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How to implement recruiting automation

Article by Zac Amos - ReHack

HR departments face significant challenges amid worker shortages and pressure to become more efficient. Recruiting automation has emerged as a promising solution, but recognizing this potential and acting on it are two different challenges. Businesses must learn how to implement HR automation after learning its benefits.

The Need for Recruiting Automation

Humans will always be a part of human resources, but automation and artificial intelligence (AI) can help employees reach their goals more effectively. Improved efficiency is an important part of that change. Recruiting involves a lot of repetitive, data-heavy work, which employees typically don’t enjoy but automation can handle with ease and accuracy.

HR departments have reduced the time spent on payroll and benefits by 60%-90% after automating just their benefits programs. Considering these tasks often take up 30%-60% of HR’s time, those savings have significant consequences. Teams will virtually give themselves another third of a workweek to spend on more pressing recruiting processes.

HR automation can also help find more qualified candidates. AI systems could scan the web to find workers who would be an ideal fit, including passive candidates who aren’t actively seeking new roles. Human workers may miss these professionals or spend too much time finding them — automating the process lets businesses cast a wider net in less time.

Automating routine recruitment tasks will also reduce errors, which humans are more likely to make than machines. It also enables easier personalization, leading to a 17% increase in employee performance.

How to Implement Recruiting Automation

These benefits are impressive, but achieving them hinges on an optimal automation strategy. HR teams can implement this technology effectively by following these five steps.

1. Identify the Most Inefficient Processes

Automation is expensive, so it’s best to start by automating the area that will yield the most significant return on investment. Consequently, HR departments should review their workflows to find the biggest inefficiencies before deciding on an automation solution.

Administrative tasks like scheduling, data entry and payroll management are common time sinks and good places to start. Alternatively, because 40% of executives today struggle to fill strategic management roles, businesses may want to automate candidate outreach or applicant pre-screening instead.

HR leaders can identify where they must improve by recording how much time workers spend on each task, interviewing employees or through third-party audits. Once they find their most inefficient or ineffective processes, they can prioritize what to automate first.

2. Compare Available Automation Options

After HR teams determine where they should apply automation, they can shop for solutions. Deciding what to automate first will help narrow down the field, but businesses can whittle down their options further by establishing firm budgets and goals.

Automation solutions come in two broad categories — off-the-shelf automation platforms and tailor-made AI models. The former is easier to implement and often costs less upfront. However, HR departments with niche needs or complex goals may benefit by working with AI vendors to develop a bespoke solution.

When comparing automation platforms, it’s important to keep compatibility with the team’s current software in mind. Most departments use between 40 and 60 apps, leaving considerable room for incompatibility. Looking for automation solutions that integrate with or support the tools HR workers already use will make these technologies far more convenient.

3. Benchmark Current Performance and Set Goals

At this point, HR leaders should be able to identify their ideal automation solution and where to deploy it. However, before they get started, teams should establish performance benchmarks. This data will help measure the automation program’s efficacy down the line.

Setting benchmarks starts with establishing general goals, which then inform relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). An HR department may want to streamline the process between posting a job and filling the position. In that case, the most relevant metrics to track are the time between posting and hiring in days or work hours and the money spent on advertising and interviewing.

Once teams determine the most useful KPIs, they should measure their current performance. This measurement sets a baseline to compare with future results.

4. Automate Slowly and Carefully

Next, it’s time to actually automate some processes. While it’s easy to get excited about HR automation’s potential and rush into it, it’s best to approach implementation slowly.

AI in recruitment can carry some disadvantages on top of its many benefits. Most notably, hiring algorithms may amplify bias that exists in their training data. HR departments can address these issues by recognizing them upfront and taking them into account when training and deploying their automated solutions.

When developing or training an AI model, HR departments must account for human biases that may influence it. Providing these algorithms data from a diverse range of sources and specifically coding them to ignore factors like gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation will help keep this automation fair and ethical. Teams should also watch their automated programs carefully for signs of inaccuracy, ethical issues or other problems.

5. Monitor the Results

After automating, HR departments should closely monitor employee performance to see how it improves. Teams should measure the same KPIs they used to establish benchmarks and compare them to these baselines. It may take time for significant results to show, but testing them at least every two weeks will help uncover trends as they develop.

The results of this monitoring are helpful whether the automation project exceeds or falls short of the pre-set goals. If the program yields significant improvements, HR professionals can safely apply similar measures to other processes. If it doesn’t, they can review what went wrong to avoid making the same mistakes in future automation initiatives.

Most companies use 10 to 12 systems in HR automation, so keep in mind that failure to meet automation goals could stem from several places. In both successful and unsuccessful results, it’s important to look through the data thoroughly and consider what factors could’ve influenced the results.

Effective Recruiting Automation Will Unlock HR’s Potential

Recruiting automation has the potential to reshape the HR industry. However, these improvements won’t come by themselves. Teams must apply this technology carefully to experience its full range of benefits.

Following these steps will help any HR department make the most of automated recruiting. They can then reap the benefits of faster timelines, higher cost-efficiency and a more engaged, productive workforce.

    Zac Amos is a tech writer with a special interest in HR technology, automation, and cybersecurity. He is the Features Editor at ReHack and a regular contributor at RecruitingDaily, ISAGCA, and DZone.

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