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The automation of business processes using workflow software has been one of the most important developments in business process management. And with technology developing at the same pace as it is today, this trend is only going to continue. HR workflow software is one of the main ways your business can benefit from business process automation, allowing you to track, improve and automate HR business processes.
What Is HR Workflow Software
A workflow is a process by which tasks, information or documents are passed from one participant to another for some action to be taken. In some cases, they’re implicit – it’s several steps that your employees have to take to reach some goal. Having it divided into workflows, either on paper or software, however, makes everything flow much faster and better, ensuring productivity and consistency in how the tasks are carried out. This is especially true in the case of the HR department, where missing a single step might be a setback for your business.
Plus, it’s easier to analyze and tweak the processes, once you have a good grasp of them.
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Settling for basic and cheap project or task management tools is the biggest mistake you can ever make. You get what you pay for. If you try to save a cent - you will lose a dollar. Wasted time (at $40/hour) is far more expensive than the cost of software. There's a huge difference between process management and project or task management. Processes relieve stress, make things predictable - and help you grow and become efficient. Projects and tasks are just ad-hoc, unpredictable chaos.
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Anyway ... sorry for the interruption! Let's resume the rest of the article.
There are three main different kinds of workflow:
- Sequential: These are the most common ones, usually seen represented in a flowchart because they flow sequentially from one stage to the next and on to the end without ever changing direction.
- State machine: These are more complex, usually dealing with ‘states’ rather than stages, thus they can flow in either direction if necessary.
- Rules-driven: These are sequential but are based on firm rules that dictate how the workflow progresses.
Implementing a software solution to automate these workflows offers plenty of benefits, which we’ll go into shortly. Doing this requires a lot of planning and careful analysis of the workflows and what the impacts of automation will be, including how to negate any possible negative impact.
As with any automation of manual processes, there also needs to be the right level of communication to discuss why it is being done. The benefits, However, almost always outweigh any potential issues, and very few – if any – business ever reverses their decision to go automated.
What Are The Main Reasons To Use HR Workflow Software
Of course, each business has its own needs and issues, so these can only ever be general benefits that may not always apply to everyone, but these are the main reasons why you need to switch to HR workflow software:
Better Employee Onboarding
The onboarding of new employees is a key aspect of every HR department’s function and a critical one. For the new employee, starting a job is a stressful time and one that can affect their performance and likelihood of staying at the company long-term, particularly if the onboarding process is problematic and gives them a negative impression of their new employers from the get-go.
It’s also a process that needs to be repeated often for any business with more than a handful of staff, so it’s clearly one that can benefit from the automation of HR workflow software. This can bring better consistency and accuracy as well the ability to disseminate the information around all departments that need to take action when a new employee joins, like IT and payroll. And for the new employee, it demonstrates slick and seamless efficiency from their first impression of the company.
More Efficient Employee Offboarding
Just as certain as the arrival of new employees is the departure of old ones, and while in theory, a business might care rather less about impressing a departing staff member, it still needs to be done in an accurate and efficient manner.
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Anyway ... we'll continue from where we left off above.
Without the right workflow software, you might end up missing a step or two, and this can be problematic both for the company and the employee. It might cause legal issues, for example, if you forget to have an employee sign a certain document. Using software minimizes the chances of anything going wrong.
Time Sheet Tracking
For any business that uses time sheets to manage and measure how staff resource is being used on projects, clients, etc, HR workflow software provides the best solution for how this can be done.
Using individual spreadsheets has always been an option, but these offer no consistency in how the data is collected or even whether it is consistently collected at all. And when it is collected, it’s the responsibility of the line managers or the HR staff to collate, validate or analyze the data. This means a lot of extra workload for them, wasting time they could be using to create better value for the business.
Using HR workflow software means that staff are all filling in the information in a standard manner, and are being reminded to do so on a daily basis. This leaves no room for error – it even frees up a lot of hours for the managers to better interpret the results of the data and take action.
Slicker Annual Leave Request Processing
Other than the reliable delivery of their wages, the primary concern for existing staff when it comes to HR processes is how their annual leave is processed. For some businesses, this still involves submitting requests by filling out paper forms that need to be inputted into computer systems manually in HR, allowing for errors and delays in confirming that can cause unnecessary stress when it comes to booking family vacations, etc.
This, in turn, can make your employees unhappy – no one wants to cancel out their family trip because of a technical mistake on the HR’s part.
Automating this through HR workflow software allows staff to request leave through a program on their desktop and have it signed off as soon as their manager gets around to it, with the resultant leave automatically added to both of their calendars instantly. There’s no room for confusion and everyone is able to plan ahead.
More Consistent Performance Reviews
Less popular amongst staff but still an important way of measuring staff performance and rewarding high performers, regular performance reviews are an essential part of the way many companies operate. They are also one of the areas that can most benefit from automation through HR workflow software because they need consistency in the way they are undertaken across the business.
Instead of using Word or Excel files that can end up in confusing multiple versions, utilizing software ensures that there are no mix-ups.
Notifications can be sent to staff and their managers for when forms need to be filled in and at the various sign-off stages, without needing anyone from HR to get involved unless there are human issues to be managed. As with all of these reasons, the software frees up HR staff time on top of delivering consistency and transparency in how these workflows are managed.
All the benefits above, in turn, end up helping the company bottom-line: significantly reducing costs and increasing value generated by the employees. Both of these, down the line, lead to much higher profits.