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HR automation: 4 good reasons to use it
Kimmo Salmela · October 31, 2022
The high turnover of workers during recent months has put a lot of new pressure on staffing and human resources (HR) companies. In the meantime, we keep hearing about “skills shortages” constantly in media and policy debates about jobs and the economy. And as if this was not enough, it seems that work has gone at least partially remote for good – and so have talent acquisition and employee onboarding, which adds to the complexity of the recruiters’ work.
To answer the new challenges, recruiters are increasingly looking at advanced recruitment automation software as a solution. They find it in specific Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs). These can boost productivity and decrease costs – even without sacrificing that all-important personal touch in the talent acquisition cycle. They also support fully online recruitment.
According to ATS supplier Bullhorn, automation increases the position fill rate by as much as 64%, with recruitment agents able to increase candidate submissions by 33%.
What are the key functionalities and improvements behind these impressive figures? Let’s take a closer look.
1) Win time by eliminating repetitive routines
Automation allows recruitment agents to get rid of repetitive routines that eat up a lot of their time and slow down talent acquisition. Instead, they can concentrate on the more rewarding tasks that add more value.
Creating the numerous documents involved in the recruitment cycle makes a good example. They come in the form of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), job descriptions, employment contracts, welcome emails and so forth. Often there are also procedure descriptions and employee handbooks to make the new employees’ onboarding effective and smooth.
These documents can be automatically generated by adding an app designed for the task in the ATS.
There are even simpler tasks where the HR automation comes to its own with little effort needed in the software deployment: filling in forms, entering appointments in the calendar, adding notes and sending out actionable alerts of tasks to colleagues.
Or as it is seen at Byner, a supplier of a Salesforce-based ATS:
“In daily practice, many companies still use different systems to fully cover the process from contract to invoicing – and even do parts of it by hand. By cleverly designing and automating processes you can achieve so much in terms of productivity, compliance and data intelligence.” – Martijn Goedmakers, Account Executive, Byner
2) Let artificial intelligence scan your data
And then, artificial intelligence (AI) is also available to automate staffing tasks. What about using it to comb through the applicants’ records and shortlist the best candidates? This saves a lot of time and effort for the recruitment agent.
Automation works in the opposite direction here, too. The resume/CV parsing function can map applicants’ CV or resume contents automatically to the fields in the ATS, reducing human effort and mistakes.
“We are now fully in the driver’s seat. With the same team, we have significantly increased our productivity and the level of quality we offer our customers and professionals.” – Twan Swinkels – CEO, Pitt-IT
3) Increase customer retention with smoother onboarding
Indeed, according to Human Capital Institute, 20% of new hires leave a job to pursue a different opportunity within 45 days of starting. Meanwhile, companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%, said Brandon Hall Group.
And no wonder we get figures like these; the average new hire is expected to complete 54 activities during their onboarding process, reported Sapling HR. No doubt each one of them will greet with joy each task that is less.
When it comes to the recruitment agents’ side of the work, think about companies that operate in multiple countries. These can all have different languages, employment laws, market dynamics even industries. An ATS can be configured to automatically adjust to varying wage levels, employee benefits and other conditions, not to mention switching between languages and eliminating the need for human translation.
As a result, the turnaround is faster – and the elimination of possible mistakes comes as a bonus. As our customer Randstad pointed out:
“Incorporating automation into this aspect of your HR function means you don’t have to worry so much about the various administrative tasks and paperwork involved, so you can focus on the human element of helping new hires settle in. This puts you in a better position to avoid some of the most common onboarding mistakes.
4) Serve the talent well – because that will serve YOU well
Communication with the applicants is perhaps the most important facet throughout the talent acquisition cycle. Bullhorn just reported that two out of five Gen Z applicants had abandoned an opportunity between application and interview, while one in three had given up before even submitting an application. Indeed, the majority (85 percent) concurred that the entire job search and placement process is outdated.
Moreover, out of 2,000 candidates, poor communication was the main reason to frustrate talent in the recruiting process.
Therefore, it makes sense to ditch as many routines as can be automated and, instead, use the time saved to communicate more with the applicants – and customers, too!
But that is not all: automation can make communication itself easier since many of the tasks are standard steps that can be done by the ATS workflows. Good examples are keeping candidates updated about the status of their applications and sending welcome emails.
The key is to blend human and automated interaction. In the latter, personalization is the best way to ensure success. So it pays to take care to ensure that all key databases can feed the automation with the details of each applicant. Keeping contact with the applicants at frequent intervals matters equally much, so their enthusiasm and trust will not be lost.
“We now have one central cockpit related to customers, suppliers/partners, professionals and contractors… Our entire core process… is designed and developed to enforce a desired digital way of working.” – Dennis Kauwenbergh, Manager Operations, LINKIT
Keep your data clean and staff competent
And, as was implied before, an important prerequisite for success is to ensure that all integrations between databases work without hiccups. All applicant data needs to be available for the agents and software, to ensure that the best candidates are easily found and the agents can know them well enough to engage them in fruitful communication – even when the messages are automated.
And, finally, it is crucial to ensure also that all staff is well educated to use the ATS and the related tools – so that all data will remain clean and can be put to the best use.
Kimmo Salmela is a communications manager at Documill. Earlier on, he worked in several industry and solution marketing and communication positions at Nokia. Now Kimmo focuses on online collaboration technologies and their future prospects for businesses.
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