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Role of Automation in HR

Could you have imagined a few years back that information, entertainment or official work would be in your palm? Using a desktop to palmtop, and now a mobile, you can do everything from anywhere any time. Digitalization is making people’s life easy, and providing access to knowledge, undertake shopping, enjoy socializing on social media platforms, and get entertained with movies and other shows. Nowadays, you can visit office virtually, or have a customer meeting virtually, or even connect with your family and friends across the globe while sitting in the comfort of your home.  Technology has played the role of a catalyst in accelerating industrialization, and globalization of tastes and preferences.

An example of the change brought about in the banking sector is the digitalization of financial transactions, a change that has been quickly adopted by the Indian populace, whether literate or otherwise. Now, most of the financial transactions are done digitally without any hassle of paper work thereby reducing cost as well as time.  Besides being convenient, these financial apps are easy to understand and use, thereby resulting in appreciable increase in financial inclusion – from a big organization to a small shop-owner to a pushcart vendor, all use digital payment systems nowadays.

HR is rapidly creating an important place for itself in any organization. An effective HR strategy helps in rapid business growth, as people are the key driver of organizational success. Moreover, I can vouch from my experience that employee satisfaction is primarily dependent on the HR Department. Given this scenario, HR professionals should spend maximum time with the employees to ensure the best employee experience, rather than being lost in doing transactional work.

Some of you might remember the timekeeper of yore in the HR Department, who used to manage attendance records manually. Moreover, the salary was being paid either in cash or through cheque. This used to be a very tedious and time-consuming activity – the HR and the Finance teams had to slog during the first or the last week of every month. Now, managing attendance and payroll is done quite easily with the help of automation. Employees also get updated information as and when they need. Leaders can also check on the attendance of their team members.

The automation in HR first started with digitalizing of repetitive tasks such as attendance, payroll, employee database, and visitor management. Besides being recurring in nature, this involves handling voluminous data – it is important to manage this “big data” with confidentiality and accuracy, as well as ensuring that it had a long shelf-life. Once the authorization levels are fixed, reports can be accessed by relevant personnel in various departments for instance, team leaders can access these records for better decision making.

It is pertinent to note that entire life-cycle systems of employees can be automated – this typically starts from talent acquisition to managing separation.  HR can virtually do everything on such HRIS systems. Now digitalization has advanced to a level where one can effectively manage employee engagement, performance tracking, and learning & development activities. HR person or the team leader can check dashboard, strategize and plan growth activities as per the organizational needs.

Nowadays, HR can find good Artificial Intelligence (AI) based digital tools available in the market to manage end-to-end employee processes.  AI-based systems can help HR to predict/forecast quite accurately, thereby enabling the HR persons to take right decisions well in advance.

Big or small, most of the corporates are catching up quickly with technology and their dependency on automation is gradually increasing. During the current pandemic, we have realized the importance of automation when working remotely, say, from one’s home. All in all, I find that in this changing world, where technology has helped manage many of our tasks, HR roles are also changing accordingly. It is important that employees must move equally fast, learn new ways and to develop their capabilities.

HR folks! Be ready to embrace the digitalization for a better organization as well as a better you!