HR is one of the most people-centric business functions and works on attracting, developing and retaining the employees who help the business grow. To optimize the HR processes that extend across different geographies and that must meet with parameters of compliance, recruiting and rules & regulations, high-performing HR departments have been turning to technology. The initial big step was to move from conventional excel sheets to systems that could integrate with HCM suite, ESS portal and mobility.

One of the best candidates for robotic process automation (RPA) is HR function which work on well-defined steps and rules regardless of how complicated case it is and need to use well functional systems or processes. Most of the HR work is carried out manually on spreadsheet which makes it the best candidate for automation. Few tasks that can be automated are employee onboarding, manually keying in the potential candidate information from new hire excel reports into different systems, for example, requesting laptops/desktops, seat allocation and software licenses. Once automated, these tasks completion time will reduce to seconds from hours and reduce cost and manual intervention. In fact, it is much easier to make changes to the automated tasks than to manual processes and that too, without any probability of introducing errors. Also, it is easy for other teams and departments to adopt the process changes.

Candidate for HR process automation

HR professionals mostly think that any process automation with or without robotics will require IT and a considerable amount of human intervention. However, Robotic Process Automation is different as it is meant to be configured and leveraged by subject-matter experts outside IT. By implementing RPA, HR practice can look forward to improvements in their HR data management & reporting, HR process flow, functionality and employee experience. Some of the candidates of automation in HR like excel data entry, data changes, employee on-boarding, employee off-boarding, payroll processing and travel expense management can be easily automated with little IT effort.

As per the 2017 Talent Trends Report published by Randstad Sourceright, HR is now in the age of digitalization and transformation. 39% of thought leaders think that digital transformation of HR will have a positive impact on business, and 71% say talent analytics play a vital role in sourcing, attracting, engaging, and retaining talent.

However, one of the significant challenges that cannot be ignored by the HR department is that there are various technological skills required by the counterpart who would work with bots. Working with bots requires an interdepartmental approach. Varied skills are essential to working with bots and will have to be cross-trained; HR Professionals will need to know how to handle these various systems.

People working with RPA as tools need to understand not only functional but also technical details to an extent. Also, they need to have sharp analytical and problem-solving skills to analyze the challenges that appear from various angles. Working with robots might seem pretty hard, especially because both technical and soft skills are required. However, with the selection of right tool for RPA, the technical understanding requirement can be minimized to a negligible level allowing you to concentrate only on the functional aspect of the process to be automated.

Given the need for HR professionals to ensure smooth integration of men and machines, HR must also upgrade their understanding of technology and start engaging in constructive conversations with the technical team working on the forefront of this emerging new technology.