5 HR automations that can transform the way your employees work

HR automation examples

When we surveyed 100 IT executives as part of our State of Automation study, we found that many organizations already automate several employee and candidate-focused workflows. 

More than half (56%) of respondents, for example, said that their organization is automating their PTO request and approval process, while just shy of half (43%) are automating their application provisioning process. 

Why are HR automations so pervasive? And how are organizations automating the employee workflows mentioned above—among others? 

We’ll tackle both questions. That way, you’ll know why HR automations are so important as well as how you can implement them successfully. 

How enterprise automation transforms HR processes

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1. Streamline referral submissions

Numerous studies point to the benefits of referring candidates. For example, referral candidates are easier to recruit, and once they’re hired, they’re more likely to stay at your company for longer. 

The question then, isn’t if you should hire employees via referrals—it’s how you can increase the number of referrals for an open position.

Here’s an automation that can help, as it allows employees to submit referrals within the comfort of their business communications platform (e.g. Slack).

1. An employee accesses a chatbot within their business comms platform and types in a command, like “add new referral.”

2. The employee then sees a popup where they can add information about the candidate, such as their first name, last name, the position they’re being referred for, the link to their Linkedin profile, etc.

3. Once submitted, the chatbot creates the candidate profile in your applicant tracking system (ATS), and, in the profile, it adds the information provided by the referrer.

4. The recruiter then gets notified of the referral in the business comms platform, where they can forward the candidate to the hiring manager with the click of a button.

It’s worth noting that the chatbot also keeps the employee who submitted the referral in the loop, as they’d get notified when the candidate has either been hired or rejected.

Related: What is HR automation? Here’s what you need to know

2. Provide new hires with the apps they need on day 1

Providing each new employee with the applications they need on their first day is a surefire way to help them hit the ground running. 

Here’s an onboarding automation our human resources team uses to do just that:

1. Once a new hire notice—an email that alerts stakeholders of key details on the new hire—gets sent by your HRIS, the workflow gets triggered. 

2. The hiring manager receives a message from a chatbot that asks them to select the apps that their incoming team member needs (which they can do within the chat).

3. Once the hiring manager makes their selections, the chatbot notifies the BT team via chat. A member of the BT team can then confirm whether they have enough licenses to accommodate the provisions or if they need to acquire more. A team member would then go on to schedule the appropriate provisions for the beginning of the new hire’s first day.

4. Once the new hire comes onboard, they can request access to additional apps or to different access levels for any via another chatbot (which we refer to as “Firefighter Bot”).

3. Enable employees to request PTO with ease

Every employee, regardless of department, location, or tenure, will request paid time off at your company.

You can make each of their experiences—as well as the approvers’—easy by implementing the following: 

An automation that shows how employees can request PTO

1. An employee submits their PTO request via a chatbot in your business comms platform (which requires them to select the specific days they’re taking off).

2. The chatbot quickly checks if they’re eligible to take those days off in your HRIS (e.g. UKG Pro).

3. Assuming the requestor is eligible, the chatbot notifies their manager via a chat message.

4. The manager can approve (or reject) the request with the click of a button. If approved, the chatbot would update the requestor’s PTO balance and notify them of the decision (via a chat message).

Related: How automation can transform approval process workflows 

4. Empower employees to submit expenses in a matter of clicks

Similar to the previous example, most—if not all—employees will find themselves submitting expenses. 

You can use automation to make it easier on employees to submit expenses as well as approve any by implementing the following expense approval process:

1. An employee accesses a chatbot within the business comms platform and types a command like “submit expense.”

2. A pop-up appears that asks the employee for the information required to submit the expense. This includes items like the employee’s full name, the type of expense they’re submitting, and the amount they’re expensing. 

3. The employee uploads a photo of their receipt(s) and they can then submit the expense—which prompts the chatbot to created the expense in your expense management system.

4. The employee’s manager then receives a message from the chatbot, notifying them of the request, and allowing them to review and approve (or reject) it with the click of a button.

A chatbot message that asks an employee to approve or reject an expense request

5. Once approved (or rejected), the chatbot would send the requestor a message that notifies them of their manager’s decision, and it updates the status of the expense in the system.

Related: What is an HR chatbot? And what are some common examples?

5. Offboard employees securely by turning off their access to devices

As soon as an employee leaves your company, you’ll want to prevent them from engaging in behavior that can harm your employees, clients, and the reputation of your organization.

Here’s an offboarding automation that can make a big impact, as it effectively shuts off access to their laptop once they’re no longer an employee.

An offboarding automation that de-provisions employee access to apps and equipment.
  1. Once an employee is marked as terminated in your HRIS, the workflow gets triggered.
  1. Your ITSM tool creates tickets for a range of tasks related to offboarding the employee.
  1. By the end of the employee’s last day, they’re removed from groups in Active Directory and they lose access to their laptop.

The benefits of automating your HR processes

Now that you know various ways to implement HR automation, you likely understand the benefits it can bring to your human resources department and the rest of your employees. 

But in case any skip your attention, let’s break down several.

  • Employees can avoid tedious, time-consuming tasks. Automation helps your employees avoid manual activities, such as app hopping or data entry. Employees can then allocate those time savings toward meaningful, strategic work they’re more likely to value and enjoy.
  • New employees can be onboarded more effectively. By using an onboarding process that’s largely automated, new hires are more likely to be set up for success. This, in turn, benefits your organization, as a high-performing employee onboarding process is proven to increase employee retention and productivity.
  • Employees are provided with experiences that delight them. Their ability to make requests, submit referrals, get access to apps or equipment, etc. with ease not only helps them be productive, but also more content with your organization. 
  • Your time-to-hire shortens. By streamlining the employee referral process, in addition to other recruitment workflows, like resume screening, you can identify more qualified candidates faster and focus more of your time on recruiting them.
  • Security issues are less likely to occur. Removing former employees from your apps and taking away their access to equipment lessens their chances of using data in ways that compromise your employees, clients, and your organization more broadly. 

In addition, automating processes for current employees—like app provisioning—can help ensure that the appropriate security precautions get taken.

  • Automations can be modified easily and new ones can get built quickly. The rise of low-code/no-code technologies has spread to the automation space. Now, using an integration-led automation platform, your team can build HR automations in minutes and improve any that already exists just as fast.

Learn how Workato can transform your HR workflows

Workato, the leader in integration-led automation, allows your team to implement integrations and automations without the need to write a single line of code. 

The platform also offers:

  • A built-in bot framework that allows your team to work in their apps and automate their workflows without leaving their business communications platform
  • 5,000+ automation templates (“recipes”) and 1,000+ pre-built connectors that can help you kickstart your integration and automation-building efforts
  • Enterprise-grade security and governance
You can learn more about Workato and the HR automations you can build with the platform by scheduling a demo with one of our automation advisors.

About the author
Jon Gitlin Content Strategist @ Workato
Jon Gitlin is the managing editor of The Connector, where you can get the latest news on Workato and uncover tips and frameworks for implementing powerful integrations and automations. In his free time, he loves to run outside, watch soccer (er...football) matches, and explore local restaurants.