Today's HR teams are required to become increasingly strategic. The busywork, however, still exists, which is why robotic process automation is so promising.
RPA is software with AI and machine learning capabilities that handles high-volume, repeatable tasks -- typically rules-based tasks that are prone to error. Automating those tasks offers previously unavailable capabilities to HR teams. Implementing RPA in HR can help free up time for activities that require true human assessment and intervention, as well as time to train and hone skills.
Here are eight areas in which RPA can help HR teams.
1. Candidate sourcing and screening
RPA software can gather and review candidate resumes and profiles and assess those against job requirements to create a shortlist. Companies can define rules and requirements to guide which resumes and profiles are selected.
RPA in HR can contact selected candidates and schedule interviews. It can also notify potential candidates that they didn't get the job.
If a candidate rejects, cancels or doesn't show up for an interview, the software can then move to the next-best candidate and inform them that they have been selected for an interview, as well as schedule that interview.
2. Recruitment offers
Once a candidate is selected for a job, RPA software can use information about the job and the candidate to create a personalized offer letter. Once the letter is approved by the appropriate parties, the system sends the offer electronically to the candidate. Upon receipt of an acceptance, the software can then begin the process of onboarding.
3. Onboarding and offboarding
After a candidate has accepted an offer, RPA software can then trigger the process of onboarding. This can include creating and sending out onboarding documents, such as work eligibility, tax forms, benefit enrollments, instructions for the first day and company policies, etc. It can also provision system access and user accounts, as well as equipment and office space. RPA in HR can help book training, transfer tax and salary data to payroll, and initiate hiring data into the HRIS, among other activities.
As for offboarding, when an employee leaves, the RPA software can cancel system access and manage equipment return and resource reallocation information. End-of-employment compensation, benefits and redundancy calculations go through employment contract and HRIS data.
4. Compensation and payroll
RPA in HR is also able to help manage tasks related to compensation and payroll. It can make payroll changes, validate data, run payroll simulations, balance and reconcile payroll data, print checks and manage direct deposits, deposit taxes, and perform tax and compliance reporting.
5. Talent review presentations
For managers and HR professionals involved in talent reviews, RPA software can streamline talent review presentations. It does so by gathering and formatting the required data, then outputting presentation templates or setting up presentations in a company's presentation software. This is a real value-add for producing documents that are time-consuming and labor-intensive to create, yet are only used for a short period of time.
6. Expense and reimbursement processing
RPA in HR operations can also help handle processing and problem-solving required when dealing with expenses and reimbursements. For example, if employees submit expenses for items that are outside of the corporate policy or a customer policy, RPA can use rules to check expense reports for compliance to policies and for completeness of submissions. The software can then route for approval and automate reimbursement.
7. Data entry, upload and validation
RPA is an ideal way to review data change requests from a ticketing system and make appropriate changes in the HRIS, which can then route through the appropriate channels for approval. The software can check changes against compliance and organizational rules to ensure they are eligible and accurate; rejected changes are sent back to be updated or routed to HR for further review.
RPA can also automate data sharing between systems. Some processes require data to be uploaded into one system from another system. For example, think performance ratings for compensation planning or compensation history for variable pay processing. RPA software can automate the extraction of this data from the source system, transform it into the target system format and then upload the data into the target system.
RPA software can analyze data sets -- either directly in the system or by downloading or extracting data -- and provide audited results to HR for review and eventually correction, if required.
Companies can save considerable time and effort by using RPA in HR reporting. RPA can automatically generate reports, compile data from multiple systems and format reports. This is particularly useful for periodically generated reports for senior leadership that must be easy to read and presentable.
Despite the many benefits RPA can offer to HR, it's worth noting the human element in all of this. Although RPA can be used to automate many processes, there is always a question of whether it should be used. Responding to rejected job candidates or reviewing and updating an offer letter are areas in which a human touch can make all the difference to the perception of the action.