Everyone wants to get more done in less time, but too often employees rely on manual processes that limit efficiency and diminish engagement.
While productivity tips such as those based around nutrition or resting are helpful, HR professionals can really create value for their organizations by implementing automation tools in both their own department as well as advocating for employees in other departments to have the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently. No amount of brain food can change the fact that filling out paperwork by hand, for example, takes more time than using a digital platform fill in the repetitive parts automatically. And adopting automation technology helps in several ways.
For example, the time-saving aspects of automation enable HR pros to then spend their time more valuably such as meeting one-on-one with employees to discuss career development goals, or simply freeing up other employees’ time on HR-related tasks so that they can then spend more time on their core job responsibilities. Yet as it stands, the lack of automation of repetitive tasks like office supply requests or contract approvals is costing U.S. companies an average of over $13,000 per employee per year, according to a study by Samanage.
Additionally, automation can also directly improve employee experience through the elimination of boring, repetitive tasks, thereby helping HR pros achieve their goals such as boosting employee retention.
So in order to help employees across an organization, HR professionals need to embrace automation technology that already exists and prepare for the advent of more developments in this area.
To get on board with automation, follow these three tips:
1) Question Roadblocks
If your organization isn’t already embracing automation, question why that’s the case by talking with employees at all levels. Roadblocks could take the shape of managers fearing the cost or junior employees fearing that automation would replace their jobs. Whatever the roadblock may be, ask questions to discover the truth and know what needs a solution.
For example, if employees think they don’t need automated accounting software, ask why that’s the case. If they think they can do as good a job manually as any automation tool, question whether they’ve made mistakes that have caused them to have to spend more time fixing the errors. This does not need to be done in a belittling way, but rather in a way that helps employees understand how they can work alongside automation tools to more efficiently complete their work and focus on the value that they bring.
In fact, an MIT study found that manufacturing workers actually preferred to have a robot decide how to allocate work rather than the other way around. So once employees start working with automation tools, they might start to get over prior roadblocks and become more efficient and satisfied.
2) Dive Into Detail
Develop a list of tasks that drain time, ideally using data that shows how much time goes into various outcomes. If you don’t know where your organization’s inefficiencies lie, then you won’t know what to improve.
And if you don’t yet have the data needed to take a deep dive, there are digital and even automated time trackers that can help employees see where their time goes so that they can work together with managers to develop a plan that focuses more on high-value activities.
3) Research Technology
With detail on time inefficiencies, your organization can start to find actual solutions to these problems. Many of the most common issues already have some sort of automated tool that can remedy the problem, so it’s important to do some research to find the technologies that can help.
For example, if employees spend too much time on paperwork, whether it’s filling out HR forms or scrambling to find and organize contracts and invoices, businesses can use automated document management tools. Or if they’re spending too much time on scheduling, they can turn to artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled virtual assistants.
By following these three steps, HR pros can start to automate tasks that do not add value, and the human side of HR can be utilized even more by building relationships with employees, rather than spending so much time checking off tasks.
Plus, by adding pieces of automation now, your organization will be more prepared as the future of work shifts more towards these types of tools. Working with AI solutions will become more natural for your company, so you won’t have to play catch up, and instead you can attract and retain talent with a company that has its eyes on the future.
About the Author:
Gaurav is a forward thinking tech entrepreneur with experience in investing and building start ups in US and Asia.
One Paper Lane is a SaaS enabled digital platform helping companies of all sizes to automate business processes, providing the freedom of a digital paperless office.