Since HR technology has the potential to transform the way HR functions, it is a hot topic for HR professionals from around the world. While it looks easier from outside to speak or discuss the digital transformation in HR, it is entirely different to do it. In the article, we will consider why digital transformation in HR is important, how it can be done and what are its benefits.

The Significance of HR Digital Transformation in an Organization
The process of changing or transforming the day-to-day HR activities to make them automated and more data-driven is the first step towards HR digital transformation. Ditching paper is the first step to any efficient business process automation. HR needs to takes up the challenge to transform the core HR operational processes and the way the workforce operates.

Today, workplaces are becoming more and more virtual. Therefore, real-time employees are looking to get things done anytime, anywhere; whereas, organizations expect their employees to be super-fast. A digitally transformed HR has reinvented and revolutionized the employee experience by utilizing advanced digital technology tools to take important business processes directly to the employee’s desk. This paradigm shift in HR processes and functionalities plays a significant role in the organization’s digital transformation journey.

Top Five HR processes That Must Be Automated
Digital transformation in HR is evolving to become a core competency rather than being an innovative element. Organizations and HR professionals need to understand that accomplishing the digital transformation in HR is not an overnight journey; in fact, it’s a gradual progression of a traditional working environment into a digitally automated one. Here are few HR processes that must be automated to attain HR digital transformation.

Talent Acquisition:
Centralized Data: In an automated talent acquisition process, all the talent data is centralized. Therefore, it becomes easier to deliver analytic insights that can be utilized for informed decision-making to improve the quality of hires, reduce the time to hire, and lower hiring costs.
Adaptable Workflows: By designing a workflow suiting your organization’s recruitment needs you improve collaboration, visibility, and sharing across your team. It enhances your chances of getting higher volumes of skilled employees, finding the right talent for hard-to-fill positions, building global talent pools, and rapidly bring new personnel up-to-speed.
Automated Applicant Tracking: With automated talent acquisition process, you can leverage automated applicant tracking, which helps you streamline interview and requisition management. As a result, you get an efficient and highly effective hiring process.

Employee Onboarding:
Customized Employee Onboarding: An automated employee onboarding process allows you to start the process even before the employee actually joins. Using an efficient workflow automation software that provides ease and flexibility to build forms, design workflows and apply business logic boosts productivity and efficiency both. Forms such as Employee Information, tax forms (W-4s, W-9s), Identification forms (I-9), and Payment forms can be filled and signed online even before the employee actually join saving a lot of time and resources.
Mobile Accessibility: It is important to ensure that the BPA software is capable of creating mobile-friendly forms. The forms should be compatible with most modern devices. New hires should be able to access, fill and sign onboarding forms on their smartphones from anywhere and at anytime.
Better Employee Experience: Ability to fill and sign documents online saves much time and work for both the new employees as well as the HR staff. As most of the tedious task of filling forms and paperwork is now taken care of, the HR can concentrate on the personal interaction and gives more time for activities that can’t be automated, like a team meeting, company tour, code of conduct, and overviewing their technical and digital identity setup bestowing an overall great employee experience.

Time Off Requests:
Enterprise Specific Time Off Automation: One of the most common request put forth again and again by employees is the time off request. Though the process in itself is simple, calculating the type of leaves, leave balance and checking for resource backup makes it a nightmarish task. It is high time that companies got rid of the paper-based, high maintenance and non-compliant human resource practices by automating time off request forms using the enterprise-specific time off automation tool. It will enable electronic submission, approval, denial, and retention of time off requests. By automating this process it simplifies planning of availability of resources at a glance, leave notifications and the overall approval process.
Standardized Time off Request Forms: While opting for a specific time off request process automation solution, ensure it offers enough scope and liberty to create a business specific time off request form to eliminate paper and writing emails from the process. An automated time off request workflow accelerates the speed of approvals and enhances transparency as well as communication consistency across the organization.
Seamless Integration: Integrating HR automation tool with the legacy software prevents data silos. Ensure the Time-Off Request Automation tool smoothly integrates with other HR management software used for payroll, timesheet management, etc., to enable cross-functional reporting. Prefer a solution that also integrates with company calendar or Google Apps so that approved time off requests will be populated.

Performance Appraisals
Online Performance Review Forms: Before automating the process it is necessary to create a scalable employee performance review form and move it online. An online form makes it easier for employees to fill them and HR’s to manage and process the data. Furthermore, HR can limit the access of these forms and in-built document management can store these forms for years eliminating the unnecessary paper trail.
Automate Manager Approvals: Automated workflows and approval processes route the forms directly to the managers for review, thereby streamlining the entire employee performance review process. Permissions can be granted to certain managers who can access, review and sign off their team member’s annual performance. Allowing approvals through email notifications and motivating each participant to comment will make the process speedy and more fruitful.
Attain 360 Degree Automation: Automation helps you cascade and align goals across multiple owners initiating ‘shared accountability’. HR can track the company’s overall progress against goals, easily analyze trends across employees and understand their key strengths and weaknesses. Powerful insights and reports let HR know about the competency gaps and skills missing from the organization to promote consistent, quantifiable and fair decisions.

Travel Authorization and reimbursement
Obtaining Travel Authorization: Travel by certain designated personnel is crucial for every organization. Be it to meet the client, a vendor or for future prospects, training, deployment or for any other reason . Employees that are required to travel must complete the Travel Authorization request form and submit to their supervisor. Travel arrangements are made only when the travel form is approved. The online travel authorization form expedite the process of approvals thus making it possible to arrange the travel in a smooth and timely manner.
Travel Reimbursement: Employees often need to spend their own money when travelling for local transport, food etc. These get reimbursed later. With online travel reimbursement form the employees can fill up these forms from anywhere. The form automatically calculates reimbursement amounts and totals. They can upload the receipts which remain stored in a centralized system for future reference.
Online Travel Forms: Online travel forms makes managing travel for the company quick and easy. Data is stored centrally that allows easy reference and manage future requests. These forms can be used to plan itineraries, authorize requests, and ensure travels go smoothly. The forms are integrated with other department systems making it convenient to route the forms for approvals and electronic signatures and to make arrangements for the travel. Expense details and reimbursement requests can be traced to the travel plans, reviewed and approved or denied. Processing settlements and sending confirmations is faster and easier.

PLEASE NOTE:
When HR Automation Solutions are implemented in the cloud, organizations large and small alike can quickly take advantage of sophisticated features and functions. With infrastructure costs and resources taken out of the equation, cloud based solutions offer your organization another way to boost business performance by transforming the way you do business and carry out processes.

Outcomes Expected from HR Process Automation
Having said that, here is what can be expected when HR processes are automated
Automation provides focused and more efficient business processes.
With automation, the role of HR enhances further and leverages the Business Strategy, Overall Profits, and better communication.
Data once entered can be reused for pre-populating forms avoiding rewriting of data, reduced errors, referencing for reporting or future decision making.
Saves physical space, time, money and resources
And most important of all a good employee experience.

Conclusion
Digital transformation has helped HR to evolve and become a strategically functioning department in an organization. Automating tedious, time-consuming, and expensive HR processes into simple, quick and cost effective processes helps an organization to attain efficient digital transformation. Technology alone is never enough to bring about this digital change, at the core it’s always the people who matter. Automating HR processes allow HR professionals to spend more time contributing in the areas where it matters most. As we see more and more organizations going digital, there is still huge scope for further intelligent automation.

Author's Bio: 

Akhilesh is senior manager at frevvo Inc, a disruptive, SaaS-based enterprise-grade workflow and business process automation platform.