writes copy 10 Apr 2020

4 HR Automation Strategies for Small Businesses

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The single toughest part of building a business is hiring and engaging talented employees. All told, disengagement costs U.S. companies $550 billion per year.  

Hiring, retention, and engagement fall largely on the HR team. But what if you're a small business that doesn't have a formal HR department? It can be difficult to juggle HR responsibilities with marketing, sales, and everything else that comes with building a business.

HR work takes time. Collecting time cards, scheduling interviews, and following up with top candidates can eat up hours of your weekly schedule.  This is where automation makes a difference. Instead of handling all your HR responsibilities manually, you can pass on some of the burdens to AI and software tools.

To automate your HR work:

1. Centralize everything you can.

The first step to streamlining your HR systems is choosing the right software. Ideally, you should be able to handle all things HR in a single dashboard.

Many programs only handle payroll processing and taxes, but centralized payroll software solutions can do a lot of other things to keep you organized and compliant, such as:

  • E-sign and store your documents safely in the cloud.  
  • Manage benefits.
  • Onboard new team members.
  • Track and manage PTO.
  • Allow employee self service.
  • Track candidates, hiring, and employee performance.

Using fewer tools doesn't necessarily mean fewer capabilities. To streamline the way you work, think through each domain of HR, and look for good ways to minimize the number of programs you use.

2. Maintain an HR portal.

A human resource portal is a digital gateway that your employees can use to review and revise their personal information. When workers have questions about their contracts or company policies, they can visit the portal to find the answer themselves.

As you can imagine, an HR portal can take a lot of tasks off your shoulders. Make sure to include key documents and details on how to reach out if people need additional support. In turn, this reduces the number of emails and phone calls you have to answer.

The bottom line is that HR portals allow you to delegate a lot of HR work to your employees. That frees you up for work only you, as the business leader, can handle.  

3. Digitize and templatize your documents.

Once you have a digital home for your HR department, it's time to digitize and templatize your documents.

Going paperless increases productivity because it lets you quickly search documents. Handwriting documents, filing them, and misplacing them is tedious and time-consuming.

Instead of faxing papers, you and your employees can sign them online. Rather than have employees fill out a sheet, let them add their information into fields on a digital form. Don't distribute a memo by hand; create a single digital document that all employees have access to.

But don't stop there. One of the best ways to streamline your processes is by templatizing documents you use repeatedly. Identify the HR processes that your company does over and over again, like fielding vacation requests. If you can find ways to templatize them, you'll save yourself hours in the long run.

4. Keep tweaking your processes.

Automation shouldn’t mean stagnation. Fortunately, these tools can help you test out new procedures in low-cost ways.

For example, if your employees keep asking the same questions, compile the answers in a document and give them 24/7 access to it. Keep adding information and fixing processes until the software is doing most, if not all, of the work.

You can also build in feedback mechanisms for your processes. For example, you can use email automation to send out an onboarding survey to get feedback from new employees. You can use those details to refine your onboarding processes.

There's a lot of moving parts to manage in a small business, and there aren’t enough people to do everything. But small businesses have options. With the help of software, your small business can automate more than you think.

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