The expectations placed upon HR continue to grow - digitise, improve employee journey and engagement, attract more and better talent - but your budget doesn’t. You and your team are dedicated to the mission, but you’re so mired in administrative and transactional tasks that there’s never enough time for the strategic thinking required to get ahead of the curve.
Robotic Process Automation (aka RPA or “bots”) may be the solution you’re searching for. Bots can be strategically deployed to simultaneously reduce costs and free up your team’s time and attention. RPA can interact with the myriad ofTiny systems your team is transferring data between on a day-to-day basis, meaning you can digitise the employee journey and create capacity for your colleagues to focus on the future needs of your business.
RPA is taking off. Over 50% of multi-billion dollar companies use RPA today, and that number is expected to rise to 70% by 2020 and near 100% by 2023 (source: Deloitte LLP). With successful companies implementing bots in a matter of weeks and seeing ROI within 12 to 18 months, it’s an effective, results-driven process.
However, for every successful project there is one that fails to achieve its objectives. What is more, even the companies that are successful often stop their progress after implementing only a handful of bots. Read on to ensure neither of these outcomes happen in your business.
Along with our partners, R-Path Automation, we have developed a 4 stage approach to de-risk RPA introduction and maximise the benefits derived from it. Take a look at the implementation framework:
Pilot - Low cost, low risk way to validate the concept and get everyone on board with automation
Task automation - Build a core constituent of supporters and create a solid foundation for your RPA program
Process automation - Use automation to improve core processes that drive key business objectives
Business transformation - Utilise the technology to perform at a new level and transform your business
To put this into practical terms, we have developed an example of how you could automate an employee on-boarding process, based on one of our customers. This should provide some insight into how the first three of the implementation framework stages can be used in Employee Journey automation:
The initial on-boarding process, without RPA, required a great deal of manual effort, wasting the time of any business’ most precious commodity, people:
Site Managers email Branch HR with resource requests
Branch HR searches for applicable terms and conditions and accepts the request (Site managers then interview for the position)
Branch HR requests background checks and assess the results
Branch HR puts together an offer letter and sends it to the candidate and assess the reply
HR Shared Services creates a contract and sends it to the candidate to sign
HR Shared Services then initiates a number of service requests including setting new recruit up on HR systems
Payroll and rewards
And security, time and attendance and personal computing via Site Management
So how can this process be improved with RPA? Here’s how...
Analysis of the process highlighted that the earlier tasks in the chain would need human judgement even after automation. Therefore the first automation area is creating a contract and sending it to the candidate using:
Standardised contract templates
Bot to “build” a contract from the templates and send it
Just this one task automation delivers a worthwhile ROI and is useful to explain the concepts to other internal stakeholders. The measured ROI allows a more comprehensive business case to be built.
Many of the on-boarding service requests were standard for the majority of new recruits and needed no human input.
Automating these “low hanging fruit” tasks delivers increased benefits, allows expansion of the business case and increased awareness of the positive effects of automation.
The focus can now move from simple efficiency savings to reducing the time from resource request to the employee being equipped to begin their work. There was a history of losing good candidates just because the original manual process took too long.
This requires a re-think of the whole process: moving to an automated pipeline and only reverting out of the pipeline for staff to deal with exceptions or escalations. The target is to keep these diversions to below 20% of cases.
The process was re-designed and simulations were run to ensure the new design would meet targets before automation, using the Signavio process modelling and simulation software.
Success in RPA enabled re-engineering of the on-boarding process, achieving both cost savings and reduction in attrition of potential recruits, positions HR to help drive RPA-enabled transformation across the company.
Initially HR may view RPA implementation as a technical undertaking and the domain of IT. However, the real benefits of RPA come from embracing it as a strategic resourcing tool - freeing up humans from repetitive manual tasks (such as creating service request tickets) to have more time for value-added activities, such as interviewing candidates and employee development. This requires careful management, to ensure that employees who are freed up from automated tasks are actually spending their time more effectively.
If this thinking is applied across a company, true transformation can be achieved as human resources are used more effectively innovating new products, increasing customer satisfaction and disrupting their competitors.
If you’d like to learn more about the RPA opportunity across your employee journey and HR’s role in RPA-enabled business transformation, please contact us. You can also register now for our breakfast event at the Gherkin with partners R-Path and Signavio on 9th July 2019.