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HR Automation Tools that Can Help You Save Time and Money

Learn how even small companies can create more efficiencies with automation tools.
An HR manager working on the computer

As businesses begin to return to work post-COVID, many will turn to new technologies to get back on their feet and potentially reduce expenses. In fact, a recent poll* of 300 U.S. businesses showed that 23 percent are likely to permanently adopt new technologies to help support remote employee communication, enable work-from-home arrangements, and support permanent flexible employee work schedules. Additionally, 1 in 4 businesses polled specifically noted they plan on using technology to automate HR functions such as payroll, benefits, and time tracking.

On a general level, HR automation can help reduce costs and increase efficiencies by streamlining the processes involved in time tracking, payroll completion, travel and expense management, and recruiting/applicant tracking. Here are important considerations for adopting HR automation technology as you begin to rebuild your business in the aftermath of COVID-19.

What is HR automation?

Any of the basic HR processes that involve repetitive, manual activities have the potential to become more efficient with automation. The programming of administrative tasks allows professionals to focus more time on critical job functions such as strategic planning and serving the company's employee base. Successful HR automation integration can contribute to process improvements and workplace efficiencies that save money and allow the department to make a greater contribution toward reaching overall company strategic goals.

How can HR automation help your company?

HR administration automation allows for companies to provide a consistent stream of information to employees about personnel and compensation matters. For example, rather than asking HR professionals to respond multiple times to similar questions or explain the same processes over and over, automation in the form of an employee self-service platform allows workers to access information when they need it. This frees up HR professionals to apply their expertise in areas such as conflict resolution, hiring strategy, or the analysis of potential new benefits programs.

Features to look for in an automated HR tool

When choosing an automation tool, you should be aware of the capabilities offered and how your company will use them for HR process optimization. According to the most recent Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, HR departments that adopted HR application software used it more frequently for record-keeping, time and attendance, and performance management. When evaluating potential tools, features to look for include a user-friendly interface and the ability to pair new tech with existing systems. Analytics and reporting capabilities can also increase the efficiency of decision-making and help to identify personnel trends within the company that need to be addressed.

Benefits of HR administration automation

When properly implemented, the automation of HR processes can bring quantifiable cost savings for companies large and small. In today's fast-paced business world, reliance on tech allows companies to respond faster and implement new strategies to respond to changes in their market. Some examples of automation and the favorable impact it can have on HR processes include:

  • Improved productivity due to faster processing of job applications
  • Reduced human error associated with employee data input
  • Accurate tracking / maintaining of compliance data
  • Reduced printing/storage costs of benefits communications
  • Increased/better analytics leading to better human capital management decisions

HR processes that can benefit from automation

Each individual HR process should be evaluated for potential improvements. Measuring the ROI associated with a proposed automation project can demonstrate the impact on HR and the company as a whole. Comparing expected ROIs between projects can help determine where the highest value may be achieved. Some of the most commonly automated processes are as follows:

Benefits administration

Benefits administration takes a significant amount of work, from interfacing with employees to managing communications with vendors. Determining the potential ROI from automating benefits administration requires taking several factors into consideration. For example, how many new hires do you have each year? How many benefits carriers do you have and how much communication do they require? How many employees are eligible for benefits? What is your average annual number of terminations? Finally, what's your average hourly compensation for the individuals who handle benefits administration? This data can be amassed and analyzed to determine how much your company could save by automating this important process.

Time tracking

Time and attendance software make up the foundation of a wide range of internal processes, from managing schedules to processing payroll to reporting for compliance issues. Managing these processes manually is incredibly time consuming and opens you up to the potential risk of errors. By looking at a number of elements, including the number of hourly employees, the average compensation of hourly employees, and pay periods per year, you can begin to understand how this particular HR process optimization could save both time and money. Additional factors to consider include average minutes lost per employee, calculation errors each pay period, and how much time is spent per pay period managing time cards.

Hiring and onboarding

To avoid missing out on job applicants whose skills are in demand, an automated hiring process can identify top talent faster. Expedited hiring processes help companies remain fully staffed and manage through periods of growth. Once a new employee is onboard, orientation and training materials can be distributed through a learning management system. Answers to frequently asked questions can also be supplied online in case an employee wishes to look back on something after their first overwhelming days at a new job.

Performance management

Automating performance management makes it easier to evaluate employees based on similar scales throughout the company. When reviews are stored online, data can be pulled from an automated system to identify top performers or those in need of additional on-the-job support.

HR automation for small business

HR automation for small business can help ease the administrative burden of entrepreneurs in areas such as employee hiring and management. The work required to create job descriptions, screen candidates, and bring new employees on board can be automated in order to streamline the hiring process. This allows small companies to find and employ the right job candidates quickly when new hires are needed to help with business growth.

With many cost-effective applications available, small business HR process optimization is achievable at a manageable cost. Companies should take the time to research options and find the best products to fit their processes. Technology isn't an area where entrepreneurs can afford to fall behind; it's essential to think about the impact of automation on HR for small business early on and continue to seek out ways to make this part of the business more efficient.

What's next with HR automation

In today's tech-reliant business world, automation tools are becoming more essential, even for smaller organizations. The workplace continues to evolve as new methods of automation make daily processes more efficient. As more reliance is placed on technology, employees may face shifts in their job responsibilities, offering them a greater opportunity to meet future demands of the market. When properly implemented, automation tools can help bring quantifiable costs savings for companies large and small. If your company could benefit from additional automation of human resource functions, it pays to research out the most current resources, services, and workplace solutions.

*Paychex polled 300 randomly selected U.S. business owners with 2-500 employees. The survey was administered online by Bredin, a third-party research firm, between May 1-4, 2020, and yielded a +/- 5.66% margin of error.

 

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