SumTotal Blog

How Automation is Forever Changing HR

December 20, 2016

In many ways, it is thanks to the automotive industry, and Ford in particular, that the process of automation caught on. And although there were earlier attempts – Eli Whitney in the 1700s with muskets I believe–I think many of us automatically picture the Ford assembly line when we think of automation. That image of the conveyor belt, the speed and efficiency of automation so glaringly obvious you begin to wonder why it took two hundred years to perfect.

Assembly Line

Due to his assembly line process, Ford succeeded in reducing the time required to assemble a car from over 12 hours to just over 90 minutes—and while automation may have originated on a car factory floor, its uses soon spread. Today, it’s an innate part of almost every industry imaginable. Its application for HR is phenomenal—automation has transformed certain processes with outstanding results.

At its very heart, automation shaves time off a process and in doing so saves labour and reduces the possibility of error while simultaneously replicating at such a speed that it produces increased levels of accuracy and precision. In fact, you might almost say automation was custom-built for the HR sector – if that is not a contradiction in terms!

Now, thanks to automation tasks such as completing and submitting timesheets, performing health and safety checks, onboarding, taxation, recruitment, administering benefits and evaluations have been forever changed. Organisations can guarantee that their employees receive accurate and timely information in a consistent, yet cost efficient, manner.

And speaking of costs, if the fact that automation saves time and increases accuracy didn’t convince you of its merit, this might- The APA (American Payroll Association) estimates a 4-7 percent saving on annual payroll by automating time and attendance alone – a figure that is itself impressive, but is further compounded by additional savings from improved record keeping feasible thanks to… you guessed it… automation.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Automation can help you become compliant by helping ensure that not only are the correctly qualified staff completing assigned tasks and keeping current with mandatory training, but that staffing numbers meet their quotas. Additionally, it can help you make sure everyone is getting the correct number of breaks and rest periods.

Automation can also increase productivity rates by providing the data and analysis necessary to allow optimal scheduling and distribution of employees, creating even further savings.

The impact of automation on HCM cannot be underestimated, which is why SumTotal designed and developed SumTotal Work – a workforce management (WFM) solution that takes full advantage of all automation offers. As the only fully inclusive solution in the industry, SumTotal Work gives your organisation every opportunity to realise the unparalleled ways automation can transform the way you operate.

The future trends of WFM remain to be seen; but one thing is for sure: just as the assembly line revolutionised the automotive industry, so too has automation transformed the way companies manage their talent.

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