What is Human Resources (HR) Automation?

Human Resources (HR), along with many other departments, depends on document-driven processes to get work done. For example, employment contracts must be read and signed by new employees during the onboarding process. In a paper-based office, this process requires someone to make sure the contract is accurately prepared, printed, signed by the employee, received by HR and properly filed. Although the employee contract is an essential part of onboarding a new employee, spending hours of valuable time to complete this process on paper is not.
Here’s an explanation of how enterprise content management (ECM) software and business process automation (BPA) help HR professionals work more efficiently, plus a list of seven core HR functions that can be automated.

What is HR Automation?

Enterprise content management (ECM) software reduces the time it takes to complete tasks—without sacrificing quality of work. Organizations use ECM to capture, store, secure and access information by:

  • Importing documents into a digital repository, whether they originate on paper or in a digital format.
  • Organizing them in the repository, where authorized employees can search for, retrieve and edit documents.
  • Keeping files in a standard format (such as TIFF) that can be easily shared across devices.
  • Archiving records as non-editable files and retained according to a compliant records retention schedule.
  • Making information simpler to locate during an audit or records request.

Business process automation (BPA) facilitates these document-based processes and should be an integral part of your ECM solution. BPA handles many of the administrative tasks that, though critical, slow down productivity when performed manually. Such tasks include filing documents, creating new folders and transferring documents between employees. BPA software also eliminates the need for paper-specific tasks like making photocopies and gathering handwritten signatures.

System Diagram

For many organizations, BPA is more than a convenience—it’s become a primary focus. Towers Watson, an HR consulting firm, performs an annual survey of global organizations’ HR goals and practices. In 2013, the survey observed that “talent management” was replaced by “reengineering business processes” as a top priority for HR. The Hackett Group’s finding that 89% of participating organizations intend to invest in technology or automation in 2014 confirms this shift in focus.

Which HR Tasks Can Be Automated?

Here are some core HR functions that can be improved with automation:

  • Timesheets. Send instant, regular reminder emails for employees to review their timesheets.
  • Benefits. Track when employees become eligible for benefits enrollment.
  • Health and safety. Send update emails to floor monitors when an employee leaves the organization or moves to a new floor.
  • Employee recruitment. Automatically store applications submitted online in the ECM repository and assign them to a recruiter for review.
  • Employee onboarding. Send confidentiality agreements, waivers and other forms to new hires and, once completed, send them to the corresponding folders in the ECM repository.
  • Tax forms. Facilitate the distribution of W2s and other tax documents with employee email reminders.
  • Employee records management. Retain employee records according to government regulations in the ECM repository.

Want to learn more about HR automation? Contact us for more information.


Written by Renee Floyd, Laserfiche

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