The HR department of any business is responsible for a plethora of tasks along the hire-to-retire (H2R) process – many of which are repetitive, time-consuming, and still dependent on manual-driven processes to help employees get work done. This high degree of reliance on labor intensive processes is costly and inefficient and can often lead to high error rates or even compromise compliance levels.
While some would argue that most organizations automated their HR processes long ago, an AIIM study taken in 2016 found that when asked “what is paper usage (%) in the following processes?” the results were as follows:
- Recruiting and selection = 35%
- Employee onboarding = 48%
- Employee file management = 53%
- Policies and procedures administration = 32%
- Employee separation = 48%
So what does this mean? The bad news is that it means that most organizations have not yet moved down the path of HR automation, creating huge inefficiencies and risks in their hiring, retaining, employee servicing and termination practices. The good news is that help is on the way!
Granted HR automation is not a new concept, traditional HR tools focused on the data side, but could not provide solutions for the content and unstructured information side. In addition, a variety of tasks along the H2R processes are complex, multi-step processes that depend on numerous, disparate platforms that do not communicate with one another and store data in many different places. This results in islands of disconnected tasks and data, associated with ineffective hand-offs and high-touch processes flow.
High-performing HR departments are turning to technology to solve these issues in the form of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA technology is able to handle ALL mundane, repetitive tasks and interacts with any existing system and application at a user layer. Even complex scenarios and processes to be automated in a precise and controlled manner. More advanced solutions, such as Nintex Kryon RPA, do this without costly integrations that would involve large teams, disruptions, and months-long waits. Instead, Kryon H2R automation can result in higher ROI in just a few months and savings potential of 50%.
Relieved of the burdensome, repetitive tasks, HR can focus time and resources on strategic tasks like proactive hiring, supporting transformations, introduction of career development programs, and scouting for the latest training material, so that the top talent is always one step ahead and fully satisfied.
Here are the top 10 HR tasks along the H2R process that can easily be optimized using RPA:
1. Resume Screening and Candidate Shortlisting
The screening process of resumes and online application forms to identify the right candidates and generate a shortlist of those to invite for an interview can easily become a very time-consuming process. In fact, one single hire is estimated to take a total of almost three working days of a recruiter’s time in average.
RPA can be implemented to gather and screen resumes and online application forms, do thorough background verification checks and compare the info against all relevant job requisitions. With this, the best candidates can be shortlisted and notifications for interviews, feedback or rejections can be generated based upon predefined rules – with only a click of a button!
2. Offer Letter Administration
Creating, sending, and monitoring the return of specific documents for new joiner candidates has multiple dimensions, as the content of the offer letter not only has to please the desired top candidate, but also needs to comply with local and company regulations on various aspects. Manually checking all the data against diverse databases and regulations can take quite some time and is prone to human error.
RPA can be implemented to conveniently craft offer letters for your new employees that are both tailor-made and accurate. Cross-checks with diverse related rules and regulations stored in different systems and databases inside and outside the organization are also easily made possible in the course of the offer letter creation.
3. New Hire Set-Up and Onboarding
Once the new candidate has accepted the job offer, a new user account, an email address, access rights for applications, mailing lists and systems and all the necessary IT equipment has to be requested and ordered. And all this has to happen in accordance with the new candidates’ profile, his preferences and – of course – the company rules. Very often, there are many parties and systems involved in this process that need to be orchestrated. Therefore, a 100% well equipped employee on day 1 is still considered an exception rather than a standard.
RPA can be implemented to automatically trigger a predefined onboarding workflow once the user account is created. Business rules assigned to the user profile guide robots to take decisions – for instance which system accesses to grant. Robots can even send out predefined onboarding documents to the new joiners as a final step of the process.
4. Induction and Training
No matter if an employee is new to the company or to the role, or if a new application or a new process is being launched – it is fairly important that employees are fully aware and up-to-date when it comes to executing business processes and tasks in line with company standards, so that compliance is being granted and missing or wrong data can be prevented. Also in many cases, individual training needs and requirements are being identified by chance rather than based upon a structured and ongoing basis.
