro.com lists I-9 compliance audits as one of the top 5 compliance concerns for HR managers: “The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been conducting record numbers of worksite enforcement investigations, criminal prosecutions, audit notices of inspection and administrative fees.”
How can HR document management software help you in the event of an audit? That’s easy. Having all of your documents in one place means that they are organized and ready to be handed over to auditors, without you having to recall banker boxes from offsite storage, or dig through thousands of pages in an on-site file room. With one targeted search, you can recall all the documents you need to provide, without wasting your resources or stressing about what might be missing from your records.
8. Secure sensitive documents
HR managers handle all manner of sensitive files, from medical records to pay records, and most of these contain employees’ social security numbers and other identifying information that is not intended for public view.
Employees trust you with their private information, and it’s important to be responsible with that data. HR document management software allows you to configure exactly who can view each type of document, and you can even redact information that should be kept private. With these guardrails in place, you can be sure your HR department is HIPAA compliant.
9. Back up your data
If you’re storing all of your records in an on-site file room, what happens if your city falls prey to a natural disaster? Do you have a plan in place for disaster recovery?
Here’s how disaster recovery works with an HR document management system: You store your electronic documents in the cloud, which means that they’re stored at a secure off-site facility. Even if disaster strikes your area, your files and data will be safe. Once your team is able to reach a safe location, they will be able to access those documents from anywhere with an internet connection and resume business as usual.
10. Standardize and automate the application and hiring process
If you’re a hiring manager, you know how grueling the hiring process can be. The job posting is the easy part. From there, you’ve got to go through stacks of résumés, forward them to others for secondary reviews, schedule phone and in-person interviews, and more. No matter how urgently you’d like to fill the position, it’s difficult to get through all of the steps in a timely manner. It seems like new employees are never hired soon enough.
All of these hurdles are reasons to invest in HR automation for your onboarding process. Once the hiring process is set up, each step is delivered to your work queue for you to complete. Tedious, repetitive tasks are completed for you, leaving you with the tasks that require a human touch. The best applications can even be automatically routed to others for review. And custom automated emails can be sent to applicants at each step of the process, depending on whether they will be continuing to the next stage or not.
When it comes to HR process automation, it’s not just a matter of efficiency. There’s a lot more involved – compliance, auditability, visibility, security, consistency. To explore with our team how HR Automation can transform your organization on all of these fronts, contact us to schedule a demo and discussion.