HR automation

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6 HR automation trends for small businesses and startups in 2024

6 HR automation trends for small businesses and startups in 2024

If you had told me a few years ago that HR automation would be the talk of the town I wouldn’t have believed it.

HR was then mainly focused on Learning & Development for both managers and employees, and on helping companies organise their workforce. To a certain degree, that’s still the case, but people’s priorities have evolved.

That’s where today a lot of new HR automation trends appear to support changing work habits, and help businesses build happy and high-performing teams.

With team members wanting more from work than just showing up and getting paid, businesses need to keep up with the latest HR trends too.

As an HR Advice manager at CharlieHR, it’s my role (among building HR policies and giving top-notch advice) to keep an eye on HR automation trends – to give the best advice to the small businesses and startups I speak to.

Here’s an overview of what I think are the most important HR automation trends for 2023 and beyond.

HR automation trend 1 – support growth opportunities

It’s needless to say that your team members are now looking for more than a pension and a paycheck. What they want is sustainable growth in their career with an expectation that your business will help support that.

There's one thing I keep repeating to the business owners I work with: "People working for you are ambitious."

They want to take their role further along the line with projects that excite and challenge them.

That means you need to provide a system that will support career growth, and the first step is running performance reviews more than once a year.

As a small business or startup, you’re also looking for people that will stay with you in the long term so you can build a successful business and rely on loyal team members right from the start.

I hear a lot of companies complaining about their team members not putting the effort in when it comes to the workload, but one thing they’re usually missing is a concrete review process.

That’s where I usually suggest they take a look at what I think is the most important HR automation trend of the last decade: meaningful performance reviews.

Here, vague talks about progression won’t make it. You need to invest in the right tools to make it happen. Of course, that can mean a lot of additional work for you and your team, and that’s where HR automation can change the game.

With an HR automation tool like CharlieHR, you simply have to launch review cycles (we recommend having them every quarter rather than yearly) where managers and team members share their feedback – then let conversations happen between both, generally by following a progression framework that’s up to date.

Screenshot of performance reviews at CharlieHR

HR automation trend 2 – take accountability for DE&I

Over the years, DE&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) has been key to more and more businesses as they’ve understood how urgent and crucial it is to hire from a more diverse pool of candidates and remove bias from the recruitment process.

A DE&I strategy will not only benefit your business as you’ll get a lot of different perspectives and experiences from a diverse range of people to bounce off ideas and find solutions, but it will also be a reflection of who you are as a company.

Putting together a plan for it to happen can, however, be difficult when you don’t have the means to do it, the experience to lead on it, or no time to even think about it.

That’s why DE&I should be outsourced and automated – for example by following another 2023 HR automation trend: a DE&I report.

At Charlie, we also run a DE&I Health Check for our HR advice customers. I usually take my clients through it first with a discussion and we identify key concerns together.

Once they’ve set up their DE&I report – automated on CharlieHR – to gather data from their employees (following GDPR requirements), we then put a plan of action together and check in regularly to see how it’s going.

And if my clients want more expertise on the matter, it’s also a good idea to redirect them to companies that specialise in DE&I such as Diversifying or FairHQ.

Screenshot of DE&I Health Check in CharlieHR

HR automation trend 3 – make team members belong in a remote world

I wouldn’t be teaching anyone anything by telling them that the world of work is becoming more and more remote.

In fact, almost every day I get companies asking me to build an HR policy for their remote business, to implement a policy to support hybrid working or to recommend HR automation tools to deal with it.

That’s why it’s crucial to acknowledge that one of the HR automation trends of 2023 is going to be the challenge of making it all work.

This trend is not even new but has been constantly resurfacing since 2020 as new challenges keep on arising, making more and more small businesses and startups invest in products that help them soothe the ache.

There are many aspects to consider when it comes to remote working, but as a small business or startup, you want to think about what matters most to you.

You can for example make it a priority to have working locations on your HR software – that will be essential to make working as a team easier and understanding where anyone is at any given time.

Screenshot of working locations in Charlie

Another one we often talk about in my calls with customers is how they’re struggling to get a smooth and automated onboarding process in place.

Good old onboarding has generally been done manually and face-to-face. As more and more companies now hire employees remotely, it’s essential they set up an HR automated workflow that takes new starters through their own paperwork whilst making them feel like they’re already part of the team.

Screenshot of HR automation onboarding in Charlie

If you'd like to see how these features look like in Charlie, you can simply join one of our next Group demos.

HR automation trend 4 – put recruitment at the forefront of your HR strategy

A lot of small businesses and startups have been confiding in me about how difficult it is to recruit people and find the best talent to work at their businesses.

When it comes to recruitment, a lot of workers have been leaving their jobs to either change careers or to look for something different – whether that is a better work-life balance or a new opportunity.

That’s why companies need to deploy a lot of effort to attract new hires. However, getting access to that pool of talent can be difficult when you can’t afford an in-house recruiter.

That’s where automating and improving your HR process for recruitment is one of the HR trends to follow for 2023.

And rather than simply getting software that deals with sending offer letters or contracts (after all, that’s only a minor improvement as the hardest part is about sourcing the talent), maybe the best solution is to find a platform that integrates with your HRIS.

With CharlieHR software, for example, you can integrate with Workable – which gives you a great opportunity to streamline your process with candidates but also to use Workable to help with your recruitment process and an AI automated system to source candidates.

For me, it goes without saying that this is something I highly recommend my clients to invest in as they grow, so that they won't have to hire anyone to deal specifically with HR admin or recruitment, while still getting the expertise they need.

HR automation trend 5 – keep your team members engaged

Finally, the last HR automation trend I identified for you is the challenge of keeping your employees engaged.

It’s definitely a task that HR professionals and founders of small businesses and startups have been racking their brains around.

For me, here are the two fundamental pieces of advice I can give to businesses who are experiencing quiet quitting or want to understand why some of their staff is leaving:

  • Always run exit interviews
  • Make sure you put together engagement surveys to understand your team

Again, this can take a bit of your time, and that’s one part of the process you can automate to reduce your HR admin by simply using built-in templates written by industry experts like the ones we have at Charlie.

HR automation screenshot of polls in Charliehr

It goes without saying that, even if you run engagement surveys, it can still be difficult to compete with larger companies and what they have to offer.

So, on top of these recommendations, I would also highly recommend you put together forward-thinking HR policies to get ahead of the game – maybe book a call with one of the HR advisors on my team if you want to find out more.

And if you’re thinking of using HR software to respond to all of these HR automation trends, you can start a free 7-day trial today with Charlie.

Click to start a free trial of Charlie

You may also be interested in the HR automation examples guide we've put together for small businesses and startups.

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