Have you seen those fancy robotic arms that pick and put stuff in factories? If yes, you have seen robotic process automation at work. While artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and IoT are attracting headlines in various publications, robotic process automation is another technology that HR practitioners should be aware of.
What is robotic process automation (RPA) and how will it work?
In simple words, robotic process automation can be defined as the deployment of robotic technology to automate various repetitive tasks. However, these are not your regular metal robots or androids that you see in the movies or even in magazines. These are more like a digital workforce that can complete most monotonous work, essential for efficient HR operations, but tire professionals endlessly.
RPA plays the same role as any other emerging human resource technology: Make HR operation faster and efficient.
The need for automation
The present workforce is more demanding than the previous generations. Candidates now expect quick answers to questions when they apply for jobs. Delay in responses, allows competitors to steal candidates.
Additionally, today a human resource practitioner is expected to do more—meet the needs of the current workforce, onboard new employees, mitigate disputes, uphold company culture, onboard employees, mitigate employee disputes, and the list goes on.
Point is – HR professionals have a long list of tasks to cover. As departments continue to grow the competition will grow. In this situation, companies should strive to identify tasks that can be automated and leave more cognitively demanding tasks to human resource professionals. After all, the premise of HR technology is to make people more productive.
The following are a few HR tasks that can be automated.
Finding the right match is always a challenging task. Talent acquisition specialists spend a significant amount of time flipping through resumes and scouring for information related to the job role. With the help of an RPA, traits and characteristics of the candidate for a job role can be made easier. Scanning the applicants’ data for necessary skills as required for the role can be easily done using RPA. What’s more, the result of this entire process should produce results the same as an HR professional would have produced if he/she performed manually.
Employee onboarding is an essential part of HR operations. Even though it is repetitive, it adds a lot of value toward candidate experience. Employee onboarding includes many steps including setting up a new hire’s payroll and benefits systems. This step can be easily performed by RPA bots.
One task that RPA bots are particularly good at is ‘swivel chair’ chair tasks. Meaning tasks that require the ability to access multiple applications to get work done. Tasks such as collecting data from one HR system and uploading to another, ensuring completeness of data, and compilation of reports are a few tasks that can be categorized as swivel tasks.
Payroll management is perhaps the most repetitive and monotonous task for HR professionals. Particularly because it involves a large amount of data entry. The repetitive and monotonous nature of the work makes it highly susceptible to errors. With Payroll, errors can be disastrous. Using RPA to automate payroll will reduce errors to zero. Plus, make the process much faster than manual operation. It will reduce the amount of time required to complete payroll.
Additionally, this will ensure that employees get paid on time, improving employee satisfaction.
Is RPA the final deal?
It may seem RPA is a perfect solution to automate tasks and increase the efficiency of processes. However, the supervision is still required to ensure that RPA bots are performing well without much assistance. Sure, RPA bots can perform most of the tasks assigned to them, but initially, supervision will make things even better.
That being said, the combination of RPA bots (HR technology) and experienced human resource practitioners is the need for organizations that are looking to transform their HR department.