Article: The Clarion Call for automation in the Indian HR ecosystem

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The Clarion Call for automation in the Indian HR ecosystem

Taking a lesson from the customer experience playbook of the 2020s, the HR function must start responding to the needs of every stakeholder by achieving operational excellence with automation. In a two-part article, we explore the need to have right HR automation.
The Clarion Call for automation in the Indian HR ecosystem

Over the past few years, digital transformation initiatives touched workflows across every business function, and HR remained no exception. However, in 2022, businesses have realised that many lacked the right long-term view. Today, there is much more room for improvement than HR teams realise within their siloed solutions. According to a BCG report, 81% of companies have the potential to advance the digital maturity of the HR function.

However, a PwC report indicates that the HR transformation agenda is clearly defined at only 25% of organisations. 

Knowing as we do that the risk of failure of transformation initiatives falls between 70% and 95%, this figure is concerning. More so, when the HR leaders are already battling with a slew of challenges that they have never faced before – including, but not limited to, hiring and retaining Gen-Z workers, battling with the Great Resignation, and ironing out the folds of hybrid workplaces that are yet to attain adequate maturity. In this landscape, the HR function cannot risk accommodating manual workflows, primarily when the human of human resources must be focused where it is needed. 

The new role of HR in today's workspace is not that of payroll processing, attendance verifications, leave processing, or performance tracking, but that of experience design, according to 96% of businesses. Despite these alerts sounding from all sides of the HR ecosystem, digital maturity, at best, remains below the baseline across most organisations. Automation of HR workflows is yet to see widespread adoption, and HR teams are yet to be liberated from what their bot counterparts are doing today at more successful companies.

HR on the manual mode

Letting HR workflows run in manual mode is not without risks. But before getting to that, it is worth understanding why these manual processes cost organisations more than they imagine. To that end, look at the day of Glory, an HR manager at a midsize company.

Glory is taking a WFH day as it happens to be the last working day of the week at her company. Upon signing in to her email, she sees that a developer, who expressed apprehension towards the upskilling program, handed in their resignation last night. Moreover, a payroll error has led to a rebuke from a few employees, and a newly onboarded marketer hasn't been able to log in to an Ad account in the last two days. To add to the schedule of her last working day, she must review and forward the billable expenses of six employees, which are long due, to the payroll team and ensure that they are cleared by the end of the day.

This was not a rough day for Glory; this is what every day looks like for her. Sounds relatable? Such situations are simply the symptoms of HR workflows that are running in manual mode. While the developer could be kept happy with a personalised upskilling program, automated payroll would never let the due date for billables come that close. The newly onboarded marketer had missed an item on a checklist of 30+ items on a Google Sheet which could be replaced by digitised onboarding

Maintaining the status quo is detrimental to the business

It is not hard to see that if Glory continues the way she has been working, she will soon be dealing with issues that have significant consequences for the business. Take a look at some of them:

  • Lost time: HR managers will continue to lose valuable time processing payrolls, writing emails, drafting offer letters, scheduling meetings, and addressing onboarding queries. 
  • Lost money: In addition to costing the productivity of HR managers, manual workflows will lead to costs arising from inaccuracy and lost productivity of other employees.
  • Attrition: Unable to meet the needs of every individual employee, the organisation will start losing precious talent and spend 15-25% of the worker's salary on hiring a new one.
  • Talent quality: Unsatisfied workers will switch to 57% of those organisations constantly working to improve the employee experience.
  • Non-compliance: Errors in addressing changes in labour laws will attract the consequences of non-compliance.
  • Stagnation: The organisation's growth will flatline as HR teams cannot meet the demands of bigger teams without scaling their own headcounts.
  • Performance: Without oversight of employee performance, the organisation will continue to function sub-optimally.
  • Culture: The inability to focus on strategic issues like inclusivity and the attrition of diverse employees will deteriorate organisational culture.

Automation is gaining momentum in the HR community

It is not just these downsides providing the impetus for automation in HR. Organisations are also coming to realise the urgency of designing employee experiences that delight from day zero to exit, consequently driving human efforts to where they are needed. That is why leading organisations like Max Life Insurance, Mahindra & Mahindra, Apollo Tyres, and top performers from nearly all industries are vigorously pursuing HR automation.

In the second part of this two-part article series, we explore the different ways HR automation can be truly beneficial for your organisation. Read it here

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Topics: HR Technology, #Automation With HROne

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