Automating HR - 8 tips for smaller companies
I hate manual repetitive tasks that don’t add value to the work of our team. Unfortunately, in HR, there are many. In the past, we’d run around manually adding information on various HR systems, notify IT, update managers on recruitment stats, new hires, and the list goes on and on. That’s why we’ve been working on ways to automate these processes. Unfortunately, HR system providers don’t make it easy for us. The tools are often archaic and allow little to no integration options. However, there are systems that provide a cheaper and effective alternative to heavy HR enterprise software solutions. Outside of our own products, we use third party systems:
- Small-Improvements – for lightweight continuous feedback and performance reviews;
- BambooHR – a new generation HRIS tool;
- Taleo – a more ‘traditional’ Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
By selecting HR tools with proper Web APIs (Application Programming Interface) it allows us to regularly download data into our own database. From there, we automatically assign tasks to the appropriate person (using JIRA) and generate reports on our social collaboration platform (Confluence) with high level summaries, handy drill downs and warnings alarms.
These 8 automations save us an incredible amount of time:
1. Recruitment Stats, Don’t: run reports in your ATS → Do: display on a dashboard
Instead of pulling reports from Taleo in an ad hoc manner, we display all relevant, up-to-date information on a recruitment dashboard. Our database is automatically synced with Taleo and relevant information is displayed in our social collaboration platform Confluence, for example applicants at each stage of the process, sources, top referrers, and more. Now, we spend less time on compiling reports and managers have the information at their fingertips
2. Response time KPI, Don’t: browse through requisitions → Do: build a ‘Candidate Alarm’
We display a separate dashboard with candidates whom we failed to contact within our response time KPIs. Every day, our recruitment team browses through this list that identifies people whom we have forgotten to give a status update.
3. Visibility, Don’t: use a whiteboard → Do: create your Wallboard
We used to write down information on a whiteboard. Now an electronic wall-board keeps our team and the company up to date on the weekly progress. The wallboard shows the number of weekly hires, new starters, applicants per open role, as well as other pertinent HR data. It means that we now have real-time information, no more manual counting, and less risk of adding incorrect data when updating information
4. Onboarding, Don’t: send emails → Do: trigger automated emails
All new starters are set up on BambooHR which triggers an issue to be automatically created in our issue tracker. JIRA then sends an email to our SysAdmin team (to arrange IT and schedule IT induction); the manager (to advise them of the start date and other details); office admin (to order desks and Aeron chairs); and HR (to ensure their welcome pack is waiting on upon arrival). A standard report is then produced and sent to payroll.
This cuts down on sending a tonne of emails back and forth and is a great way to track progress and automate reminders.
5. Organisation charts & head-counts, Don’t: update manually → Do: auto-sync with your HRIS
Over the years we have created countless reports on things like headcount growth, years of service, organisational charts, retention and staff per location. Now it’s all neatly displayed on a dashboard and our charts are synced with our database that is updated from BambooHR. This means our team can focus less on updating lists and more on HR.
6. Staff recognition, Don’t: have a manual process → Do: keep process online and without restrictions
Atlassian’s wiki dashboard highlights the company’s peer-to-peer staff recognition ‘Kudos’ program. By highlighting the importance of peer recognition a culture of sharing and thanks is fostered.
We’ve set up a simple JIRA workflow, so any Atlassian can give their colleague ‘Kudos’ for a job well done without management approval, and with no limit on the number to be given out. ‘Kudos’ requests are submitted through JIRA, that sends an automated email to HR who arrange the recommended gift (<$50) and a handwritten ‘Kudos-card‘. This has resulted in an outstanding number of over 25 ‘Kudoses’ awarded by staff each week.
7. Performance reviews, Don’t: update your performance review system → Do: make systems talk to each other
During our overhaul of our performance review process, we started using an ongoing feedback and performance review tool called Small-Improvements. To facilitate staff reviews, the system automatically pulls information from Confluence and JIRA including recent 20% projects and ‘Kudos’ nominations. Also, staff data and reporting lines are automatically synced with the latest data on BambooHR. This means we no longer have to update these systems separately. Love it!
8. Induction, Don’t: use an online induction tool → Do: use a Wiki
New employees use the wiki for their induction checklist to acquaint themselves with their company in a far more dynamic way than traditional online induction training.
It saves us from updating out of date or irrelevant information in printed booklets, videos, or tailored induction systems. The wiki allows simple linking to the most up-to-date company information. It also means that there is zero cost involved with reprinting or recreating documents if policies change.