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What Is Human Resources (HR) Automation and What Are the Benefits?

Feb 20, 2024

Human resources departments rely heavily on document-driven processes to get work done. To streamline processes and free up time, many organizations choose to automate their HR processes with an enterprise content management (ECM) system.

Woman holding a tablet showing HR automations and processes.

What is HR automation?

Automation handles many administrative HR tasks that, though critical, slow down productivity when performed manually. Such tasks include:

  • Filing, organizing and retrieving content.
  • Routing information for review and approval between team members or departments.
  • Preparing and distributing HR onboarding documents.
  • Processing employment agreements and other employee contracts.
  • Processing employee payroll each pay period.
  • Maintaining employee records and information.
  • Providing employees with appropriate tax forms.

What are the benefits of HR automation?

Automation technology is multi-functional and can offer many different benefits. Some of these include:

Increased efficiency throughout your HR department: In order to be responsive and keep pace with the modern business climate, HR teams need to be as efficient with their resources as possible. Automation can address this challenge by providing HR staff with more efficient ways to operate, from enabling convenient and secure access to critical information to streamlining the onboarding process and associated paperwork.

Reduced risk of compliance violations and fines: Many industries and jurisdictions have compliance standards that organizations must follow, as either a best practice or as required by law. Automation can offer a robust set of tools to help employees monitor and manage records throughout their lifecycles, as they work to reach their organization’s compliance goals.

Improved effectiveness through innovative technologies: For an organization to stay competitive, its HR department should be leveraging the best tools that current technology allows. The right automation solution can enable HR departments to leverage AI to gather critical information from documents, integrate processes with core technologies (including ERP and HRIS systems), make more informed business decisions with analytics, and download templates and other solutions from vendor-hosted marketplaces.

Employee growth and development: Having the right people is crucial to the continued success of any organization. Automated processes can make an entire organization run in a more streamlined manner, increasing employee satisfaction and reduce the time new employees to need to acclimate to their roles.

Which HR tasks can be automated?

There are many processes that can be automated within an HR department. Below are some, but far from all, the processes that HR departments frequently automate:

Benefits enrollment

Track when employees become eligible for benefits enrollment.

Timesheet processing

Make receiving, approving and saving time sheets more efficient with digital workflows.

Vacation and travel requests

Quickly create digital workflows for vacation, travel and expense reimbursement requests with prebuilt process templates downloaded form an online marketplace for solutions.

Employee onboarding

Automatically route and file paperwork for newly onboarded employees.

Employee records management

Retain employee records in a secure repository according to compliance restrictions, and ensure the right staff have access to the right records according to their job responsibilities.

When’s the right time to automate HR processes?

Keeping up with the rapid pace of technological innovation can be a challenge for many organizations. In addition to weighting factors such as the predicted growth of the organization and the level of satisfaction with current workflows, it may be useful to look out for the following indicators of a need for HR automation:

1. Performance of core functions has become subpar

Identify the core functions of your HR department. Once those functions are identified, look for any signs of friction or inefficiency, such as delays in onboarding or payroll processes. By clearly defining core processes and potential issues within them, you can better understand where automation is needed.

2. Your organization is growing faster than its HR department

Periods of increased onboarding can overwork an HR department if it doesn’t have appropriate resources. Automating manual tasks can empower HR departments to spend more time on recruitment, training and employee retention initiatives.

3. Audits are at risk of resulting in fines or non-compliance

HR departments handle sensitive information every day, and they are responsible for maintaining compliance with industry- or government-defined recordkeeping practices. Some departments may receive regular audits conducted by an outside party that can disrupt business operations. If your organization is concerned about the potential consequences of prolonged or failed audits, it may be the right time to automate processes.

4. Reduced HR staffing levels and budgeting challenges

Even in a business climate where improving HR services and delivery are of upmost importance, it can be a challenge when budgets and staffing resources are strained. Leveraging an automation solution to reduce time spent on manual processes can be useful for any HR department, especially those looking to be effective while simultaneously operating with limited resources.

This article was originally published on the Laserfiche Blog. Laserfiche is a leading SaaS provider of intelligent content management and business process automation. 

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