What are automation and digitalization? What exactly can automation improve in terms of business? Can all processes of the HR life cycle be automated? Is there a silver-bullet solution for every company? What corrections have COVID-19 made to HR practices and how to organize them effectively?
Companies are seeking ways to save and multiply their valuable human capital to become strong and prosperous. An HR unit deals with the tasks that optimize HR cycle effectiveness, among other things. For this purpose, automation and digitalization can be helpful and the two terms need to be distinguished. Automation is about tuning processes, simplifying, and optimizing them. Digitalization is the introduction of technology and innovation into business with the aim of increasing product value and profits. While automation can be implemented in parts, digitalization is a complex process. To launch it, it is necessary to analyze what is happening – in the company and globally – and rethink all the processes. Automation is our yesterday and today, digitalization is our tomorrow.
The HR unit has both routine tasks and long-term priorities. And while carrying them out they cannot deviate from the company’s strategic plans for human resources management, the overall business strategy, and the vision of the organization. Before proceeding with automation and digital transformation, it is necessary to remind what tasks a modern HR is called upon to carry out in the company:
- participate in the creation of a sustainable and profitable business
- set up an open, comfortable and fair work atmosphere
- search, attract and develop talents
- build a corporate culture and competitive compensatory strategy
- implement HR best practices and adopt new trends.
Based on the international PHR and SPHR standards, human resource managers must:
- assess and analyze personnel needs
- manage contracts with third parties, develop requirements and proposals
- organize training processes in the company
- manage risks and responsibilities
- perform job analysis and create job descriptions
- establish a connection between personnel management and other functional areas
- formulate goals of personnel management and company policy
- plan company’s workforce and its use
- develop human resource
- develop and implement labor relations assessment
- analyze, develop, implement, and continually evaluate programs and services to support the physical and mental health of employees and protect them from unsafe conditions and actions by other parties.
All these tasks cannot be effectively accomplished without process automation. Otherwise, the HR unit will grow very intensively, which will negatively affect the company’s financial performance.
HR Cycle Automation
HR cycles in various companies may include more or fewer stages depending on the company’s vision. Still, there are a few that are core, and further, we will talk about ways to automate them through the means of software – which often is the best combination of automation and digitalization for the purpose of improving HR processes effectiveness and efficiency.
It was already mentioned that HR managers have got routine tasks and those to which they apply all their talent and experience. The first ones are automated relatively easily, while the second group is top-level and is the subject of creative search, research, and even insights and innovations.
CRM for recruitment / Applicant tracking system (ATS) / Recruitment management system (RMS)
Taking about the automation of HR functions, products for HR processes optimization have long been on the market. One of the most common are apps that optimize personnel search. With their help, it has become much easier to find the right candidates, analyze resumes, maintain a database, schedule interviews, keep a dossier, send reviews and offers.
Systems of this type allow you to track the entire recruiting funnel, identify bottlenecks and take corrective actions in time to improve the process.
Employee (Staff) management system / Performance management software / Payroll software / Time and attendance tracking apps, etc.
It’s great that you don’t need to manually keep track of working hours and calculate salaries like 20 years ago. Often the Employee (Staff) management system has features of project management, time tracking and employee performance with separation of access levels and rights. Line managers can use them, for instance, for preparing reports and control over the staff’s load, task fulfillment, while HR managers can make assessments regarding employee’s performance.
Questionnaire builders / Survey data processing software / Survey data analysis tools
These solutions are very helpful in the work of processing survey data. They assist in calculating various HR metrics: staff turnover, satisfaction level, loyalty and involvement, etc. It’s useful when there is an opportunity to work with data obtained over several years with big data and AI. This makes it possible to calculate trends and make informed decisions, constantly improving the work process.
Staff training system / Corporate training solution / Learning management system, etc.
These software types are quite varied with different features and possibilities starting from plain education materials storage and assigning courses and tracking progress ending with complex analysis and assessment of the level of acquired knowledge and skills.
Today it is no longer enough to motivate the new generation with money; they need to be motivated with meanings. With this goal, gamification is of much help. It creates conditions that involve employees in the working process and holds their attention and the process fun for them. With the rising demand for gamification in HR, our clients and partners turned to this trend. They trusted our 20+ years of expertise in education software development
and asked Anadea to develop custom solutions using gamification.
For effective training, such digital means as video chats, online conferences and a range of others are also commonly used.
It is no secret that in a rapidly changing reality and high-stress situations, being productive and involved in the workplace is difficult even for the most well balanced and positive employees. At the present time, the situation in the world is developing just like that. And HR comes to the rescue with applications that allow employees to restructure workflow in a short time, improve internal communications and monitor the level of mental health of employees.
In light of recent events in the world and the trend of moving to remote work, HR, to maintain the usual pace of work, increasingly use various applications that enable a large number of employees to communicate via video communication at the same time. Various applications for diagnosing and stabilizing the emotional state of employees are of great help to HR.
Effects for Business and Challenges
There are now a large number of solutions on the market that are designed to automate the HR cycle. Not only is it very difficult to understand their typology, but it’s quite often impossible to integrate them between each other due to the technologies, the peculiarities of the licenses and a number of other reasons. Thus there’s no one-fits-all solution. You’ll need to adjust your processes to fit SaaS (which are usually limits), or you’ll make changes and add features to the out-of-the-box solutions, or search ways of integration.
Also, it’s a slight chance that your company we’ll be able to control the security of boxed solutions and SaaS. In case of an attack, the database with the employee’s personal information can be stolen.
The last but not the list was already mentioned – it’s the lack of scalability and flexibility. One of the working strategies to overcome these challenges, although more time consuming and costly, is to develop custom solutions. Also, there’s an option of doing a business analysis of the existing solutions in the market to identify those HR cycle places that are not covered by their features to make API-integration to your already existing business systems. So, automation is a good investment as it:
- saves time
- helps free up time for creative tasks
- allows to store all necessary data in one place and process it efficiently
- establishes systematization of workflow
- gives scalability without the cost of new HR staff
- provides transferability of work from employee to employee.
HR Best Practices and New Trends
There is a range of practices that have recently established themselves as perspective and promising:
- HR analytics Big Data using artificial intelligence
- recruitment automation with CRM for recruitment / Applicant tracking system (ATS) / Recruitment management system (RMS)
- digitalization of recruiting (video chats for conferencing, tests through Codility, TestDome, TestForGeeks)
- passing a quest instead of an interview
- VR tours to the main office or production facilities, etc.
- automation of absence management (holidays, sick leave, business trips) and revision of the employment model
- training in the format of 5-7 minute videos
- using SMM to increase the effectiveness of recruiting and build an HR brand.
As it was mentioned, implementing HR best practices and adapting new trends is one of the top priorities for the HR department. In case you need assistance with HR cycle automation and digitalization or want to create a custom solution, start with a free project estimate in Anadea, an app development company.