Forbes Human Resources Council
Jul 20, 2018, 08:00am
POST WRITTEN BY Jonathan Benhamou
French entrepreneur, investor and CEO of PeopleDoc, a pioneering leading global provider of cloud-based HR service delivery solutions.
Imagine you’re a human resources employee at a large, global company. The organization is growing rapidly, and talent acquisition is the priority. As an HR representative, your job is to evaluate candidates — vet them, interview them, train them — and to hire the best possible people for the roles your company is filling.
Here’s the good news: Your company is hiring — that means you’re growing smartly and speedily. The bad news? Your talent recruitment role is just the beginning of the work. As an HR professional, you’re likely working with multiple other people in your department throughout the recruiting and onboarding processes. Bringing a new employee into a company involves large amounts of paperwork, processes and management that can be repetitive and time-consuming for both the hiring department and the new employee. That’s where automation — with its ability to transform HR departments and the processes that are completed through them — comes in.
New robotic process automation (or RPA technology) can dramatically compress the onboarding processes and get you back to focusing on what’s most important for a global company: growth. Automation makes your HR checklist that much shorter. Instead of having to manually update the applicant tracking system after a new hire, make a new employee record for your employee database, gather employee documentation and create a new employee in your payroll system, RPA can act on your behalf to complete these tasks in other systems. It makes it possible for your software systems to communicate with each other. And in a world of frequent regulatory change, RPA can double-check HR compliance, saving the company from big fines.
It will not just benefit the HR professional. RPA is also able to give new employees a more personalized and efficient onboarding experience. Everything from introductory meetings with new supervisors to personal paperwork and in-depth job training can be organized in a customized way that lets a new employee know that their company values their time and happiness. With RPA integration, these systems can become instantly responsive from the moment a new employee is welcomed into a company.
Often in today’s fast-paced work environment, employees can end up feeling like “just a number,” especially in an enterprise work environment. By personalizing the employee’s experience with HR starting from day one, you can let them know that they are valued and seen by the organization. Additionally, HR professionals who are bogged down with a constantly shifting and changing workforce are able to be liberated from repetitive, mechanical tasks. So, rather than spending hours filling out paperwork in their office, they’re able to take the time to build substantial relationships with employees in the office, and improve the overall strength of the culture and values of the organization.
Being the CEO of an RPA provider, I’m often asked, “Why automation for everyday HR processes? Why not use AI, a technology that’s become more mainstream in the business world over the past decade?” The simple answer is that while AI can be great for aspects of HR such as talent acquisition and identifying job candidates, AI doesn’t make much as much sense for streamlining processes as RPA does. The learning is extremely complex. If every employee profile is different, there’s not much that a machine can learn and apply. That’s why automation is the most practical solution: If your company is organized, each employee is going through similar onboarding processes, and RPA drastically reduces the lift for both the employee and the HR team.
When you automate your HR operations, not only does that department benefit, but so does the company as a whole. For example, without automation, the traditional onboarding process can last a full month, delaying the new employee’s ability to be fully productive from day one. When you apply automation to the same scenario, the onboarding process for this employee can be reduced to days, allowing them to start working to their full potential and productivity. With automation, a new hire is able to dive directly into their work, get to know their team, and feel comfortable in their new position so that they are set up to succeed from the start. Additionally, the HR operations team can focus more on value-added activities and company culture, which provides more value to the company.
This also means you can deliver HR services to employees much more efficiently and quickly. For example, RPA can automatically generate the documents employees need or request most often, instead of you having to transfer all the employee data from your HRIS to a document template. Think of all the time that could save.
If you’re leading a company on a global scale, growth is always going to be a focus. But what happens after talent acquisition, and how does a company ensure all employees have time to provide real value? To have a successful operation, you need to be sure people know each other and can communicate easily, whether it’s person to person, over the phone or through technology.
We are at an exciting inflection point in RPA’s bright future where over the next few years, businesses will begin to truly realize the benefits it will bring — heightened productivity and employee satisfaction, to name only two. There is a unique opportunity for innovators and pioneers to spearhead RPAs’ rollout and adoption to change the workplace. Will you be leading the charge?