Recent data from CareerBuilder found that nearly 75 percent of employers expect that some HR roles will be completely automated within the next 10 years.
And we think that’s totally awesome.
But before you go clicking back to our home page to figure out just what kind of monsters we are or slam your laptop shut—just hear us out.
Yes, HelloSign is on a mission to power the future of intelligent business. No, that does not mean we want to laugh maniacally while petting a creepy feline (Dr. Evil, anyone?) while you and your entire department are replaced by AI-enabled machines.
Work is a place you should feel empowered to learn, grow, and make important, impactful decisions—not a place where you dread pushing papers around for hours on end.
And that’s why we’re so happy the rest of the world is finally realizing the secret to empowering workers—and the businesses they keep alive—to reach their full potential: HR automation.
From Paperwork to People: The Evolution of HR Automation
Since the dawn of time…Just kidding. HR doesn’t go back quite that far.
It’s believed that the concept of HR originated in 1901 at the National Cash Register Company.
After a difficult strike, the company president called for a “personnel department” to be established to improve worker relations by dealing with grievances, safety, legislation that impacted the company, and other “employee issues.”
And with Henry Ford’s reported turnover of 380 percent (don’t feel so bad now, do ya?!) in 1913, it became pretty clear that such a department was absolutely necessary for many organizations.
But just like Ford’s early automobiles—so, so much has changed over the last century.
In this age of digital transformation, there is absolutely no need to manually calculate payroll, manage timesheets, file thousands of W-4s, enter data into several disparate databases, remind your CHRO to sign something, or do any of the hundreds of other low-skill, repetitive tasks that HR has become responsible for.
And it’s not at all matter of being lazy or simply not feeling like doing these things. With the developing research on the power of HR metrics and the true cost of misaligned onboarding—the need to empower strategic HR is stronger than ever.
Hit the road, menial tasks. Ain’t nobody got time for you anymore!
Wait, That’s a New One: Understanding Strategic HR
The concept of strategic HR is as straightforward as it sounds: going beyond admin duties to apply HR principles and practices to business strategy and support organizational goals and outcomes.
As it stands, fewer than 20 percent of HR practitioners are considered strategic partners in their organizations. How can this happen when they’re immersed in the kind of data that can provide revelations about their workplace on a daily basis?
It can, and does, happen because they’ve got their hands full with the full-time job of maintaining administrative tasks. But many progressive HR departments aren’t happy with this status quo any more.
Strategic HR departments want to make a difference. They want to become partners in influencing the fate of their organizations. However, they cannot do that without HR automation to take certain tasks off their hands and give them back the time they need to think, plan, and act with purpose.
How to Use HR Automation to Empower Business Strategy
HR automation is the process by which smart technology learns to complete repeatable, data-centric HR tasks. It’s employed by digitally-transformed HR departments in all kinds of businesses to help improve the efficiency of their document-heavy workflows that traditionally suck up lots of time between distribution, collection, data entry, remediation, filing, and so on.
There are many ways an organization can use HR automation to free up and empower HR professionals so they have the time and info they need to make valuable contributions to overall business strategy.
Reduce Turnover Cost and Stress with Better Onboarding
Onboarding a new hire typically requires them to spend their first few hours—maybe even days—on the job filling in tons of forms, signing agreements, and dealing with a variety of other repetitive onboarding paperwork.
Did you just fall asleep reading that? Well, think how your new hire feels.
People perceive onboarding paperwork as tedious and unpleasant because we make them think about it too hard. And when they’re forced to think about it, it becomes a dreaded chore.
In fact, turnover can be as much as three times higher with manual onboarding compared to automated onboarding.
I mean, people really don’t like onboarding paperwork! So why not make it almost mindless for them by setting up HR automation?
Starting well before a new hire’s first day in the office, send a welcome email that links them to an automated workflow, not a bunch of PDF attachments.
If you’re using an intelligent workflow content automation tool such as HelloWorks or HelloSign, the user will immediately begin a guided, frictionless process in which all they need to do is enter a few keystrokes of relevant info.
With HelloWorks, any data a new hire enters into a field will auto-fill in matching fields, so there’s no redundancies like there are with traditional forms. Conditional logic ensures only the most relevant information is requested while data validation helps eliminates human error in real time.
