What Are the Positive and Negative Impacts of Automation in HR?

By Marianne Chrisos - Published on July 8, 2019
Positive and Negative Impacts of Automation in HR

Since HR automation was adopted by businesses, many companies have seen a positive impact. Still, like just about any business process or new technology, there can be pros and cons. For all the benefits of automation in HR, are there any cons? Here are some things to think about in evaluating the pros and cons.

What is HR automation?

HR automation can help with various HR responsibilities, from recruiting and retention to onboarding and training. The website Software Advice outlines some of the major recruiting automation benefits by saying automation will “automatically pull applicant information from a variety of sources, including:

  • The relevant job description
  • Social media profiles
  • Blogs
  • Professional contributions to forums
  • Accolades
  • Personality and skills assessments

By cross-analyzing this information with internal company performance benchmarks and the attributes of your current top performers, these systems can rank applicants in a number of ways that recruiters care about.”

While automation isn’t limited to recruiting, the automation process has a huge impact at the first step of the employee interaction – sourcing talent – all the way through the employee journey. Essentially, automation in HR can help align data better with the requirements of a business and help businesses understand all available data better, from recruiting to reviews.

The positive impact of automation in HR

Like most technology, HR automation programs have brought savings in both time and money to busy human resource teams. Reducing manual processes and integrating quality data analysis has led to better HR decision making and more efficient teams.

1. Better, more modern performance management

Modern business requires tools that support better reviews so that you can always get the best out of your employees. HR automation tool can track, measures, monitor, and suggest improvements for performance through a series of ongoing check-ins and ensure better communication between employees and managers.

2. Overall reduced cost

Most businesses who’ve initiated HR automation in their human resource processes have reported cost savings over time. Kissflow, an automation software company, reports, “Eliminating human errors and automating menial tasks reduces the huge cost factor associated with HR software” while Hewitt Associates notes, “Organizations save 10-20 percent in overall benefits and HR delivery costs with HR process automation.”

3. Better recruitment and employee experience

HR automation has, as mentioned above, significant benefits for most recruiters. Traditional HR processes often fail to engage new candidates and potential employees well enough, while automated software can help not only use data to find better-qualified candidates, but also support collaboration between management and HR and better monitor and track all recruitment and onboarding activities. Automating recruitment and onboarding processes using HR automation can streamline recruitment processes, shorten the onboarding period, reduce errors, and improve overall communication and efficiency throughout the entire process.

The negative impact of automation in HR

The potential downsides of HR include a less personal, more data-driven process, which some see as a disadvantage to unified company culture.

I. Initial costs

While automation in HR can help save businesses money in the long run through helping to assure quality hires and saving HR departments time and keeping the team on track and on budget, it can have a significant upfront cost associated with the setup and installation of new software systems and any associated training. This can be a potential disadvantage for small businesses especially. Pay as you go models can help you reduce costs by only paying for the features and data you need and scale up with time as your business needs change, but training and IT problems can still be time investments. It’s important to factor these costs when looking into your HR automation options. Do they have a solid reputation for user-friendly programs, or will you spend hours of lost productivity on the phone with a tech help desk?

II. Reduced subjectivity

An HR automation system is a great tool for gathering and analyzing information. A good system can provide feedback on employee productivity and value and objective data can be very useful for businesses across all areas. But too much objectivity removes some of the humanity from operations that are still very much people-centric. HR can get a lot of valuable information from automation in HR, but it can’t tell the whole story. The HR staff is still needed to encourage and assess cultural fit and other factors that help create the most successful, dynamic teams. Being able to measure an employee’s accomplishments can be extremely valuable, but it’s important that the process doesn’t become completely impersonal.

Automation in HR is a tool, which means how it’s used matters. It has the potential to help businesses strengthen their processes and improve areas of their department. It helps them make smarter decisions when hiring, training and reviewing, but automation is only an assistant to an overall process. Knowledgeable, skilled, and empathetic employees are still required to have the most effective HR department.

Marianne Chrisos | Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a company near Dallas and contributing writer around the internet. She earned her master's degree in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University in Chicago and has worked in publishing, advertising, digital marketing, and content strategy.

Marianne Chrisos | Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a c...

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