Role of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in HR
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a workflow-assist methodology which employs the use of pre-built custom software, known as ‘robot’ to estimate, interpret and process various IT applications and enable data and communication transactions through various departments.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has built a name for itself within a very short span of time. In a survey of over a 100 Shared Services leaders conducted by Deloitte, all respondents agreed upon RPA being a “future solution”, along with 74% among them planning to introspect RPA technology immediately.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of HR operations by assisting them to operate faster and simultaneously keeping the operational and transactional costs low as compared to other approaches. There has been a considerable surge in interest of exploring the possibilities of application and deploying RPA-based process methodologies since the last decade. RPA-based deployments have reached enterprise scale while operating on an organization-level scale which includes HR, Finance, Operations and various other functional departments.
RPA is essentially driven by software applications called robots, which can be likened to a virtual workforce but without HR support. Due to tremendous financial benefits associated with RPA-based “robot” licenses as compared to periodical workforce expenditures, organizations have started to widely deploy RPA-based tools throughout their back-office processes and in various inter-departmental process flows. All these process chains have shown improved accuracy, timeliness and operational flexibility as compared to manual process workflows. Speaking on an average, deployed RPA tools are generally equivalent to the effort of about a few 100s of people when deployed on an organizational level. So all these factors have led to the global management experts considering RPA tools for organizational development and deployment.
Even though interactions between a human and a computer can be automated, repetitive and predictable processes are best suited for RPA applications to handle. Automation ‘robots’ reproduce human interactions with a UI-based application through a set of rules to perform business processes. The overall output results in improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of business process without changing any underlining systems.
Some of the prominent and immediate benefits of RPA applications are as follows:
- Improved throughput by decreasing cycle times
- Flexibility and scalability
- Improved accuracy
- Improved employee motivation which enables them to put in more effort
- Ample scope for innovation by focusing on customer satisfaction
- Improved data management methodologies
Adoption of RPA in HR
The requirement of having an efficient, productive and thriving skill-based workforce is indispensable for any successful organization in today’s world. HR departments have to take it upon themselves to beef up the skills and incorporate global transformation strategies through skills enhancement programmes into their workforce if they want to keep up with the changing times.
Those days are behind us when HR was mainly concerned with filing out the administrative duties and responsibilities of an organization, like payroll handling and checking attendance. Now the HR have taken a quantum leap straight into all strategic organizational domains, and are handling tasks that are crucial to their success. These tasks range from finding the right talent to handling workforce upskilling and development strategies, all the while imbibing loyalty and commitment while helping the workforce stay motivated and competitive.
Despite the strategic involvement, there are a considerable administrative data-related tasks that take up a lot of HR time which can be used on strategic management planning and other important discussions. It is these manual, repetitive tasks on which RPA-based methodologies are employed, thus saving a lot of HR time and effort.
Some of the prominent HR use cases wherein RPA has been deployed are as follows:
1. Candidate sourcing and shortlisting
RPA automatically gathers and compares all files and data with job requirements and other important parameters which normally took HR employees a lot of time going through individual resumes and applications for hiring positions.
2. Onboarding / offboarding
RPA tools automatically activate new user accounts for facilitate onboarding workflow, along with making decisions like assigning credentials and sending relevant onboarding documents. Thus RPA efficiently coordinates data from all departments to facilitate onboarding, and similarly offboarding.
3. Travel and expense management
RPA software tools make the process of travel management more automated and efficient by checking individual expenses and verifying them as against company norms, thus approving those which meet regulations. Issues like late submission, missing supporting documents etc. are handled effectively.
4. Employee data management
RPA tools effectively handle employee data including new and former employees, regulations, benefits etc. by eliminating incorrect entries and automatically updating existing ones. Along with the tasks of data cleansing, verification against updated norms and regulations are also kept up-to-date.
5. Attendance tracking
RPA robots cross-check and verify time-logged reports, interpret data patterns and report any conspicuous or abnormal patterns to the HR. Issues of absenteeism due to illnesses or any other incontrollable factor are also recorded and reported. This eliminates various human factors, especially “learned carelessness”, and maintains an almost error-free attendance.
6. Payroll management
RPA tools enable timely monitoring of payroll management duties by reducing the “human visibility issues” risk and decreasing waiting time, in an otherwise a repetitive and monotonous set of tasks. This avoids delayed payments and maintains employee morale and satisfaction.
7. Maintaining compliance
RPA tools maintain work compliance in accordance with local labour laws, taking automatic care of the most frequently updated aspects, which are rather difficult or too manual for HR employees to record and modify. Thus, leveraging RPA advantage in compliance management makes the process of change and modification smooth and almost seamless, thus making the organizations more competitive and goal-oriented in an advanced way.
The long list of advancement and better changes that incorporation of RPA has brought about in the corporate world makes it clear that those corporates have made the right decision and more if they want to expand their business and adapt to constantly changing socio-economic paradigms. RPA deployment streamlines repetitive processes and promises efficient and streamlined data management, thus keeping the workforce motivated and the organization a better place to work and grow.