For a function called human resources, there is a hell of a lot more paperwork than actual human connection. If no systems are automated, that is.

Adverts, job specs, applications, interview notes, offer letters, contracts… And that’s before a new employee sets foot through the door. And what  about induction reference material, information on employee benefits, pensions, org charts, training and development? There is so much involved in the HR function and most of these operations listed could be either partially or fully automated.

It’s not about replacing HR staff, it’s about freeing them up for the functions which really need the soft skills or keen eye of an actual person. It’s such a document-driven environment that the burden of administration could completely swallow up any time that the team could actually have to spend with and listen to workers; the heartbeat of the business.

The most obvious aspect to automate is information. All business information should be accessible from one central point to all employees on a tiered access system. Secondly all employee information should be automated. Deborah in customer services wants to know how much holiday she has left. She doesn’t want to bother HR. Guess what? HR doesn’t want to be bothered either.

It’s crazy if an employee can’t self-serve and access this information. Crazy and not particularly secure. Allowing employees to manage some of the functions typically completed by HR empowers them to take ownership of their own training and development and explore for themselves the company benefits or opportunities open to them. If this is integrated into the current intranet, you’d be doing internal communications a favour as well by encouraging staff to proactively access one of their information channels.

The other obvious benefit to automation is what technology can seamlessly, immediately and with absolute precision do with the data you provide it. Looking for patterns in recruitment, retention, talent management, absence? Interested in what demographic is most interested in joining but also leaving your company? It’s technology that can tell you this. It will be people who act on the information to form strategies around these statistics but technology that provides the initial burst of information.

If used properly, technology is so capable and exciting. It’s easy to see where IT business leaders like Steve Jobs got their passion. The ability of technology is near limitless and with the growth of SAAS, it’s entirely possible to try out new applications and functionality without huge development costs and scale up and down as necessary, establishing what does and doesn’t work for your business and departments.

If they aren’t drowning in paperwork, HR employees can be engaging with other teams and departments, forming strategies on engagement, wellbeing and nurturing and developing talent and avoiding unnecessary attrition. Engaged employees and efficient processes drive businesses and profits and automation makes this possible.

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