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7 ways to automate HR workflows for better employee lifecycle management

According to Matt Ferguson, CEO of “HR is the new frontier for data science applications in business…” He stresses the need for HR to use data-driven, efficient technologies to drive bottom-line business growth. He also quotes a study conducted by CareerBuilder, in which 35% of CEOs said their recruitment process was inefficient, while 25% admitted that candidate experience was not as good as it could be. 48% of CEOs in the study also feared that their companies had lost money due to inefficient recruiting.

Approximately a third of an HR manager’s time is estimated to be spent on repetitive administrative tasks: answering employee queries, organizing approvals, enrolling employees into benefits, overseeing attendance and timesheets, etc.

Many of these tasks are very amenable to automation and can free up HR team members from mundane and low-value work, giving them the chance to use their working hours for more creative, value-added tasks. At the same time, automation can raise employee satisfaction and confidence levels by allowing them to self-govern HR processes during their service period in the organization.

However, the challenge lies in identifying which processes can be effectively automated and how. Many automation failures are a result of choosing the wrong processes to automate or not designing the workflow efficiently. This is where the expertise of consultants experienced in workflow automation can help.

The key to successful automation in HR

When we develop software systems to automate specific business processes for a client, a critical part of the process is to understand your business, how things are being done currently, and why. What information is required and by whom? Where is the data that forms the basis of that information? Whose responsibility is it to collect data? Who is the originator of any process or request? Who is the reviewer or approver? What checks and balances are needed? These are some of the aspects that need to be documented, with flowcharts wherever relevant. A bespoke solution works better than off-the-shelf applications.

With off-the-shelf applications, you will need to make changes to your processes to fit into their defined workflows, and that will not serve your purpose well. 

Here are a few ways in which customized workflows can benefit the HR practice: 

  1. Streamline and regulate the recruitment process, end-to-end, from sourcing to hiring, helping managers get access to high-quality resources in time to meet project requirements.
  2. Provide hassle-free onboarding of new recruits, through a customized workflow, cutting through manual paperwork, saving costs and helping new employees get down to the real work in quick time.
  3. Identity-based and role-based automated access to employee portals, apps and online services, customized based on an organization’s or department’s unique requirements.
  4. Connect into HRMS and payroll systems to create a central, interoperable repository of employee information which can be tapped into for tasks throughout the employee lifecycle.
  5. Recording time and attendance could easily be the number one task that both employees and HR teams are reluctant to comply with. By creating easy, automated workflows to keep these records painlessly will give a big boost to employee satisfaction as well as save precious time.
  6. Customization is key when it comes to E-Learning systems and Performance Management systems – these two crucial areas may differ not just between organizations, but even between different departments within the same organization. In fact, most modern-day enterprises strive to maintain an on-going performance record of employees, rather than a one-time annual review. Workflow automation can help regulate and implement very specific training, skill-upgrade and performance records.
  7. Offboarding of employees at the end of their service is as critical or maybe even more so than onboarding. Automatically revoking access and initiating closures of various accounts and services should be regulated and systematic to prevent unauthorized access as well as leakage of information.

We have seen that in today’s modern enterprise, complex employee lifecycles and frequent role transitions often result in cumbersome manual processes being added on to the company’s core enterprise systems. A single central repository is many times not available, leading to several tedious tasks which could be easily avoided by integration of customized workflows with the core HR information systems. Delays in onboarding of new employees is often seen as a result of manual access rights being granted to enterprise apps, portals and other mobile or online services. Security vulnerabilities can arise out of errors or delays in revoking access rights during offboarding. 

Automated processes, self-assisting portal and self-service mobile apps with automated access which can process requests, seek and manage approvals, provide support – all improve agility of the organization. Simple and powerful automated workflows will allow highly specialized HR personnel to focus on adding strategic value to the organization instead of spending their time on repetitive or administrative tasks.

Workflow Automation is hence imperative to streamline critical processes, ensure compliance with set procedures as well as to ensure easy access to accurate and updated employee information.

Madhura Chacko

Madhura is one of the founding members of CCR Technologies in Pune and its parent company CCR in Short Hills, NJ. She has 20+ years of experience in the area of Computer Systems development as well as IT business applications in Manufacturing, Finance & Telecom sectors. At CCR Technologies, Madhura is focused on development of decision support systems, database driven data modelling platforms and process automation to improve process efficiency. Madhura has a BSc from Pune University, MS in Computer & Information Science from University of Massachusetts, USA and teaching experience at University of Massachusetts and Pune University’s Computer Science Department.

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