On any given day, business operations are busy and complex, demanding input and information from many different teams and systems across the organization. But it's hard to keep up and perform well when teams are stuck with manual processes. This is especially true when it comes to people management, which takes managing dozens of key processes every day, many of which may still depend on paper trails, manual data entry, and multiple human touchpoints.
Because manual work is slow, tedious, and prone to error, people management leaders have to devote more time and scrutiny just to complete everyday tasks, making it much harder for them to focus on higher-value initiatives like aligning to business objectives, attracting and retaining top talent, and optimizing employee engagement.
The inefficiency of manual work has now led many leaders to adopt automation technologies to speed up and streamline their processes. In fact, 47% of human resources (HR) leaders plan to increase their investment in automated and AI-based technologies, and for those who have already adopted these technologies, they’ve done so to optimize HR operations (40%), talent acquisition (38%), and employee engagement monitoring (38%).
Read on to learn more about workflow automation and some of the best practices you can use to adopt automation in your organization.
What is workflow automation?
At a high level, workflow automation takes otherwise complex processes required to run the business and automates them through the use of rules-based technologies — reducing or removing, in some cases, the need for human intervention. Workflow automation and process automation are effectively the same things, and the terms are often used interchangeably.
As it relates to people management, workflow automation applies to administrative and organizational processes. For example, everyday administrative tasks around payroll, taxes, time tracking, and scheduling, benefits administration, employee onboarding and offboarding, performance evaluation, and more can be automated for maximum efficiency and accuracy. Workflows can also be automated around specific roles in the organization to ensure the right person in the right role is handling the right task, whether it’s giving a quick approval or completing a series of steps.
In effect, workflow automation can help transform your organization’s processes by:
Relieving the administrative burden of repetitive, time-consuming, low-value tasks so team members can focus on higher-value tasks
Gathering, storing, and updating critical data and making it accessible to team members so they can perform their jobs more efficiently
Eliminating data entry errors by updating changes to records at all points and in all systems where the information appears
Routing tasks that do require human intervention to the person in the appropriate role to avoid workflow blocks and breaks
Helping your team adapt and adjust to changes in workload and business demands, whether expected or unexpected
Providing access to historical information so your team understands the impact of adjustments to various workflows and can make future decisions with more confidence
Best practices for adopting workflow automation
Adopting technology to move from manual to automated systems is increasingly necessary for today’s dynamic business environment. To ensure all within the organization are aligned with the decision, it’s a good idea to follow some best practices that can help you share your vision of how workflow automation can help streamline tedious organizational processes and implement a new system.
Here’s a basic three-point plan for adopting workflow automation:
Define how automation fits into your overall strategy. Maybe automation can be introduced incrementally over time, or maybe you need an all-at-once effort to make your people management function more effectively in your organization. Whatever the case, decide what the role of automation should be within your organization and develop a vision for it.
Come up with a few good use cases for automation. Think of specific pain points your team currently experiences and how the pain can be reduced or eliminated through automated processes. Specific use cases can help you illustrate your vision and make it real for those involved in the decision.
Find the right HCM technology provider. There are many providers in the market, but the right solution is one that’s built on a role-based architecture to ensure that workflows are built around specific roles in your organizational chart — not specific people. This helps avoid disruptions to workflows in the event of employee turnover.
Automation made easy
Automating and streamlining common organizational processes improves your team’s efficiency, accuracy, and productivity, and gives them the time they need to focus on high-value strategies and tasks. And with an innovative human capital management (HCM) system that dynamically defines, tracks, and updates roles within your organizational chart, you can determine which role(s) needs to be involved in any given people management process to mitigate the risk of breaking a workflow when employees change roles or leave the organization.
Are you interested in transforming your organization with automated workflows? Learn more about how SyncHR can support you with our efficient, accurate, and cost-effective workforce management solutions.
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