May 18, 2022HR & Benefits

HR automation: 15 ways businesses can save time

Today, business leaders across all industries face tremendous challenges. In addition to inflation and supply chain shortages, many companies are still struggling to hire the workers they need to accomplish their objectives. One recent study, for example, found that 73 percent of companies are having a hard time attracting workers while 61 percent are having a problem retaining them.

The good news is that making smart investments in automation—specifically for HR functions—can help leaders save time and accomplish more with less. Investing in technology can help businesses overcome challenges and automate tasks related to workforce management. But what processes are best suited for automation? And how do you know which tools can actually help you save time? We’ll cover the benefits of HR automation and then where you can get started.

What are the benefits of HR automation?

There’s a reason industry watchers expect the automation market to increase to nearly $20 billion by 2026, doubling in six short years: The technology delivers a ton of benefits to businesses.

For starters, automation enables organizations to reduce manual data-entry errors. With technology facilitating HR processes on your behalf, you can rest comfortably knowing that your data will be reliable and consistent. At the same time, automation also helps take low-value work off your plate. Nobody is thrilled about taking information from one system and moving it to another. Instead, you can spend time on higher-value activities. Additionally, automation helps organizations move faster, operate more efficiently, ensure compliance, cut costs, and scale with ease. Add it all up, and there’s a lot to like.

15 examples of HR automation

Now that you have a better idea of how automation can help you become more effective, let’s turn to the 15 areas where you can put HR automation to work.

1. Recruiting automation

While you want to retain workers, you also need to grow your workforce through recruitment. Automating components of the recruitment process can help you find more workers and reduce the time it takes to do so. Start with the basics, such as automating job postings to popular boards like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn.

You can use automated SMS messaging, chatbots, or email tools to send messages to applicants on a continual basis, but without being glued to your desktop. Platforms like Jobvite, HireVue and Fetcher can help you keep track of where each candidate is in the hiring funnel and automatically send texts or emails about next steps. Asynchronous video interviews—where candidates record their answers to prepared interview questions—can also save you hours of time. If you want to meet in-person, automated interview scheduling can take additional tasks off your plate.

RELATED READING: How to build a labor pool

2. Background check automation

Background checks are another often-overlooked area where automation can make a major difference. As Everee’s 2022 State of the Worker Report revealed, 20 percent of workers have stopped pursuing a job because the background check process dragged on too long. Suffice it to say that most organizations can’t afford to lose one in five candidates — particularly when they’re trying to hire at scale. Using tools like Checkr to automate the background check process, rather than doing it manually, ensures that applicants go through your hiring funnel more quickly. This gives the hiring team more time to focus on other work responsibilities.

Additionally, modern background check solutions are optimized for mobile, which makes it easier for candidates to take care of what’s required on their end. When given the choice to pursue employment with a company that has a long, arduous, and opaque background check process or one that offers a modern, streamlined experience, the decision is an easy one.

3. Employee onboarding automation

Manual onboarding processes are cumbersome for both HR teams and new hires. On one hand, companies need to be as comprehensive as possible to set up workers for success. On the other, new workers need to fill out many forms on their first day, which probably doesn’t give them a great first impression of your organization. Not only does this old-fashioned approach open up the door for human error—you might forget to include a form, for example—it also adversely impacts retention. While exceptional onboarding processes increase the chances new hires stick around, suboptimal ones increase the chances they turnover

This makes perfect sense: When a worker starts a job and the onboarding experience is frustrating, slow, and confusing, they’re unlikely to form a favorable opinion of the organization.

Luckily, employee onboarding automation solves these problems. By integrating applicant tracking systems with onboarding workflows, you can reclaim the time you’d previously spend managing documents and data-entry tasks while also eliminating the possibility of manual data entry errors and ensuring compliance. Automation in the form of digital checklists and video training also makes onboarding a breeze for new hires, who are guided through an efficient and intuitive onboarding workflow that they can self-serve. Instead of waiting for you to guide them through the process, new hires can tackle onboarding requirements at their own convenience, which sets them up for success faster.

4. Payroll automation

If your organization is still processing payroll by hand, let’s hope you don’t make any mistakes. Unfortunately, 54 percent of U.S. workers say payroll errors have impacted them. Additionally, 49 percent of professionals agree they’d look for a new job after encountering just two paycheck errors.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix here: payroll automation. With the right payroll software in place, your team can ensure you’re paying people accurately and timely. Payroll tools that integrate time and attendance solutions mean you won’t have to waste time tracking down hours; all of that information is automatically available in the payroll app itself.

At the same time, payroll automation enables you to ensure you’re complying with relevant regulations (e.g., overtime) and taking care of tax obligations across 10,000 U.S. jurisdictions without any heavy lifting. As a result, organizations that embrace payroll automation can reduce payroll costs by up to 80 percent.

5. 1099 payments automation

Managing an increasingly diverse workforce is one of the most significant challenges businesses face today. In fact, contingent labor, which includes independent contractors (ICs), gig workers, freelancers and consultants made up 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2020.

This presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to payments. Independent workers, in particular, want fast pay; the faster the payment, the more attracted a contractor is to continue working with you. While it may be tempting to use peer-to-peer apps like Venmo or Paypal for paying contractors, making payments through a payroll software will help you stay compliant. Look for payroll platforms that help you save time by bulk uploading payment information instead of manually entering data.

RELATED READING: The best way to pay independent contractors

6. Tax form automation

Collecting, storing and filing tax documents is a necessary part of HR, but it’s also time consuming. To automate tax document management, look for a solution that integrates with your existing payroll software to make the process as seamless as possible. Your payroll or tax management platform should support both the Form W-4 Employee’s withholding certificate and Form W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certificate (these documents are critical for calculating taxes).

