The Pros and Cons of Automating Human Resources

By: Alexis Maxwell on July 21st, 2020

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The Pros and Cons of Automating Human Resources

Artificial Intelligence (AI)  |  Human Resources

In their efforts to streamline key business processes, industry leaders have looked to artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Automation has forced multiple industries to rethink how they work and function ⁠— and human resources is one field where automation proves its worth. However, automation is not a be-all end-all solution to HR woes. While it fills in the gaps where humans fail to deliver, automation has its disadvantages, too.

That said, here are some pros and cons of automating HR processes.


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The Pros of Automating Human Resources

  • Reduces Cost: Automation can significantly cut down your administrative HR costs. As automation seeks to eliminate human errors and menial tasks, the costs of these are effectively mitigated. Even if automation has a high up-front price, it’s well worth it in the long run. HR managers can also remove the need for certain consultants since they can use AI to provide insightful data on a potential candidate.

  • Increases Productivity: Without a doubt, automating manual processes in HR departments will make work easier to handle — boosting productivity across the HR hierarchy. Paperwork is a cumbersome, but important task to fulfill in HR offices. There’s a lot of redundant tasks in HR, and when done correctly, automation can handle up to 45% of repetitive work ⁠to significantly reduce the HR team’s workload. Through automation, HR employees can boost their productivity and focus more on higher-value tasks like creating better frameworks, solving internal issues, and crafting guidelines for a better workplace.

  • Streamlines Recruitment: Recruitment is one of the biggest tasks HR managers have, and having to screen multiple potential employees per day can be exhausting. To add to that, there’s also the task of vetting candidates and making sure that their background lines up. This is where automation comes in. A Kingdom University study notes that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can have a significant impact on human resource processes by increasing the efficiency of talent acquisition tasks. Manual processes that are an integral part of hiring, like data entry and email background checks, can be automated, effectively reducing the time it takes to approve a candidate.

The Cons of Automating Human Resources

  • Requires Training: While automation is certainly revolutionary in the world of HR, companies would have to invest a lot of money on the required software and then train their staff. Having the right knowledge is key to maximizing automation ⁠— and many professionals simply don’t have that kind of training. Organizations might find it costly and time-consuming to up-skill their existing staff.

    As a result of this, many organizations look to those who have recently studied the subject at degree level when hiring. This is why human resources degree programs have begun incorporating the latest methods and technology into their curricula to prepare tomorrow’s professionals for all that lies ahead. Technology training has become just as important today as recruitment and talent management, HR employment law, and performance appraisals.

    Even though there are more graduates with the expertise to handle HR automation, the demand for them isn’t being matched by the number graduating. So before business leaders can get ahead of themselves and impose automation in HR processes using outside specialists, they should first still look to prepare and train their HR teams for using and maximizing the technology.

  • Curtails Human Interaction: HR processes are innately people-centric ⁠— in order to determine which candidate best fits the position, HR managers should, of course, interact with them. But one significant danger of automation is dehumanizing HR processes. While objectivity provides a non-biased view of a candidate based on the data that’s gathered and analyzed by automation software, it won’t be able to tell a candidate’s full story. Assessing their attitude towards the job, work ethic, and willingness to be a team player can only be accurate if there’s face-to-face interaction with an HR manager.

Is Automation the Answer?

No business will survive without a competent HR department. The decisions made in the HR department can be felt across the whole company, so deciding whether or not to employ automation is solely dependent on what your company needs. Automating HR processes can certainly produce wonderful results, but it’s also important for business leaders to recognize that it also has its pitfalls. So if you decide to bring automation to the HR department, try to actively find solutions to reduce the impacts of its risks.

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About Alexis Maxwell

Freelance writer Alexis Maxwell believes that automation is an inevitable and integral part of the evolution of the modern office. When she's not chasing article deadlines or learning how to code, she likes to take her beagle, Tom, out for walks around the neighborhood.