Automating HR procedures can help retailers to improve compliance, save dollars and boost productivity. 

HR processes are no longer seen as a compliance nuisance or a box that has to be ticked. Instead, organisations are rapidly coming to the understanding that excellent HR processes can lead to stronger employee engagement, which leads in turn to better performance by individuals. And, when all the individuals in an organisation are performing to their full potential, the organisation itself will become more successful. And it all starts with reliable, accurate, and strategic HR processes.

However, managing HR processes and compliance requirements can be time consuming, which means HR professionals have less time to devote to innovative and creative initiatives that can help improve employee engagement even further.

As workforces grow, these processes become even more time consuming and complex. HR staff must manage a broad range of workforce laws, awards, and health and safety requirements to name just a few. The risk of errors becomes greater, along with the risk of employees feeling like they’re just an insignificant number in the overall scheme of things.

If these processes are managed manually, then the sheer volume of paperwork can become overwhelming very quickly. Managing this paperwork can take over HR employees’ time until they have no time left for ideas that will help drive business growth.

The solution is to automate HR processes throughout the employee lifecycle. This includes hiring and onboarding, performance management, training and development, and records management.

Automation delivers clear benefits across many different organisational workflows and HR is no different. Three of the key benefits include:

1. Greater control

Businesses want a 360-degree view of their customers so they can provide better customer service. Similarly, an overarching view of each employee can help the business improve the way it manages individuals, getting the best performance out of each person. But, if employee-related information is stored in siloes, as hardcopies, in emails, or in folders on network drives, it becomes almost impossible to get the comprehensive view that the business needs.

By digitalising and automating paperwork, businesses can eliminate that complexity and confusion. With all records and paperwork stored digitally in one location, they become easily searchable and can build a more complete picture of the employee. This means HR staff can focus on driving proactive initiatives instead of wasting time searching for information.

2. Increased efficiency

Hardcopies can easily get lost in the paperwork shuffle. They end up at the bottom of a pile on someone’s desk or get stuck to other documents that are bound for the recycling bin. The result is that employees don’t get their annual leave request approved in time, or qualified candidates can’t start work or get paid, promotions don’t get confirmed, and more. When businesses have inefficient HR processes, it affects employees directly. They soon get disgruntled, which can lower productivity.

However, an automated process can eliminate these issues. Electronic leave and other documents that are part of an automated workflow get signed off faster and they can’t get lost. Triggers and alerts mean that managers can’t forget to sign off on requests, and the workflow means that the right person always receives the right documents for approval. This saves time, avoids errors, and lets people focus on their own tasks rather than administration. Importantly, it also means that employees feel they receive a better service from their HR department, which improves loyalty, happiness, and productivity.

3. Stronger security and compliance

Organisations with lots of sensitive information printed out on pieces of paper are ripe for information thieves. And, since HR documents include highly-sensitive information such as birthdays, salaries, performance history, and more, any unauthorised access could be devastating to the individual concerned.

Digitalising these documents lets the business exert more control over who can access them by using password protection to restrict access, and by ensuring documents are never left on printers or out in the open. Treating all documents according to compliance requirements protects employees and the business itself from information breaches.

Overall, automating HR processes can help businesses achieve performance improvements, increased staff loyalty, and higher productivity.

Nicholas Delaveris, alliance and partner director, Australia and New Zealand, M-Files