Intelligent HR processes

Intelligent HR processes

How we concentrate on the essentials thanks to standardised and automated HR processes.

Intelligent HR processes

By Anja Buser and Giacomo Telesca

How can I complete a task in the most efficient way possible? What is often lovingly referred to as a routine in everyday life is actually nothing more than a string of processes. Just as your coffee cup is filled after your shower but emptied before you brush your teeth, then placed in the dishwasher after you tie your shoelaces, before you take your keys and finally head to work, grabbing the freshly delivered paper on the way. To make sure this morning routine works in 25 minutes, multiple factors have to run smoothly: you have to have coffee and a clean cup, your keys have to be where you expect them to be, and your paper has to be delivered on time.

The list is endless, and lots can go wrong. But all the factors slot together and run like clockwork. We therefore have an efficient process that lets us sleep longer and only use 25 minutes for our morning routine. Now, only very few people really look at their morning routine, writing it down in a process flowchart and optimising the process in a structured manner. Why should HR do it then?

Easy: alongside efficiency, good processes can be perfectly tailored to employee needs, laying good foundations for digitisation and creating an understanding in the team for other people’s work. That’s exactly why we love optimising HR processes.

Defining and optimising HR processes

From a defined process, we understand a range of interdependent tasks, the purpose and point, transfer and implementation of which are clearly defined by roles, rights and tools. It now makes no sense to define, write down and optimise each of these hundreds of HR processes.

One simple way to prioritise a process is to look at its frequency and complexity. Complexity can be established using the following questions: how many people are involved in the process, how many steps are involved in the process, and what interdependencies are there?

What is the approach for optimising HR processes?

The following five steps can be used to optimise your HR processes.

  1. Brain storming and prioritising: employees often recognise themselves which are the most important processes and which need to be optimised as a priority. If this isn’t clear, a brain storming session on existing processes is recommended. The graph above can be used to prioritise processes.
  2. Define targets:this is where things get fun. The current situation is established and the target process is defined in interactive workshops with plenty of different tools.
  3. Clarify important elements: before implementation begins, you should clarify what’s important and ask the following questions: is the process legal and GDPR compliant? Can I portray the process with the tools available to me?
  4. Implement process: it’s time to make the process reality.
  5. Measure success:4when you optimise a process, you should make the effort to discuss measurable success factors at the very beginning. For example, you have to define how you want to measure employee satisfaction with the onboarding process or how much time HR spends on data mutations. This is the only way to find out if you’ve improved a process.

At the end of the day, the strategy is no different to how you approach your morning routine. You consider the optimal target process from getting up to leaving the house. You consider the important things, like if you can programme your coffee machine the night before. You then implement the defined process and measure daily success by looking at the clock and your own satisfaction.

Do I really need software for efficient HR processes?

To have efficient processes, I don’t necessarily need software. Similarly, software does not mean that processes with be efficient automatically. An inefficient process will remain inefficient even after being set up using software.

Software can, however, help me automate certain steps. For example, I can automatically start the onboarding process as soon as ‘new hire’ has been selected in my recruitment tool. A contract draft is created automatically, the employee receives an automated email with a request to please check their data and provide more if necessary.

What opportunities are there to digitise processes?

In general, there are three different software solutions to choose from:

  • Dedicated HR process software: these tools have been specifically developed to thoroughly digitise HR processes. One example of this software is UKG HR Service Delivery.
  • Fragmented HR process software: these tools can often be used to digitise parts of a process. One example of this would be recruitment or performance management tools like SAP SuccessFactors or Haufe Talent management.
  • General process software: these tools are often built into existing sharepoints or can be applied to all possible processes within a company. Examples are Nintex or Leanix.

With all software solutions, it’s important to ensure integration into the existing system landscape so you can make use of all the benefits of your chosen software.

Employee experience in HR processes

An important aspect often forgotten in process design is how employees feel during the process (employee experience). Onboarding is a great example. The classic aspects of joining a company are often the only ones considered: creating a contract, collecting key data, requesting documents. Ensuring that employees feel integrated and welcome is neglected. It is essential that HR becomes an active creator of positive experiences. Read more about this in our blog The Importance of the Employee Experience.

Digitalised and standardised processes bring structure and focus. This allows HR to concentrate more on the essentials and invest the time gained in a future-oriented and strategic manner.



HR Strategies, HR Campus

Anja Buser

Anja Buser's day-to-day work as an HR strategies consultant involves analysing complex situations and portraying them in a simplified way. Where processes are concerned, she realised that many HR departments concern themselves with exceptions and minor processes instead of first prioritising the processes that actually require review. She wanted to shed light on a method that would make life easier for HR.

HR Consulting, HR Campus

Giacomo Telesca

As an HR consultant, Giacomo Telesca has for many years been looking at how HR processes can be automated and digitalised. He likes visualising customers' HR processes with them, identifying superfluous loops and optimising these process stages. He has already helped several HR departments to restructure their processes to make their daily work easier.

Published: 17. November 2020

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