Human resources is the glue that holds your most valuable asset together: your team. And in 2022, technology will be HR’s greatest ally. According to G2, there are over 21 types of HR software on the market including employee wellness, employee benefit, and time tracking apps to name a few.
To ensure the best HR operations, you can use technology to streamline processes, enable remote working, and automate workflows.
HR automation has grown rapidly in recent years, with companies investing in cloud-based SaaS systems to help them hiring, managing their team, managing payroll, handling employee inquiries, and more.
With built-in and third-party automation capabilities, HR teams are in the best position to get more work done, enable their apps to work together, and equip their business with the systems it needs to scale.
Instead of losing the human part of human resources, HR automation frees up time for the 1: 1 interactions, team oversight, and strategy meetings that matter most.
To streamline your HR operations, here are some of the best automation ideas to provide great HR support and free up more space on your schedule.
Automation ideas for the HR department
1. Create a standardized onboarding and training process for new employees.
Onboarding is one of the best options for HR automation. HR managers can create automated workflows to provide the key forms, documentation, and training resources new employees need to get started in their roles.
As a way to automate this, some companies are creating a dedicated onboarding bot on Slack to introduce new employees and share important training documents.
As with many of the HR automation ideas on this list, it all starts with understanding the key processes that you are running. List the common steps you take in onboarding each new hire, standardize them where possible, but keep them personalized, and look for areas that you can streamline or automate.
2. Automate time sheets and approval processes.
If your company requires employees to submit time sheets, this is an important area that you need to automate first. There are tons of time tracking tools out there to help you quickly approve data in the right format and minimize the time spent looking for missing or incorrect data.
Some good examples are When I Work and Toggl, although time tracking features are also built into some accounting systems (like Xero) and project management tools (like Teamwork). Whenever possible, look for time tracking software that has native integrations with your other important apps – this is a great way to save time.
3. Optimize payroll.
Payroll can be another very time consuming task for HR teams. With HR automation, the options for streamlining payroll are more extensive than ever.
For example, Gusto, the popular US payroll software, automates payroll, taxes, and filings. It also offers native integrations with time tracking apps, business operations tools, and expense management to help you streamline processes across your HR tech stack.
4. Use programmatic job advertisements to target the best candidates.
One of the greatest technological advances in HR in recent years has been programmatic recruiting. Here is a definition of PandoLogic:
Programmatic Recruitment is using technology instead of people to buy, post and optimize job advertisements … Programmatic Recruitment ensures that your job advertisement is seen by the right candidates, on the right websites, at the right time. And this happens through the use of big data, targeted job advertisements, real-time bids and campaign optimization.
Running programmatic job ads with a tool like Joveo is a great way to automate your recruiting efforts and get more ideal candidates with less time, effort, and budget.
5. Enrichment of candidate data.
Another valuable HR automation is the enrichment of candidate data. Many companies love Workable’s People Search feature, which automatically merges multiple data sources for each candidate to give you the most complete view of their skills, social footprint, and contact details.
Apps like DiscoverOrg also enable recruiters to automatically enrich their database and applicant tracking systems with data such as titles, roles and technical responsibilities. This is a great way to identify and promote the best candidates through your hiring pipeline.
6. Automate contracts.
Contract signing is one of the easiest areas in the HR department to automate. With apps like HelloSign and DocuSign, you can request the signatures you need, sign documents online, and automate follow-ups until everything is collected. These apps also make it much easier and faster to keep documents handy when working remotely.
7. Grant instant access to the right apps.
A time-consuming part of onboarding new employees is making sure they have access to all the right apps. It becomes even more problematic when user credentials for business tools change. You can solve this with a password management app like LastPass. It makes it easy to give every new employee access to just the right apps.
8. Track vacation days and expedite vacation requests.
Tracking and approving vacations doesn’t have to be a headache for your HR team. People HR and Absence.io are two helpful apps to manage and approve vacation days in less time.
9. Collect performance data for decision making.
You can collect data automatically with performance management apps like 15Five or surveys for employee and management feedback with tools like Google Forms and Typeform.
With regular feedback processes, you have the best information at hand to create opportunities for internal growth, personal development, and management optimization. This can help inform promotions, recognize individuals for awards, and let you know where to put your training budget.
10. Automate the submission and approval of expenses.
Don’t let expense requests clutter your inbox. For a smooth process, you want to have a clear and well-documented workflow that everyone on the team can follow. To ensure that expenses are submitted in exactly the format your HR team needs, you can use expense management software such as Spendesk or Concur.
11. Use one inbox for all employee inquiries.
A great way to get employee inquiries into one inbox from any channel (including Slack and email) is Back. Not only can you search HR queries in one place and automatically reply to frequently asked questions, but you can also view reports to understand where your HR team spends most of their time.
Here are some types of employee inquiries that are routed to the same inbox (and organized with tags or filters) to centralize the organization:
- Training and travel inquiries
- Internal technical support
- Payroll questions
- Complaints and feedback
- Contractual issues
12. Automate performance evaluation at set intervals.
With continuous performance management software like 15Five, both your HR team and managers can streamline employee performance appraisal and feedback.
This includes sending automated check-ins, one-on-one interviews and “best self-assessments” at set intervals to find out how your employees are doing.
13. Trigger notifications about the entitlement to benefits.
If your organization offers benefits based on certain criteria, you can use automation to trigger notifications when the conditions are met. An example could be extending an employee’s vacation after they’ve been with the company for a year, or offering stock options to high-performing employees.
You can automate similar notifications to your HR team and management when it’s time for performance reviews or a raise for individual team members.
14. Optimize offboarding processes.
As with onboarding, creating smooth offboarding processes is one of the best ways to streamline HR operations. Although it is important to keep this very personal and to discuss it 1: 1 with every employee, you can also introduce some standardized data collection processes – even if these are discussed personally at the exit interview.
15. Integrate HR tools and processes.
As you automate your HR processes, think about how to integrate your tech stack. This can include setting up native integrations and connecting data between apps.