Before they know it, onboarding paperwork is done and out of the way for your new employee’s first day on the job—greatly increasing their productivity and empowering them to integrate with your culture from day one.
Just take a look at Instacart for a real-life example. They were growing rapidly when they hit a huge snag: Fewer than half of contractors were able to complete their onboarding paperwork in a reasonable timeframe and attrition was becoming too high to keep up with demand.
So they enlisted HelloWorks to develop a holistic, mobile-first workflow that accelerated onboarding paperwork completion by nearly 300 percent.
Implementing HelloWorks’ HR automation solution didn’t just solve their contractor onboarding crisis, it ended up saving the Instacart team more than 50 hours every single week.
And after their collaboration with HelloWorks, we’re proud to report that Instacart feels they’re well on their way to their goal of reaching 80 percent of U.S. households by the end of 2018.
Prevent Data Breaches Using Digital Trails and Security
Automated HR workflows can automatically create trails at every step in a process by attaching information such as date, time, owner, and other data to completed fields.
These data trails make it easy to track when certain actions were approved and by whom—building ownership and transparency right into your everyday workflows and ensuring compliance in the case of strict industry or government regulations and audits.
In addition to being more traceable, data within digital workflows is inherently more secure than that which is stored on paper that can be easily accessed and destroyed.
HelloWorks builds stringent, bank-level security measures right into all of our HR automation software so your data is always safe. Our documents are stored behind firewalls and are encrypted at rest using AES 256-bit encryption. We even comply with Privacy Shield and eIDAS and are backed by AWS backup recovery.
Waste Less Time and Money with Efficient, Effective Workflows
The beauty of HR automation is that you can configure your workflows in whichever ways make sense for your organization.
If a document or form requires collaboration and review, you can set it up so that the right people see the right items in the right order. Each step requires some kind of indication that it’s ready to move forward and you can even build in reminders. Say goodbye to the frustration and rework caused when someone decides to give their feedback in the final hour or accidentally misplaces important documents in some stack of papers somewhere.
And once the right data is collected, HR automation empowers you to actually use it instead of having to painstakingly copy it from a PDF or paper document first. With smart HR automation, data that’s entered on a form or document can be immediately imported to matching fields in the databases and third-party tools you use.
Consider how much time and money HR could save just on enrolling employees for healthcare insurance if a smart workflow reduced tens of pages to a 5-minute digital questionnaire, caught human error right away, only collected extremely pertinent information, and didn’t require a human to spend a single second manually re-entering data.
Scale Infinitely Through Consistent Data
The rise of the gig economy has seen the need for fast, efficient, and smart onboarding while digital transformation has empowered companies to compete on a global scale.
What does that mean? HR departments are trying to do a lot more work with fewer resources and more variables. Practically the only way to scale is with HR automation.
Danish grocery wholesaler Dagrofa is over 250 years old. But when it came time to drastically scale up hiring for their retail, logistics, and food services segments as well as over 650 grocery stores—they knew only a modern solution would do.
"With the HelloSign API, processes and contracts are more efficient with almost no errors,” said one of partners at Dagrofa. “They're completed faster, employees are better onboarded, better trained, and the advantages are amazing: positive ROI in record time, less paperwork, less hassle, and it's even environmentally friendly."
The loss of efficiency and data accuracy at scale is one of the biggest factors that prevents companies from growing into their full potential or causes them to crash and burn once they try.
But HR automation is infinitely scalable, so the data that’s used to inform overall business strategy remain consistent at an rate of growth.
Because of that, Dagrofa was able to trust HelloSign’s HR automation solution to create their entire onboarding journey, which includes:
HR automation allows HR professionals to geek out on creating the efficient and effective workflows that they (not so) secretly love. We would never want to see that taken away. But what HR automation also does is create freedom for any HR professional who wants to transcend desk jockey status to become a strategic partner in their organization.
HR is a lot more than paperwork—it’s smart people with access to tons of data and the kind of minds that know how to use it. When they’re empowered to adopt HR automation, expect to see company-wide goals met and improvements achieved when it comes to reducing turnover, making data more secure and usable, saving time and money completing the necessary document-heavy workflows, and scaling infinitely.