The world of human resources has been a hectic, yet exciting time over the last decade. An increased focus on employee engagement, recruitment processes and employer branding (not to mention a near-overnight shift to remote and flexible working) has seen the role of HR professionals change and expand. 

HR software has evolved to keep pace with the changing role of people professionals too and the market for recognition, rewards, benefits, recruitment and onboarding technology has taken off in recent years. 

And perhaps the most exciting area of development within the HR software space is that of automation. 

So what can we expect from HR automation in 2023? We’ve taken a look into our crystal ball, and these are the developments we see becoming more widely adopted from next year and beyond… 

Rise of the chatbots

The worlds of marketing and customer services have been making full use of chatbots for a good few years now, and it’s about time HR did the same! 

Chatbots are a fantastic way to pre-empt common questions and provide immediate answers to them. In HR, this could look like employees being able to ask questions about booking holidays, auto-enrolment pensions, or general organisational processes – without having to wait for a reply to an email.

This process will help reduce the amount of time that HR professionals and people leaders are spending answering simple questions via email, as well as improving the productivity of employees. Getting a fast answer to a quick question means it can be resolved sooner and focus can return to billable work. 

And another expected benefit of HR chatbots is that AI, and usage reports, will be able to report what questions employees are asking the most. This insight can help to shape policy and areas of focus, as well as identifying trends. For example, an increase in employees wondering how to unenroll from a pension plan would be a good indicator that staff are struggling to make ends meet. 

Streamlined onboarding processes

A successful onboarding period is key to the success of a new employee. In fact, research shows that organisations with specific onboarding processes experience 54% greater new hire productivity.  

Onboarding and new-job training typically relies on some form of in-person training and shadowing – two processes that take time and also depend heavily on trainers having the time, patience and skill to effectively pass on knowledge to a new starter. 

Automation can help to standardise and streamline these processes, and get new starters up to speed more quickly. 

Automated onboarding can look to gather all the personal and payments data a business needs from an employee, whilst corporate documentation can also be shared, such as employment policies and even organisational values. Automated tools can then work to ensure new starters understand the roles of different organisational software, how to login, who they report to, and how work is typically done. 

We’re definitely not saying here that the majority of the onboarding process should be entirely automated. Human interaction is still key to enable a successful integration into a new team. But the basic tasks and documentation that are required to be completed and shared can be more effectively (and more quickly) managed in this way. 

More effective recruitment

Recruitment processes have already changed a lot in the last few years. The widely-adopted advent of pre-application questionnaires to enhance application quality and relevance (spearheaded by the likes of LinkedIn and Indeed), as well as applicant knowledge and ability tests within the interview process, are helping in-house recruiters to find the right candidates faster and more effectively. 

The shift to remote working has also seen more pre-hire interactions taking place remotely in the form of video interviews, allowing for more informal conversations and for both employer and prospective employee to get a feel for one-another.

Further automations and the adoption of technology within the recruitment space will no doubt continue to grow in the coming years. Personality quizzes, aptitude tests, skill-based online tasks and pre-set interview questions could all be completed using automated, online processes. 

AI insights and data-based decision making

HR loves data, but it’s the one department that has lagged behind over the last few decades when it comes to using it within decision making. This study by Capita Resourcing found that HR knows data is critical to better decision making, but a quarter of businesses say that their HR and recruitment teams are the least proficient at collecting, analysing, and acting on data. Four in 10 said that the ineffective use of data was likely to be negatively impacting candidate and employee experience. 

This is a big data gap that AI and automation can begin to fill, and something we’re excited to see develop in 2023 and beyond! It will help HR practitioners to identify trends and analyse the most important data available to them, as well as answering questions that people leaders have yet to begin asking. Workforce trends, onboarding snag points, retention rates within different areas of an organisation… AI can help HR and recruitment teams to identify pain points, and know how to fix them. 

Automated payroll and benefits

Administrative tasks that take time to complete will, and are already starting to, be part of new automation suits developed by HR and finance software providers. 

Changes to payroll, benefits, rewards, holidays, pulse surveys, and compliance processes could all be near-fully automated moving forward. And automating workflows like these can reduce errors, solve questions more quickly and improve consistency across an organisation. 

More time created to focus on other areas and develop new ideas, less paperwork, fewer errors and less stress… bring it on! 

Maximising the value of automation with the right HR software

Understanding the potential benefits of AI and automation within HR is one thing. Adopting the right HR software that can empower its use within your organisation is another. 

If your current HR management software lacks the features to enable some of the points above, then you’re missing out on the time-saving, cost-cutting and streamlining benefits. 

Finding the right HR software, first time around, can be a tricky and time-inducing process. To help, we developed this free guide on how to choose the right HR software, with everything you need from building a compelling business case, researching the best solutions available, and managing the tender process. Our HRIS consultants can also help you determine whether or not you’re getting the most from your software.