An efficient, well-organized human resources department is at the heart of any successful organization, managing human capital and fostering the conditions for success. In today’s fast-paced business environment, it can be difficult for HR teams to keep pace and maintain transparency and empathy even as operations become more complex.
Most people interested in getting into HR do so because they want an interesting, people-facing role where they can dabble in many different areas of the business. A good HR department is empathetic, proactive, and adept at handling interpersonal conflicts to ensure workplace harmony.
However, the team cannot prioritize these things if they spend all day trawling through spreadsheets. HR professionals are also responsible for transactional work, repetitive manual tasks, and data entry. If they are tied up in these matters, then they are not doing the more interesting, worthwhile work that drives organizational growth.
So, how can RPA improve operations in HR? We explore what RPA is, the benefits in HR, and how it can be applied to improve operations.
What is HR RPA?
RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. In simple terms, RPA is a software technology that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage software robots that can interact with digital systems and emulate human actions.
In finance, for example, RPA is used to automate invoice processing. In marketing and sales, sales teams use various automation tools to engage and communicate with potential customers. Even something as simple as how to transfer landline to cell phone can be automated, saving your staff time.
When we talk about RPA in HR, we are referring to the use of these software robots (or just “bots”) to automate repetitive, rule-based tasks within human resources operations.
By delegating these tasks to bots, the HR department can invest time and resources into tackling decision-based work to benefit the company, spending office hours in face-to-face interactions, and solving various issues at a human level.
So, let’s look at the features which make RPA so beneficial.
What Are the Benefits of HR RPA?
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Scalability and flexibility
RPA is easily scalable. Since it works by following preprogrammed procedures, the solution can simply be programmed again whenever changes need to be made. This means that it is easy to scale up or down in response to changes in workloads or demand. Cloud-based HCM (Human Capital Management) software like Paylocity allows an exceptional level of flexibility for organizations to adapt to changing business needs.
Accuracy and data integrity
RPA bots perform tasks with unparalleled accuracy levels. Moreover, you can pre-program RPA bots to reject inconsistent input data, making the entire process more accurate.
The use of RPA bots minimizes the risk of errors and maintains data integrity across HR processes. As a result, HR professionals can safely put their trust in RPA. It eliminates the need for human agents to check and double-check every field for errors, therefore allowing them to focus on higher-value tasks.
You can rely on RPA bots to be consistent. Like how an AI call center can provide customer service functions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—robotic process automation bots are programmed to deliver a flawless and error-free performance, with no need for sick breaks or absences. When it comes to data processing, this is a huge asset.
Efficiency and productivity
It is much more efficient to use bots to carry out repetitive processes than it is to assign them to employees. With less time spent on administrative tasks, employees can contribute to business goals by doing more varied, decision-based work to shape the future trajectory of the organization.
6 Benefits of RPA in Improving HR Operations
We know that RPA bots benefit HR because they are flexible, accurate, consistent, and efficient. Now, let’s look at some practical applications. How exactly can RPA improve HR operations?
1. Accelerated screening and recruitment
The recruitment process is often a time-consuming job for HR: sifting through resumes and application forms to find candidates best suited to the open position. The initial stages of this search are less about high-value decision-making and more about whittling down the number of applications until you’re only looking at a manageable number of viable applicants.
This is where RPA can help. Software robots can extract relevant information from a resume and compare the data to the exact job criteria. For example, say you’re looking for a new sales team member. With RPA, you can whittle down your applicants to any candidate who has used your sales enablement software with just a few clicks.
As a result, RPA bots significantly streamline the selection process, providing HR professionals with a shortlist of candidates based on predefined criteria. In addition to saving employees the trouble of looking through irrelevant application forms, this also leads to quicker hiring decisions which benefits the business overall.
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2. Streamlined employee onboarding and offboarding
Once a new hire is selected, RPA bots can also simplify the onboarding process. Onboarding is often a hassle for HR, as they are responsible for making sure everything is in place to welcome the new team member (or members) when they arrive.
