When Should You Automate an HR Task? Here’s a Framework that Can Help

Automating 80-90% of your tasks helps your company run profitably; while automating 100% of them strips away the meaningful human connections that fuel employee satisfaction and productivity.

This begs the question: How do you decide what to automate and what to do yourself? You can use the following as a general rule of thumb: 

For any firsts, lasts, changes, or anything that makes you nervous, perform at least part of the work yourself. If a task doesn’t meet this criteria, you can automate it.

To help you put this into action, I’ll walk you through a few examples.

1. Provide Human-First Employee Introductions 

According to research by Gallop, only 12% of employees believe that their company does a great job of onboarding its new hires.

You can increase the chances that your organization is part of this small percentage by incorporating personalized elements as part of the employees’ onboarding workflow.

For example, here at Workato, whenever a new employee joins the team, their hiring manager sends a company-wide message in Slack that introduces them. The message not only includes details like the new hire’s role, but it also explains why they’ve been brought on and what some of their hobbies and interests are. This organically prompts colleagues to respond with friendly messages as well as leave questions/comments regarding the new hire’s interests.

Related: A look at how we onboard new hires and support our team

2. Highlight Any Personnel Change with an Individualized Touch

Whether an employee gets promoted or moves to another team, their transition is likely well-earned. 

You can help celebrate the employee’s accomplishment through a well-thought out message that reaches the entire company. For instance, if an employee (we’ll use the name Kendra) is moving from a content-focused position to a digital marketing role, your message can read something like: 

“After three years in Content Marketing, Kendra is stepping into a role in Digital Marketing. She’s thrived at creating content, and feels ready to both apply her writing chops to and learn new skills in her new role.”

Even when an employee moves to another company, you should aim to deliver a heartfelt message that highlights the impact they’ve made and thanks them for everything they’ve brought to the company. 

By celebrating employees’ career journeys within and outside of your organization, you’re not only making them feel appreciated, but you’re also showing the rest of your organization how much you value each employee.

3. Communicate Important Org-Wide Changes Empathetically

Broadly-implemented changes can take various forms, from adopting a new work-from-home policy to readjusting how employee evaluations are performed.

No matter if the change is seen as a positive or negative one, you’ll want to handle each with compassion and care. When possible, try to explain all the reasons that led you to a certain decision, and even offer your own feelings about it.

Your employees might not always agree with you, but they’ll respect you for being honest and transparent.

Automate the Rest

Every employee-focused process can benefit from some form of automation.

Onboarding employees? You can automate the process of provisioning applications by building workflows between apps like Workday, ServiceNow, and Slack.

Offboarding employees? You can also use interconnected workflows between apps like Workday, ServiceNow, ADP, NetSuite, and Slack to seamlessly and securely de-provision employees’ access to applications.

And what about everything in between? You can use day-to-day automations that allow you to streamline end-to-end processes for any full-time employee, like PTO requests. 

So automate the rote administrative tasks, and do the work yourself when the situation calls for it. Once you’ve nailed this balance, you’ll be rewarded with happier and more productive employees.

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