HR processes hold your business together. Whether it’s about taking care of the essentials such as time off and onboarding or getting into more complex issues such as payroll and benefits, HR automation will ultimately help you run your business and make it successful.
But getting it right takes time and practice. Let’s have a look at what essential HR processes you should seek to automate for your small business or startup.
What is automation for HR processes?
Automating your HR processes means you’ll get to free yourself from manual processes by setting up an automated workflow.
In a few words, it will help you deal with your current workload by simply handing it over to software that does it for you. Instead of, for example, having to chase people to remind them to complete their onboarding tasks, you’ll get to assign them a list of things to do with automatic reminders.
That’s just one of the many examples of what you can do with automating your HR processes, but when it comes to small businesses or startups, how do you find out where to start?
What are the main benefits of automating your HR processes?
When considering whether to switch from manual to automated HR, it’s important to keep the benefits of reducing your HR admin in mind.
Save time and money
Clear and streamlined HR processes are key to building solid HR foundations for your business — but manual and repetitive tasks can easily slow you down.
Once you’ve got the right HR system to automate your admin, you’re free to focus your time and resources on building HR policies or refining your recruitment process – areas that will be supported by the foundations you set in place.
And if you don’t have an HR background yourself, getting software will definitely be cheaper than building an HR department to deal with all of this.
Ensure a consistent experience across the business
When refining your HR processes, you need to ensure they are consistent across the company and they reflect a certain level of professionalism.
However, startups and small businesses can struggle with this – their HR processes then tend to look a bit scrappier than they ought to be.
With automation, even newly founded startups can:
- Streamline all their HR processes and build automated HR workflows
- Give new hires a good first impression of their company
- Create habits within the company, so that their HR processes become second nature
All in all, HR automation can help small businesses become more efficient and build a good reputation with employees, candidates and external stakeholders.
Make data-led decisions
When you’re running a small business or startup, you’ll likely have tons of ideas on what changes to implement, but when it comes to decision-making, a lot of difficulties can get in the way.
More often than not, startups and small businesses struggle with a lack of data: how do I know which policy to implement first? How do I find out what my team members want from the business? Do I really need to implement flexible working?
With software, you’ll be gathering useful data all in one place, in a format that is easily digestible — so you’ll be able to confidently make the right decisions for your business.
And if you're still not sure what exactly that means, perhaps you should have a look at our HR automation tips guide.
What are the 3 HR processes you should automate for your business?
A lot of things can be up in the air when it comes to HR processes at your small business or startup.
It can be difficult to streamline all of your workflows, and it often becomes more about putting out fires one by one, when you could get HR automation tools to solve all your problems in one go.
To make it a bit easier for you, we’ve identified 4 HR processes that can help you make a decision on what to automate for your small business or startup:
Here are the four essential ones you should focus on for your small business or startup.
1) Automate your employee onboarding process
One of the manual tasks that crop up the most when you’re growing your business is the onboarding of new employees. That's when it becomes a good idea to set up an automated onboarding process for your business.
The aim here is for you to be able to do it smoothly and confidently, so you can repeat and scale the process as you please. In practice, however, that’s easier said than done. Between emails and binding folders flying around, it’s hard to keep track of it all. That's where automation could make it simpler: by inviting the new hire on your HR platform, they will be able to fill in all their information themselves.
In practice, that means you never have to chase your new hire for their personal information – HR software collects everything from them including NIN and passport details.
It’s also important to bear in mind that, as more and more companies choose to operate remotely, this bespoke onboarding experience can help create a sense of belonging by allowing new hires to get a feel of what it’s like to work at your business.
Once that’s sorted, there’s one detail you don’t want to miss and it’s whether you’ve ticked all the boxes on your onboarding checklist.
You can choose to keep it all on a spreadsheet or you can automate your onboarding checklist as well with software like CharlieHR – set due dates, tag co-workers involved in the onboarding and tick away.
2) Manage your team’s time off without getting involved
If onboarding takes a lot of your time, time off involves a lot more layers of complexity. To sum it up, this is what you will need to manually record for time off management to run smoothly:
- Name of the employee
- Time off dates
- Type of time off (holiday, sick day, sabbatical, etc.)
- Number of days taken
- Updated time off allowance
- Whether their time off is overlapping with another team member
- Amend or cancel any time off requests (if requested by the team member)
It’s not to say that it can’t be done, and a time off spreadsheet can do the job, but human error will be looming around the corner when requests flow into your inbox.
That’s where giving your team the ability to self-serve will be essential. With employee self-service, they’ll be able to send in a request that you’ll approve or deny in one click – with automatic notifications if someone else has booked time off on the same dates.
If plans change and they need to cancel or amend their request, they just have to log into the software – their allowance is calculated by the system.
If you want to dig through how many sick days or holidays have been taken this year, you can pull and export a report in seconds.
3) Get the right performance management tool for your team
Although it might not seem like a priority when you’re a small business or a startup, performance management needs to be front of your mind in this new world of work. Employees care about progressing in their careers and being recognised for their hard work above anything else.
If you’re looking to build a strong business, you’ll need people who are in for the long run, and performance management will be key to retaining and attracting the best talent.
However, it’s easier said than done: performance reviews can be difficult when you have to come up with a process yourself, organise meetings and make sure everyone does their part.
HR software makes it much easier for HR teams to set up and overview the performance process. With a tool like CharlieHR, managers and team members submit their performance review feedback within the platform.
All you have to do on your side is set the dates the review cycle will happen, click on a button and watch it all happen before your eyes.
And if you want to get more from your performance reviews, you can also involve other people at the company by simply adding peer feedback as an option. Choose your reviewers, and let them go through the same process.
What are the best solutions to automate your HR processes?
The HR software market is wide, to say the least – so how do you know which solution is the best fit for your small business? That takes understanding what you need to make it successful. Let’s have a look at a few options for you.
Best for large businesses - cloud software like Oracle
Oracle is not just HR software, it’s a complete suite of cloud applications that allow you to deliver consistent processes and data across your business.
Sounds ideal, but if you work at a small business and startup, it’s more than likely you’ll never use most of those functionalities as your needs are different.
So even though Oracle is one of the most performant software on the market, it will take you a lot of time to get familiar with it, and you’ll also end up paying a lot of money for a solution that’s not suitable to your small business needs.
Best for medium size businesses - Rippling
Rippling offers a great solution to manage many aspects of your business – that includes payroll, benefits, devices, etc.
Similar to Oracle, Rippling has a cloud solution where you can manage more than just your HR – whilst still offering a range of features suitable for any business.
However, a small business or startup might find it overwhelming and might not be ready to spend so much money on a solution that’s clearly built for larger companies.
Best for small businesses and startups - CharlieHR
With Charlie, you get to automate manual HR tasks that will support your overall HR strategy, whilst aiming to build high-performing teams that can make your business grow.
It’s got all you need for your small business or startup with:
- A time off management system that allows you to leave all the admin behind
- An effortless onboarding flow that makes a great first impression
- A performance reviews tool that allows you to drive real growth
All of it for an affordable price for your business – £4 per employee per month including all features and with no setup fee.
Have a go yourself and sign up for a 14-day free trial today.
And if you want to find out more about HR automation, maybe it's a good idea to have a look at our guide on HR automation trends – written by one of our in-house HR experts.