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Is HR Automation Good or Bad for Business?

Automating Human Resources Through Technology: Pros and Cons

As anyone can see – who has studied the evolution of business, software, and the cloud – automation is the new lifeblood of competitive corporations. While it’s easy to see the benefits of automation in certain areas of business, areas like human resources are a bit more difficult to analyze.

The Pros of HR Automation

HR is often viewed through a cloudy lens, which prevents organizations from dealing with it in an appropriate manner. While it might sound a bit clinical on the surface, people – just like money, equipment, and software – are, in fact, resources. They’re the most important resource a company has, but they’re resources, nonetheless.

By automating HR, many worry that it will make people obsolete. This is far from the intended goal, though. It’s doubtful that it would ever happen. Businesses will always need people in HR. The objective of automation is to make things run more smoothly.

Having said that, here are three benefits of HR automation:

1. Less Paperwork

Perhaps the biggest benefit of HR automation is that most (if not all) processes become virtualized. This significantly reduces the volume of paperwork and leads to lower costs, less physical storage, and greater visibility.

It also ensures all your paperwork is confined to a single location (virtually speaking, of course), which makes it easier to search for and find individual documents, as well as specific information within those individual documents.

2. Better Efficiency

When the majority of your HR processes are streamlined through an automated platform, greater efficiency is a given. Your HR employees are allowed to spend more of their time focusing on high-touch tasks that require personal intervention, while menial administrative tasks are dealt with automatically.

3. Lower Cost

Less paperwork and greater efficiency naturally leads to lower costs. While you may have the option to shrink the size of your HR department, most companies decide that there’s still plenty for them to do. Either way, their time is better spent, which saves your company money.

The Cons of HR Automation

Is automation the perfect solution to enhancing the way businesses deal with human resources? Far from it. As with any new technology, there are risks and negative factors. Some of the potential downsides include:

1. Privacy Risks

Privacy risks are a huge concern at this stage of the game. HR automation software is getting better, but isn’t quite where it needs to be.

“In spite of federal and state laws providing legal protection for privacy in the workplace, if your HR management system is accessed by unauthorized individuals, your team’s personal information may be up for grabs,” HR consultant Michelle Reynolds notes.

2. Lack of Human Touch

While automating most tasks is fine, there are times where HR automation makes certain processes feel a little “cold.” There’s a noticeable lack of human touch that’s difficult to overcome. It’s typically not a major issue, but you’ll notice the shift in the early days of implementation.

3. Down Time

Any time you’re dealing with a computer or software system, you always risk technical difficulties – some of which result in downtime. A down network can handcuff you and prevent your business from doing the work it needs to accomplish. While you can mitigate risk by choosing solutions with a history of reliable uptime, the threat always exists at some level.

Alignment and Optimization is the Answer

Want to get the most out of HR automation for your business? The answer is to strategically implement carefully researched solutions and to focus on proper alignment with your existing technology stack – all the while optimizing for maximum efficacy.

In other words, HR automation isn’t something you plug in and put on autopilot. It requires a hands-on approach to be successful.

More Stories By Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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