Onboarding is not just about creating a welcoming atmosphere but also staying on top of all admin, generating new user accounts and email addresses, and granting access to apps, software, and essential data. If you were a new employee starting in a remote call center, for example, you would expect HR to set up your Dialpad virtual phone number ahead of your first day on the job.
Much of this process can be automated using RPA bots.
First, they can be programmed to email the chosen candidate their offer letter, policy document, and any other necessary paperwork. RPA can also automate the creation of employee profiles, grant access to systems, and ensure that the technical and administrative side of onboarding is handled smoothly.
Then, RPA can automate the process of reviewing which employees are eligible for certain projects, which team members lack certain qualifications, and which training needs to be administered to which new hires.
On the flip side, RPA is also useful for employee offboarding or exit management. RPA can deactivate accounts, ensure assets are returned, and process exit documentation to facilitate their departure.
3. Enhanced compliance and reporting
HR processes must adhere to predefined rules, regulatory standards, and internal policies. This can be difficult, as ever-changing labor laws necessitate constant adaptions in work structures and operations.
Ensuring compliance is often a tedious issue in any area of an organization, but it’s crucial to avoid compliance-related issues and penalties.
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Keeping compliance simple is key—don’t get lost in paperwork and bureaucracy.
For example, those working in the payment card industry might use a PCI compliance requirements checklist to make the job more manageable.
In HR, leveraging RPA may be the best way to enhance compliance and reporting. In addition to ensuring all safety, health, and welfare regulations are met, it can also monitor license expiration dates and effortlessly create compliance reports for the entire organization.
4. Automated employee data management
Employee data management is another area that can be improved with automation. Using manual methods of handling and storage, HR teams are often overwhelmed by masses of data—from hiring, payroll, applicant information, company regulations, and more. Cross-referencing between databases and checking for errors takes up countless office hours.
This is where data management from RPA can help improve operations. With this technology, users can automate all data management processes. This saves time for HR professionals while also ensuring a lack of errors when reading, synching, or copyrighting data. Less chance of errors also means less time spent on data troubleshooting.
RPA can also facilitate changes in employee contact information. Rather than struggling to move it manually and remove all traces of previous information, businesses can use RPA to automate this kind of process for maximum data integrity.
When data is managed by bots, it is compatible across multiple systems, further streamlining operations down the line.
5. Smoother payroll processing
Payroll processing is a perfect example of a repetitive task that should be handled by RPA. It involves a massive amount of data entry tasks even before an employee is onboarded, which are both time-consuming and subject to human error. The process is further complicated by changing tax rules, increasing reporting requirements, and technical issues.
Though tedious, processing payroll is one of those procedures a business cannot go without. If employees are not paid on time, then job satisfaction levels plummet.
RPA can handle data entry, as well as calculating salaries, deductions, and tax withholdings. It generates payslips with accuracy and speed—which is crucial to employee satisfaction and company loyalty.
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6. Optimized attendance and performance management
HR teams sometimes struggle to manage employee leave requests and attendance records—especially for employees in attendance management. Staying on top of legal requirements, expectations, sick leave, and overtime can be challenging.
Instead of handling leave requests manually, RPA can process leave applications, calculate leave balances, and update attendance data in real time.
When it comes to employee performance management, RPA automates appraisal processes, feedback collection, and data consolidation. Using RPA here improves transparency, simplifies the performance management cycle, and facilitates data-driven decisions around talent development.
The Future of HR and Automation
Robotic process automation is continually evolving, leveraging AI to handle even more tasks. RPA bots should not be seen as a threat to human jobs but as a valuable tool or a pathway to a revolutionized workforce.
RPA (robotic process automation) is a valuable tool for improving operations in HR. Its flexibility, accuracy, and consistency make it well-suited to a variety of processes that are tedious when done manually. With bots handling the bulk of the mundane work, HR departments can focus their talents on meaningful, value-adding tasks.