Maintaining and preserving employee lifecycle data is the mainstay of Human Resources—from talent acquisition and onboarding through payroll, performance management and termination. Labor compliance adds complexity to the document-driven events that HR is tasked in handling. Tax forms, employment agreements and benefits forms all require legal and policy-driven sensitivity that must be taken into account in conversations involving business process automation. At the same time, HR continuously seeks efficiency while managing these administrative functions and maintaining compliance.
There are tremendous benefits of automating human resources. Technology-driven human capital management strategies provide opportunities for time savings to be achieved; but, they must ensure that quality and authority of data is never conceded. Capturing information can be fully automated or with the ability to access forms in a digitized format. Storage tasks require that secure procedures are applied and data is easily accessible for employees, administrators and management.
Security and ease of retrieval makes electronic storing of employee records very appealing. The U.S. Department of Labor provides recordkeeping guidelines that include storage time and record type requirements.
HR needs to ensure changing human capital management (HCM) technology does not prevent access to older records. Today’s HCM recordkeeping strategies utilize cloud technology that provides ease of access to both employees as well as HR.
Nearly all business functions can benefit from increased HR automation. For example, open jobs can be posted across multiple job boards with the click of a button, background checks and offer letters can be managed within an applicant’s profile, and onboarding forms can be accessed electronically. Timekeeping and benefits data reminders can be automatically sent to employees as well as tax forms, pay stubs and W2s.
By automating common HR processes, businesses can save time and money. While HR automation can create concerns that people will no longer be needed, the reality is that people will be able to take on new and more strategic challenges in an automated work environment.
In the case of analytics for example, HR automation benefits the organization by providing opportunities to understand the impact HR information has on productivity. The data is not just crunched and stored but now used for actionable impact. Employees can utilize HR data to become change makers.
Moreover, with changes handled quickly and approvals happening electronically, HR events that can take days to process manually take minutes when automated. Automating HR processes with unified human capital management systems also reduces the per-employee cost of administering HR. The additional time spent on core processes further monetizes the benefits of HR automation.
Automating Human Resources: 5 Key Areas You Can’t Afford Not to Automate
1.) Talent Acquisition
One of the most time consuming processes in acquiring talent is qualifying candidates. Applicant tracking systems automate and analyze candidate data, short-listing potential fits and organizing and ranking them for further evaluation. This greatly reduces the amount of time it would normally take to sift through piles of resumes and even online talent profiles.
Candidates can answer questions anytime from anywhere. The answers can trigger further qualifying questions that can help pinpoint the most suitable candidates for a particular job requisition.
Applicant tracking systems also allow for interviews, background checks and reference checks to be done seamlessly. This effectively makes dents in high-volume hiring environments.
Onboarding automation is increasingly seen as critical, especially in environments with high employee turnover. The process can be quite involved with legal forms that need to be signed as well as new-hire checklists that involve tedious procedures and a number of departments coming together to make things work.
With a seamless onboarding process, new hires can become productive members of the workforce at a much quicker pace. Having one central repository for all onboarding tasks eliminates the chance for error. Digital forms and electronic signature functionality found in integrated human capital management technology can reduce the amount of days it takes to get paperwork turned in.
And instead of dealing with lost forms, an automated HR environment can give everyone involved visibility into what has been completed and what is still left to be done. There’s no need for inter-office paperwork or waiting for snail mail to move forms between locations. Completed information can be directed instantly to the appropriate parties.
Automated onboarding steps help reduce errors by having fields with limited choices depending on an employee’s role, department or job type. Triggers can be created based on answers to certain questions.
The onboarding stage can be a frustrating and confusing time for new employees if not done properly. Knowing they are efficiently being brought into the fold will make them happier and get them off to a good start with your organization.
3.) Benefits Administration
Employers continue to remain competitive in their benefits offerings to attract and retain top candidates. However, benefits administration is one of the most tedious and labor-intensive of all of the HR functions—fundamentally perfect for HR automation strategies.
HR professionals spend a large part of their time administering benefits plans and managing billing to multiple vendors or agents. With automated HR technology, these resources can be allocated to more strategic tasks like compliance, vendor RFIs and data analytics. Automating benefits administration increases the accuracy of benefits reporting and billing, reducing the risk for fines or legal repercussions.
Having benefits data in a unified human capital management system allows for all information to be entered once and stored in one place.
With self-service portals, employees can enter and review their own information at any time instead of relying on HR. Self-service technology allows employees to get answers to their most pressing questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Adding a new benefits offering or vendor is done much quicker in an automated HR environment. With one single human capital management system for all of your HR needs, the parameters for benefits setup is already online, and checks and balances are already in place. Benefits data can even be automatically transferred to insurance carriers.
The fine print of benefits administration can change at any time. Having all benefits data including enrollment forms and booklets in one online system allows for changes to be made once by the administrator; information then trickles down to the benefits-eligible employee population.
Legislative changes are an on-going fact of life in HR. Because of this, one of the easiest areas to justify automation in HR is with legal and compliance issues. Having compliance rules consistently maintained in your HR management system greatly closes the risk gap.
Manual HR procedures only exacerbate the chances of errors happening when maintaining sensitive employee information. Automating HR with a unified human capital management system decreases compliance woes, thanks to technology vendors staying on top of legislative changes and incorporating alerts and automatic reporting options.
The economies of scale realized in automating payroll are one of the greatest reasons companies outsource today. Employees expect to be paid on time and accurately.
Automating payroll typically means outsourcing some or all of the processes to an expert technology vendor. Keeping track of employment law, payroll taxes and labor law is their focus which they apply to companies across the board. Removing just the legal requirements surrounding payroll by utilizing a payroll software provider saves countless hours and levels of expertise you would otherwise need to have in-house, greatly reducing the employee spend for salary, benefits and employer taxes for each payroll employee you would need to have on staff.
Payroll vendors stay on the pulse of changes that need to go into the programming and calculations involved in payroll and tax reporting. These changes are handled at the hub, in a cloud-based environment and then pushed out to all customers via the technology.
HR professionals can save a lot of time and effort not having to worry about applying legislative changes to their payroll system. Payroll vendors do this on their customers behalf, keeping your employees paid and your organization in compliance (and in good graces with your hard-working employees.)
Automating Human Resources: Coming Full Circle
Once an organization’s human capital management is functioning and all areas of HR automation are addressed, the task of focusing on strategic business objectives can take hold.
There is a mountain of data at HR’s fingertips that can now be utilized to make predictions about the employee base. Information is collected from candidates and new-hires; from job performance and compensation to terminations; and all can help glean ideas that can shape your organization’s productivity. The results overwhelming point to the benefits of automating human resources.
Data can also be utilized to help department managers be more strategic with the employees in their charge—from having access to performance management and compensation to being notified about anniversaries and other milestones.
Data can also be utilized to help your star employees be recruiting stewards for the organization. Helping employees to easily understand the business's current talent needs without too much effort and giving them an incentive to utilize their social and professional profiles to invite friends and former colleagues to join your job board takes HR professionals from paper pushing to positively affecting the bottom line.
HR automation is moving further and reaching new heights as time goes on. The most effective HR leaders will be the ones to challenge their technology to provide them with the data they need to push the boundaries as far as they can go. There will always be value to mine from HR data as long as there is technology, time and resources to tap it.
EPAY Systems provides a truly seamless human capital management system that will automate your HR processes, and in turn, ease your burden, reduce your administrative costs and optimize your workforce. Find out how. Get a demonstration today!