Why Digitize a Manual HR process? (& how to do it!)

Vivian Susko |

See why and how some of today’s top HR departments are upgrading manual processes via digital transformation.

As the battle for talent rages on amid the great resignation and regulations shift beneath our feet, Human Resource (HR) departments are being called to bat for business continuity. Now taking on a more proactive and strategic role in optimizing productivity, creating a culture of ethics, minimizing risk, and so much more, HR professionals are turning to technology— specifically, HR workflow automation— to transform manual processes into more efficient organizational operations.

But if you’re new to the digital transformation game, you may not be 100% sure about replacing your current software or processes, and, even if you were, where can you start? First thing’s first: let’s uncover the top five benefits of digitizing a manual HR process (with examples of how it’s done!)

When you automate an HR process, you can manage documents faster, with fewer resourcesManage processes faster, and use fewer resources

The greatest return you’ll get on your digitalization investment is time. When you replace inefficient, manual processes and paper forms with digital ones, you’ll see a significant reduction in errors and delays, driving substantial time and cost savings for the enterprise across processes like: 

  • Immigration management
  • Policy and procedures management
  • Employee onboarding 
  • & so much more!

Let’s take the latter, for example. With automated workflows, new employees can securely submit necessary onboarding documents— including tax forms employment contracts, non-disclosure and conflict waivers, shipping information for hardware, etc.— via online orientation forms, which will automatically trigger a shipment of orientation materials to their location (if the solution offers customizable escalations, that is.) 

On the back end, digital onboarding requests are automatically routed for proper review and approval. In addition, top HR automation software solutions will offer workflows tailored to any job type, automatically specifying the stakeholders necessary at each stage of the onboarding process. Solutions with E-signature integration can offer up to an 80% faster document turnaround. At the same time, centralized tracking and reporting provide a real-time overview of all onboarding workflows for better end-to-end control.

The result? Your HR team gets time back to invest in more strategic matters while successfully accelerating response times in new hire processing, building goodwill with stakeholders. (You can also expect this to pay off in the battle for talent down the line!)

Boost employee moral when you automate a manual HR process

Boost employee morale with faster, more precise request-and-response

Employees like being heard. Making it easy for them to request telework requirements, business-critical travel, performance feedback, and more can help improve company morale, while a digital audit trail keeps everything aligned for compliance internally. In addition, as requests are submitted and processed with far greater speed, approval or denial notifications can be automatically generated and sent to employees to minimize errors, delays, and costs further. 

What would one of these workflows look like? Well, you’d have the opportunity to leverage a pre-built template or customize it to fit your unique needs. If you were looking to allow employees to request business-related travel necessities, for example, the right HR automation software would contain embedded business logic, dropdown fields, and other features to capture the following information:

  • The primary purpose of the meeting or client name
  • Travel dates.
  • The Location for departure location, destination(s), travel route, and method
  • Risk/impacts of not traveling, including a negative impact on client/industry relationships, etc. 
  • Alternative options such as teleconferencing and local or partner representation

To get the most out of employee engagement, look for solutions that support suggestion management, internal communication, and employee satisfaction surveys with straightforward digital forms. It’s a bonus if you find solutions with integrations that keep everyone in the loop, so you don’t have to — for example, one that logs approved vacations on employee and departmental calendars, automatically sends alerts to Accounting, etc.

digitizing a manual HR process can help you stay ahead of regulatory changes

Stay ahead of regulatory changes

And speaking of customizable templates, be on the lookout for form design and workflow design interfaces that can allow you to customize documents and processes according to your unique business needs. In our ever-changing corporate landscape, this is critical for business continuity. 

Take the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. Capturing all employees’ health status and COVID-19 risk levels, including vaccination and testing tracking, would be time-consuming, risk-prone, and costly if done manually. By automating vaccination and testing programs, however, HR departments can track employees’ status through their HR/payroll systems so that anytime an employee updates information or completes a procedure, your digital information database is automatically updated. This not only provides ease of reporting (as well as less work) for human resources staff, but also allows for feedback from both employers and employees alike so you can optimize new processes and policies as regulations shift. Having a no-code solution that gives HR the power to DIY these kinds of forms means every unpredictable change in rules from the CDC (like a new booster) can be quickly added into the form and deployed in minutes, not months.

Get actionable insights on driving HR Compliance in a post-pandemic world.

Should you digitize a manual HR process? Well, it can help with secure storage of documents.

Secure storage and accessibility for compliance

Compliance costs skyrocketed across industries amid the pandemic, and today’s paper Form I-9s typically show a 76 % error rate. In addition to hurting brand reputation and performance, noncompliance is also proven to increase an organization’s risk of data breaches, cyberattacks, or insider threats. So, knowing that hands-on risk compliance processes are often inefficient and prone to human error, digitizing the process with a cloud-based solution is critical to securing sensitive information and ensuring business continuity. In addition, the right HR automation software will automatically archive workflows in the Cloud for secure storage and accessibility, making it easier to complete a successful audit should it occur.

Having your HR forms run through a centralized solution – instead of email and spreadsheets – gives your team peace of mind about compliance verification. All documents, assets, and agreements are stored in one repository. 

Plan for growth when you start to digitize a manual HR process

Plan for growth

Find out how your employees are performing, what’s best motivating them, and where to invest in your organization by leveraging a comprehensive digital database of analytics and dashboards. With cross-departmental visibility into performance metrics, gain actionable insight on bonus and promotion decisions, streamline and automate the performance review cycle with templatized forms, and save your HR team time as you scale. As you continue to grow, it’s critical to have a solution that allows for unlimited user access, and one that makes adding new workflows easy to scale with you across departments or entire organizations without having to switch to a new provider that fits your growing needs. 

A final note: We recommend looking for a platform that supports integration with a full legal suite, including matter management, contract management, and more. According to the 2022 PwC HR Tech Survey, one of the top challenges HR leaders report in technology projects is integration with other technology solutions. As more HR departments move towards a comprehensive tech ecosystem, we recommend seeking a consolidated platform approach that can scale as you do to maintain a competitive edge.

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