Why HR Teams Need Automation in their Future

Janice Yau
October 25, 2021
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The pandemic triggered a technological chain reaction in the HR sector. No longer are HR teams just considered ‘the people people’. They’ve been forced to become ‘people and technology people’, deploying new solutions that cater for at-home, hybrid, and in-office work.

This rapid awakening is long overdue according to Enrique Rubio, Founder at Hacking HR,

“HR has been like the last frontier of organizational development. Organizations took so much care of operational excellence, finance, marketing, sales. But now, company leaders are looking at HR and saying, ‘we can't continue doing the same things in the same way we've done them, because the world is different."

This new thinking is changing the adoption curve of HR technology across the sector. As PwC points out, “what used to be a slow-moving corporate technology space a decade ago is now a $148 billion market of HR cloud solutions to address the needs for the future of work.”

With a growing appetite for HR tech and more solutions crowding the market, HR professionals are hunting bleeding-edge solutions that will help them find and develop a workforce for the coming decade.

And HR automation is a big part of this puzzle.

1. HR is getting in on the data game, but not without automation

The importance of data isn’t lost on HR technology leaders. Per Terrence Yong, Chief Business Officer at Pulsifi, an AI-backed recruitment platform.

“Analytics are quite important. Not just for reporting, but it gives you insights about what’s happening right now and what's going to come. With this information HR professionals can engage with employees in a much more dynamic fashion, rather than reacting. HR is becoming more dynamic.”

These ‘dynamic’ data-backed solutions are reaching HR right when the industry is innovating. And there’s a lot of them out there:

  • AI-backed recruitment platforms are promising smarter hiring decisions by ‘codifying the gut feel’.
  • Data-based performance management systems are predicting everything from how effective employees are at different times of the day to predicting how likely high-performers are to leave your company.
  • Progressive HR companies like Visier are even going beyond traditional metrics and tracking the progress of diversity and inclusion initiatives and worker overtime trends.

But there’s a catch. For HR to make the most of these new technologies they need access to high-quality, clean data in a usable format. And that’s much easier said than done. In fact, up to 73% of total company data goes unused for analytics.

This problem is largely down to a lack of data maturity within HR tools and processes, as Terrence explains,

“There are silos of information across HR and it's difficult for a human to pull all that together. Today, companies still consolidate and aggregate everything into massive Excel spreadsheets and then try and figure it out from there. Obviously that's not the most secure way to deal with very sensitive pieces of information. But it’s also an inefficient way of collecting information.”

That’s where HR process automation comes in. By integrating automated data collection and analytics tools into core systems, HR teams don’t have to aggregate data in Excel spreadsheets to unlock insights anymore. Instead, these systems automate data collection and format it in a usable way. Without them, HR will have no data to feed into their data-drive systems, rendering them useless.

2. HR process automation will define future success

Even in instances where HR teams can pull all of the data together to make smarter and faster decisions, one roadblock remains: someone has to take the time to look at it, understand it, and action it. And that means we need a way of taking low-complexity tasks off HR teams’ plates.

It’s why the other half of the HR automation equation must focus on removing the mundane and repetitive tasks prevent HR professionals from actioning true organization-shifting initiatives.

And HR is ripe for it. As Enrique explains,

“There are many opportunities for automation to help HR teams with time-consuming yet significant tasks, interviews, paperwork, what happens once they apply, and all that.“

Look at the hiring process, for instance, there are already a number of HR automation tools that are helping teams do more with less:

  • Smart recruitment tools that automatically screen the best candidates.
  • Video screening tools that remove a step from the hiring process.
  • eSignatures that automatically send and manage HR documents.

This tech is unfolding before our eyes and for forward-thinking HR professionals it’s a big opportunity that will improve processes now and set them up to make the most of tomorrow’s even smarter technology.  

These are just pieces of the HR automation puzzle

HR automation is so much more than just data collection and hiring tools though. It’s driving greater productivity, cutting costs, simplifying onboarding experiences, and so much more, across the entire HR landscape.  

Find out how HR leaders are automating their entire stack in our latest guide, The HR automation toolkit: Essential tools for a well-oiled HR stack in 2021.

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