Having its’ roots in Training, eLearning and Performance Support, Nintex Kryon’s RPA solution has a broad application portfolio in Learning and Development, thereby significantly improving training effectiveness and new system adoption. An automatic notification of certification requirements can also be scheduled as individual employee characteristics and certification status are compared against requirements. Even the individual calendars can be blocked according to the individual training needs and schedule.
5. Travel and Expense Management
Most of the manual Travel and Expense processes are characterized by missing receipts, out-of-policy-spends, late expense submissions, error-prone spreadsheets and a poor visibility into the reason for the spend. No wonder that this easily results in compliance issues, late payments and a lack of satisfaction for all parties being involved in the process.
RPA can be implemented to compare individual expenses against predefined rules and regulations from different systems inside and outside the organization. As with Kryon, the level of personal involvement can easily be scaled, automation can span from an unattended auto-approval of standard expenses to a guided check-up of various items in attended or hybrid mode.
6. Monthly Payroll
Common payroll challenges result from a limited ability to leverage standardization due to local payroll, compliance and security requirements as well as a lack of data visibility and integrity – leading to inaccurate data (e.g. for the IRS) incorrect submissions and overall delays in payment. Because most payroll processes are rule-based, involving large volumes of data entry and are highly repetitive by nature, they make a classic RPA use case to increase accuracy and reduce processing time – especially when the company has a considerable number of employees.
RPA can be implemented to verify the consistency of payroll system employee data by checking it against the data in the ERP system. Also It can run batch extracts, import and validation for gross-to-net processing or benchmark with global grade data or feed the procurement system for new hires, transfers and terminations. Paychecks, benefits administration, rewards and reimbursements , i.e. benefit invoice reconciliation can all be automatically tracked and produced by robots to avoid inaccurate submission and overall delays.
7. Employee Data Management
Just think of all the data that HR professionals manage regarding current employees, past employees, applicants, new hires, compliance and regulatory requirements, payroll and benefits. This amount of HR data can be difficult to track within even small to medium-sized organizations, let alone large companies with multiple offices, languages, laws, and locations. Enterprise HR solutions can help with these issues, but there are many tasks that require manual entry, updating, and maintenance across multiple, disparate database management systems.
RPA can be implemented to ensure accurate and complete employee data throughout the employee lifetime from the very first day – starting with an employee record creation by interacting with the new employee to enter the data accurately and complete, continued by data cleansing activities to ensure consistency across multiple systems in various formats.
8. Reports and Analysis of Surveys and Company Reviews
Reporting can get a very time-consuming affair for HR as data is needed in the right format at the right place to shape the right indicators in order to make smart decisions. This can get a difficult endeavor if the relevant data is distributed in different systems inside and outside the organization which often is the case. As a matter of fact one can easily spent hours to manually craft and update dashboards on a regular basis.
RPA can be implemented to fulfill pre-populating complex periodic reporting requirements for prescriptive and predictive HR analyses – even beyond the standard HR metrics like number of FTE’s or average quote of absence. It may also include automatic screening of company reviews and surveys throughout different internal and external sources.
9. Time and Attendance
Some employees can get sloppy when it comes to recording absences, vacations or in general the usage of the existing absence management system. Manually reviewing employee time records for accuracy and completion to comply with changes of Fair Labor Standards and overtime regulations on a daily basis is not a viable option on a larger scale.
RPA can be implemented to validate records by cross-checking data (e.g. absentee reports against time logged in the corporate network) and giving alert when info is missing or inconsistent or reallocation of resources is recommended so that disruptions are avoided and the workforce is managed efficiently.
10. Exit Management
When an employee exits, it is of highest importance to ensure that this happens in a consistent and considerate manner. Manual processes during the separation phase are error-prone and raise audit flags in many cases.
RPA can be implemented to ensure a better-organized off-boarding and de-provisioning process by automating process parts, e.g. consolidate all leavers’ input and feed to downstream systems, generate exit documents, conduct exit surveys, notify the right people, revoke systems access, collect company assets and process final payments.