Automation-powered connections will help you be a better company

Photo by Israel Palacio

Human resource (HR) departments often have lots of information. There are many software solutions that don’t cost too much, which has led to a rise in how much information businesses can amass. Yet, much of this information doesn’t connect to other departments.

Many departments use popular cloud-based systems, but not always HR. This creates silos. The way to make sure businesses make the most of every piece of information they have is by connecting HR departments to the wider business, because the information HR has is far-reaching. Too often, we see poor connections between finance systems, CRMs and HR systems, and that’s only if HR systemises its functions at all!

There is real urgency in the need to move away from spreadsheets for holding core business information, and much to gain from getting on par with the rest of an organisation’s internal systems. This will help establish solid, game-changing connections that lead to more efficient business processes. But where to start?

Recognise the processes that already work

Knowing what you want to achieve as a business is a good first step in knowing what to connect and what to automate. Look at what you already have, look at what works and what doesn’t, then adapt processes to be more efficient. HR information is often well-structured, which makes it a great place to start with an automation plan. These are recruitment systems, middle management systems, payroll, and so on. They’re simple, yet often ignored as a potential opportunity for automation and more efficient workflows.

Many HR systems already have built-in automation, such as requesting time off work, expense claims, personal development plans, and so on. Automation also exists in learning management systems, so that skill gaps can be identified and appropriate training can be suggested from automatically generated reports. This sort of information could be routed to a business intelligence (BI) tool to help businesses make more informed decisions about strategic direction. A perfect connection.

While many HR systems offer great automation, the challenge for many companies is being able to integrate with other systems. Interdependencies revolve around quality of data, and how well systems are connected so that the information is shared to the company’s and employees’ benefit. Yet, recognising and establishing these early connections between disparate systems will help young companies scale faster. Automation is the perfect solution because it gets systems to talk to one another. But how can you go further by applying intelligent automation?

More intelligent answers to more intelligent questions

Looking after your workforce is important, such as retaining them, and nurturing their careers and personal development. HR also has to attract talent to the business. And then there’s onboarding new employees and going through the process of welcoming them, bringing them up to speed with how the company works, what its values are, and so on. New employees benefit from knowing where to find answers to questions.

Chatbots can help employees just as much as external customers. They can be used to answer rudimentary questions such as, “Where can I find our employee handbook?” Yet, imagine an automated system that answers queries such as, “How much holiday do I have left this year?”, or “How many sick days have I taken in the last three years?”, or “Where can I find information about this month’s salary?”. These are complex questions that require next-level intelligent automation.

You could reduce the workload of your HR department because they’re asked these questions all the time. They don’t have the time to do this, as they’re often an under-resourced department. With more time on their hands, HR professionals can focus on candidate assessment and onboarding, as well as many other important tasks.

When the chatbot is connected to everything the HR system is connected to, you’re able to answer more complex queries that stretch right across the organisation.

Make better decisions with connected, automated information

Connected systems help organisations produce fact-based decision-making processes. And when you integrate into decision-making systems, you have real-time information to hand. This helps companies make quicker decisions, and they can rapidly adapt to new business scenarios. This is ground-breaking stuff, and the more companies that commit to researching automation opportunities, the better.

With fewer administrators, you free up your skilled HR employees to work on value-adding activities that move your company forward, rather than tactical tasks that waste their time.

Many companies don’t realise how they can be more innovative. We hope this short article has inspired you to look at what’s possible by using HR as a case study in making better connections. Linked information is better than loose information. And if you can commit to trusting an automated system to do its job based on the information you feed it, you stand to reap the rewards of being a much better company because of it.

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