To save time and stay organized, look for a payroll software that allows workers to view, complete, and accept required tax documentation via the app. Ideally the process will allow for electronic signature of documents and cloud file storage.

7. Timeclock automation

Time tracking is a necessary part of paying hourly workers. But if you’re still using paper timesheets or spreadsheets to track employee hours, you’re wasting time and money. Not only do manual timesheet processes create opportunities for mistakes (which can lead to over- or under-paying employees), they’re also a major time suck for managers and admins.

Automated timeclock tools make timesheet management a breeze. Look for a solution that allows employees to clock in and out via their mobile devices, as this will make it easier for them to track their hours—and for you to manage payroll. The best timeclock automation tools also offer features like geofencing, which can be used to ensure employees are clocking in from their assigned job site. This can be a major time-saver if you have remote workers or employees who travel frequently.

In addition, use a timeclock platform that integrates with your existing payroll software (or use payroll solution that offers timeclock capabilities). This way, you can avoid the tedious and error-prone task of manually transferring data from one system to another.

8. Employee records automation

Beyond tax documents, employers must collect information about their workers like personal identification, contact details, banking records, and more. You might also need to keep records of employee performance reviews, training documents, and benefits information. This can be a lot to keep track of—especially if you have a large workforce.

To streamline the process, use a tool that allows for the secure storage of employee data in one central location. Other features to look for include: e-signature capabilities, mobile access, and integrations with other HR or payroll platforms.

9. Benefits automation

Benefit management is an important HR responsibility and there’s a suite of tools available to make it easier. For example, you can use an online portal to allow employees to enroll in or make changes to their benefits packages. This same portal can also be used to manage claims and distribute digital ID cards.

When choosing a benefits management platform, look for one that offers integration with payroll providers. You should also make sure the platform you choose is user-friendly and mobile-responsive, as this will make it easier for employees to access their benefits information—and for you to manage benefits data.

You can also automate the process of administering COBRA benefits (which is required by law if your company offers a group health insurance plan). There are software solutions that will handle COBRA enrollment, billing, and payments for you. This can save your team a significant amount of time, as managing COBRA benefits manually is both complex and time-consuming.

RELATED READING: 7 benefits your employees actually want

10. Performance review automation

Performance reviews are an important part of the employee lifecycle, but they can be time-consuming to execute. From scheduling review meetings to collecting and analyzing data, the entire process can take weeks (or even months).

Fortunately, there are performance review platforms that can automate much of the process for you. These tools make it easy to collect data from employees, managers, and other stakeholders. They also provide templates and guidance for conducting effective performance reviews. In addition, some performance review platforms offer features like 360-degree feedback and goal tracking. These can be valuable for helping employees improve their performance over time.

11. Employee training automation

As technology evolves, so must your workforce. That’s why it’s important to offer training and development opportunities to your team. Not only will this help them improve their skills, but it can also boost morale and reduce turnover.

Fortunately, there are a number of online tools that can be used to assess employees’ skills and identify training needs. These tools can save you time by helping you target training efforts more effectively. These platforms often include features like quizzes and progress tracking, which can help ensure that employees are absorbing the material.

12. Expense report automation

Expense management has always been a frustrating part of HR. Employees usually need to manually submit receipts, fill out forms then wait for managerial approval. It can feel like a never-ending process, and research shows that “approximately one in five manual expense reports are filed incorrectly.” 

Automation enables you to digitize the expense management process where employees can upload photos of receipts from their device, while expense reports software automatically retrieves required data, including merchant, amount, VAT, etc. You can then verify the details and process expenses with one click. This eliminates human error, saves time, and gives companies an accurate spending overview.

13. Time-off and scheduling automation

Another time-consuming HR task is managing employee vacation days and leave. This includes everything from tracking time-off requests to ensuring that employees are taking the appropriate amount of time off.

There are a number of software solutions that can automate time off and scheduling for you. These tools often include features like an online calendar, where employees can request time-off and managers can approve or deny requests. Some tools also offer the ability to track accruals and balances, as well as to integrate with payroll providers. This can save your team a significant amount of time and prevent errors.

14. Offboarding automation

Offboarding is the process of terminating an employee’s employment with your company. While this is not a pleasant task, it is important to do it correctly. A straightforward offboarding process may help reduce the unpleasant aspect of workplace and employee separation. And, when managed correctly, proper offboarding processes also protect the company from potential legal issues.

There are a number of software solutions that can automate offboarding processes. These tools can help you collect the necessary information from employees, as well as to keep track of any outstanding items that need to be completed, such as equipment return. These tools often include features like exit interview scheduling and templates for separation agreements. They can also help you keep track of important documents, such as employee records and non-disclosure agreements. Automating the offboarding process can save you time and ensure that all of the necessary steps are completed correctly.

15. Workforce analytics

HR functions produce data around many aspects of a company’s workforce, and it can be difficult to make sense of it all. Workforce analytics can help you gain insights into your team’s performance and identify areas that need improvement.

There are a number of software solutions that offer workforce analytics features. These tools often include dashboards where you can see key metrics, such as employee turnover or benefits adoption. When it comes to workforce decisions, data should be your guide.

Run a more productive business with HR automation

At the end of the day, there’s no sense in taking care of tasks manually when you can implement purpose-built tools that automate the process. By investing automation tools across HR functions, you can reclaim time while removing tasks off and improving the candidate and worker experience.

In today’s difficult labor and economic environment, automation is more than a nice-to-have—it’s a necessity.

Want to automate payroll, time tracking and more? Let’s talk about Everee.