Automation is a crucial trend in the HR technology space right now. It's opening up many new opportunities for businesses to optimize their processes, save time and drive efficiency, but it's also fueling concerns over humans losing their jobs to robots.
It's down to employers to show their staff that automation shouldn't be viewed as a threat and can actually be a positive force in the workplace. One particular area where this concept can deliver positive outcomes for the business and the workforce is employee onboarding.
Automation and HR
Research has shown:
- 37% of workers are worried about losing their jobs because of automation
- More than 25% of jobs in the US are experiencing high levels of disruption due to automation
- The number of operational industrial robot jobs is rising by 14% every year
While it's understandable for employees to worry about automated processes taking over some aspects of their jobs, there's also a strong argument to be made that these technologies can help people work more efficiently and expand their skill sets.
Nearly seven out of ten workers have said automation will give them the chance to qualify for more highly skilled work, according to the International Federation of Robotics, while 57% of organizations say the main goal of automation is to boost worker productivity and performance.
As far as HR is concerned, software and technologies designed to take some of the manual work out of vital processes like onboarding can make your entire operation smoother and more reliable.
Why you need a good onboarding process
Onboarding is your opportunity to get your employee relationships off on the right foot, which is essential if you want to build lasting, mutually beneficial connections with your staff.
A good onboarding process helps to ensure that new members of the team make a comfortable, positive start to their working life in your organization and receive all the information and support they need to settle into their role. It also supports new recruits as they get to know the people they'll be working with and your company culture.
Over the long term, this can lead to valuable benefits for the business, such as strong workplace morale (which fuels productivity), lower staff turnover and improved retention.
The benefits of automating your onboarding process
Considering the importance of onboarding as an element of the employer/employee relationship, it's worth considering how automation could help you optimize and improve it.
Here are some of the most valuable benefits you could achieve by automating your onboarding:
1. More time for your staff
If routine tasks and manual processes are being handled by technology, the human HR experts on your team will have more time to focus on those elements of onboarding that software can't do. That might include having frequent face-to-face catch-ups with new employees to see how they're getting on, or hosting introductory training sessions that help people get to know the company and its working culture.
2. Fewer errors
The core procedures involved in onboarding - like sending contracts to the relevant people to be signed and making sure new employees have access to the right accounts and apps - are crucial to get right. Mistakes in these areas can lead to wasted time, a diminished employee experience and, at worst, serious compliance risks. A key advantage of automation is that it takes the danger of human error out of the equation.
As well as being more reliable and less prone to errors, automated onboarding systems can carry out some of the basic tasks involved in onboarding much more quickly than your human workers. This helps to drive efficiency and frees up your staff to focus on other activities that make better use of their skills and experience.
Once you find an approach to onboarding that works for the company and your workforce, it's important to make sure it's applied consistently for all new members of staff. This helps to ensure that everyone gets the same start to life in your company and has full access to the right information and opportunities. Since automated systems function on the basis of a defined set of rules and parameters, you can be sure they’ll provide the same onboarding experience to every employee.
If you're receiving negative feedback from new joiners or you're struggling to retain your most valuable employees, you might decide to make some changes in your onboarding workflow. This could prove difficult if you have to retrain staff or explain why you're asking them to take a new and unfamiliar approach. If your onboarding is automated, however, you have complete control over how the process runs and the freedom to change it where you see fit. This could prove to be a vital benefit, especially if the business decides a new HR approach is required to appeal to a new generation of job candidates.