Can tech lighten the load for HR professionals?
EMPLOYEES in most companies don’t notice the work that human resource professionals put in to keep the organization running.
In fact, after getting hired, there’s hardly any interaction that an employee has with anyone from the HR team. Except for an occasional email about training, most communication is routed through managers, leaving the HR team working hard, but behind the scenes.
This was the traditional way of running the HR function, but with time, things have had to change. Employees need more attention. Talent is not always readily available, so attrition needs to reduced.
HR professionals need to be more hands-on in today’s modern organization and find meaningful ways to engage with employees — to improve their experience and add value to their journey within the company.
Unfortunately, the reality is that HR professionals in most companies are tied up in processing paperwork and doing critical, but repetitive and manual tasks such as screening applications and managing appraisals.
What if we could automate these tasks? Is the technology available? Is it accurate (since these are critical tasks)? And finally, is the technology affordable?
Well, the short answer to all those questions is that yes, a majority of those repetitive tasks that HR professionals perform can be automated, allowing them to be more productive and therefore, helping them shift focus to improving the overall experience of the company’s employees.
The technology that makes this possible is called robotic process automation (RPA), and it’s an affordable solution that is both reliable and easy to deploy.
RPA is basically a script-based bot that learns from humans and then performs the same repetitive task, with precision, time and time again. Here are a few examples of how RPA can help HR professionals:
Reviewing CVs take hours and is a really tedious process – especially when you’re a company that looks at the “whole picture” when looking for new hires.
However, using intelligent screening software, you can automate quite a bit of the process. Simply train the algorithm or RPA bot to learn job requirements and what qualified candidates look like based on previous hiring decisions.
The system also learns how to gather insights about prospective candidates to determine their likelihood of accepting an offer.
Automation can also help recruiters mine public social media profiles of potential hires and fill in the gaps left by traditional CVs.
Smart solutions can help HR staff save time by automating month-end tasks like finalizing leaves, calculating benefits, and making last minute adjustments to employee compensations.
These solutions can also help make calculation and deduction of monthly taxes a breeze, generating payslips on demand, distributing them appropriately along with bank payment slips and compensation/adjustment clarifications.
Month-end reporting of all sorts can also be automated- almost completely, save for ad-hoc reporting to senior management every once in a while.
All of these are perfect use cases for RPA — in fact, many of these the ‘bots’ required to perform these tasks would be readily available “off the shelf” from vendors providing these solutions.
Learning and development
Automation in the field of learning and development (L&D) can introduce a layer of gamification tools such as competitions, badges, and social sharing that makes training modules more engaging.
RPA can also be used to identify the training needs of employees based on their current role, interests, aspirations and skill gaps that exist. The data for these are available in spreadsheets and forms on different platforms. All that the RPA bot needs to do is compile, calculate, and report.
Across organizations, the process of evaluating performance remains a time-consuming and tedious task.
Appraisals tend to tie-up line managers and HR staff alike in a mountain of paperwork and bureaucracy.
However, an RPA bot could make appraisals infinitely easier — from being a painful chore to being a genuinely useful tool for tracking KPIs and performance across the company.
RPA applied to appraisals can also help continuous evaluation for hundreds of thousands of employees.
Employee engagement and satisfaction surveys hardly gauge the real sentiment in the work environment for several reasons.
However, with current technology, it is possible to analyze texts and social media posts on emotion and sentiment using messages on internal social media — all using an army of RPA bots.
Of course, with technology that is still emerging, there are issues on ethics and privacy that need to be addressed.
However, RPA can help provide great insights about how employees feel and what can be done to better engage with them.