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How workflow automation could revolutionize HR processes

This post is co-authored by 451 Research Analysts Chris Marsh and Connor Forrest.

The war for talent is an ongoing issue in the enterprise, and Human Resources departments are often the ones tasked with finding new and innovative ways to attract and retain employees.

These same HR practitioners, however, are often overloaded with tedious manual tasks necessary to support the employee lifecycle—leaving them little room to innovate. This is where intelligent workflow automation comes in.

According to 451 Research‘s VoCUL Consumer Representative Survey from late 2018, 36 percent of respondents said intelligent automation is one of their main IT-led priorities for digital transformation. 451 Research believes that intelligent workflow automation platforms will be a cornerstone tool in the HR technology stack of the future, freeing up HR professionals to engage their untapped potential and turn their department into a hub for innovation.

Start at the beginning

Within HR, the impact of workflow automation begins with the earliest stages of the employee lifecycle—sourcing and recruitment.

Workflow automation platforms can kick off a background check once an employee becomes a final candidate, automatically send an offer letter and prompt IT to begin provisioning new hardware. This can replace manually written emails and messy task-prioritization spreadsheets, for example, and give the HR professional a higher-level view of how to help the new employee assimilate.

Improving the employee experience

Throughout the employee lifecycle, intelligent workflow automation can alleviate pain points associated with a variety of administrative tasks. This includes reminding employees to complete open enrolment, routing time-off requests for approval and automatically sending calendar invites for compliance training. If it comes time for an employee to leave, workflow automation can streamline the offboarding process as well, prompting HR to schedule an exit interview and prompting IT to transfer file ownership and revoke network access.

By investing in workflow automation for their HR departments, business leaders are improving scalability for the standard processes handled by those departments and giving practitioners more freedom to engage with employees.

We could also see this potentially help to improve retention rates, provide more clarity in regard to headcount forecasting and offer business leaders a more in-depth look at how employee engagement impacts the bottom line.

The ripple effect

Executives must understand that the effects of workflow automation in HR will have a ripple effect, since it will improve the employee experience and open up new pathways for collaboration among HR and other business divisions.

Read the 451 Research report here. 

There are quite a few HR processes that involve other lines of business, and automating day-to-day tasks opens up new arteries for engagement that will touch on the transversal and collaborative nature of modern business. This is a catalyst for businesses becoming more operationally ‘liquid’ in that they will be able to automate their human, digital and physical resources into workflows in a way that provides a clearer line of sight from strategy to execution, faster delivery, more meaningful collaboration and empowerment for the employees involved in defining those new arteries.


Learn more about how you can get started digitally transforming your organization by contacting a Nintex representative today. 

Chris Marsh

Chris Marsh sets the vision for and manages 451 Research's Workforce Productivity and Compliance practice. His research focuses on workforce productivity software including project, team, task, content, and innovation management applications; general worker productivity suites; on-device workspaces; and more. Before 451 Research, Chris was a research manager in Nokia's Global Consumer Analytics and Insights division.

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