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Updated Mar 15, 2024

Switching to an Automated HR System? Here’s How to Prepare

Automated HR systems are key to compliance. Here's how to prepare for the transition.

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Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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Automation has quickly become a popular choice when managing HR functions. For example, research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that nearly 1 in 4 businesses already use automation or artificial intelligence (AI) to support HR-related functions like recruitment and hiring. Of those who use automation, 85 percent say it has increased their efficiency and/or saved them time. 

Switching to an automated system may seem daunting at first, but it can save you time and money in the long run. With preparation, you’ll have your automated system up and running in no time, allowing you to focus on more strategic aspects of HR management.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right payroll service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

What is an automated HR system? 

An automated HR system is a digital platform that can automate repetitive human resources functions like recruitment, onboarding, timekeeping, benefits administration, payroll, performance management and HR reporting. Most automated HR systems are cloud-based platforms available via monthly subscriptions.

Automated HR systems rival non-automated systems by allowing you to streamline your HR processes without having to perform manual data entry. It can save time and resources, and it reduces the potential for human error.

How to prepare to switch to an automated HR system

Whether you are planning on making the switch to an HR system for the first time or moving to a new system that better suits your needs, there are a few things you can do to ease the transition.

1. Check out review sites.

Online reviews, such as those on business.com, are excellent places to start in preparation for the switch. What better way to determine whether the system’s capabilities will fit your needs than reading reviews?

2. Work with your provider to set and accomplish your goals.

Make sure the provider you’ve chosen has goals that align with your own. The whole point of switching to an automated system is to make your HR and payroll processes easier; don’t compromise quality service for sleek-looking software.

Be thorough and clear about what you expect from the system. Set up a product demo if possible, and talk to your provider to understand how its solution will meet your needs. Work together to create a plan and actionable steps to achieve the goals you’ve set. Once expectations are set by both parties, implementing and converting data into the new system should be a much easier process.

3. Ensure proper data conversions.

You’ve selected a new system and set goals for how you want the solution to work for you; now it’s time to transfer employee data and records. This might seem like a daunting responsibility, but there are a few ways to make sure everything is moved over accurately.

When your provider starts migrating your data, its implementation team should convert year-to-date history into the new solution. Next, the team should run a compliance assessment to reconcile data history. Finally, before running your first live payroll, the team should conduct a parallel payroll test to confirm your system settings match your provider’s settings. By taking these necessary steps, your provider can ensure all data is correct and compliant.

Did You Know?Did you know
On average, it can take about four to eight weeks to fully implement a new HR system. However, this can be longer or shorter depending on how big your business is and what functions you are automating.

4. Make sure everyone who uses the platform receives training. 

The secret to successfully adopting any new technology is usability, and human capital management systems are no exception. It’s crucial that everyone is appropriately trained and has a clear understanding of how to operate the new platform. If your managers and employees don’t use it, the system is useless, no matter how much it promises.

Although organizational changes are sometimes necessary, they can also cause stress and frustration. By providing comprehensive training for your team, you can ensure everyone will be confident utilizing the system to its full extent. Plus, automating workflows will help relieve some daily stressors and busywork. All system users will be free to focus on more important tasks at hand, making your company more productive overall.

Types of HR tasks that can be automated

Numerous HR tasks can be automated, and the bigger your business gets, the more necessary automation becomes. Here are a few of the most commonly automated HR tasks.

  • Talent acquisition: Finding and recruiting top talent can be difficult to do manually, especially if you want to expand your search to candidates around the globe. With HR software, you can streamline the talent acquisition process with detailed job postings, automatic candidate screening and accurate applicant tracking. Automating these processes helps to ensure your favorite candidates don’t slip through the cracks.
  • Onboarding and off-boarding: Once you’ve recruited and vetted your applicants, you can automatically funnel them through an interactive onboarding process that ensures they receive and sign necessary documents, connect with the right team members, and undergo the correct training. If an employee is ready to leave the company, you can automate similar functions to ensure they are offboarded properly. Automating these tasks can improve efficiency and reduce human error.
  • Time and attendance: One of the most significant functions you can automate is tracking employee time and attendance. Managing employee timesheets can be a mundane and time-consuming task, and automating it can free up your HR staff. Overtime, time-off and leave requests for employees can also be handled by the best time and attendance systems. Automating time and attendance is a great way to ensure employees are being paid properly for the hours they work.
Did You Know?Did you know
There are various federal and state laws that govern employee overtime. HR software can help you comply with them.
  • Payroll: Manually tallying payroll is a thing of the past. Most HR software either has a built-in payroll option or can integrate with a third-party payroll service. With this, you can automatically calculate and process payroll, file payroll taxes, report new hires, pay employees accordingly, and more. Automated HR systems help a company stay in compliance and confirm consistency.
  • Employee performance: Performance management can be challenging to do manually. Many automated HR systems can track your employees’ performance with features like automated performance reviews and feedback. You can also establish employee goals and utilize skills mapping and career pathing.
  • Legal compliance: Managing employee data, appropriate payroll wages, and tax and garnishment deductions aren’t simple tasks. Handling these to-dos while remaining compliant is a different beast entirely. By updating your HR and payroll systems to an automated platform, you can give managers, employees and yourself peace of mind in knowing your processes will be compliant. Once everything is said and done, you may wonder why you didn’t take the plunge sooner.
FYIDid you know
Federal, state and local HR regulations are constantly evolving, which can cause a variety of HR compliance challenges for small businesses. HR software can help you combat those challenges.

Benefits of using an automated HR system

There are many reasons why a company might choose to automate its HR functions. Here are some of the biggest benefits:

  • Saves time: Payroll and other HR-related functions are some of any business’s most tedious and time-consuming tasks. This is especially true if they are completed manually. Automated HR systems perform these functions for you, eliminating the need to spend time on them.
  • Increases HR accuracy: As much as we hate to admit it, humans are prone to error. Manually entering and transferring HR data can lead to errors, affecting important things like employee pay, workforce data trends and company records. Automating HR functions reduces the potential for human error and increases accuracy. 
  • Maintains legal compliance: Keeping up with complex HR regulations can be challenging. One misstep can land you in hot water legally. An automated HR platform gives you access to automated workflows and compliance reminders to ensure you stay compliant.
  • Improves employee satisfaction: Automated HR systems increase overall employee satisfaction. They often include employee self-service tools, allowing staff members to take control of their HR needs. This level of autonomy is vital for many workers. It also automates things like onboarding and payroll, which are crucial to workers. 
  • Enhances decision-making: These systems can record employee data and workforce trends, providing real-time data and analytics on key HR metrics. This data helps you make informed HR decisions.

Best providers for HR automation

The best HR software for your business will depend on several factors, including your budget, number of employees and required features. It is vital that you do your own due diligence to determine which is best for you. To get you started, here are a few top HR software options you may want to consider.

  • GoCo: This cloud-based software can take care of several HR functions, and users can customize it by adding on custom workflows. These workflows help automate HR tasks like hiring, onboarding, approvals and employee termination. You can also turn any document into a form with a built-in e-signature tool. Read our review of GoCo to learn more.
  • Gusto: This software is ideal for businesses that need a comprehensive payroll solution. It can handle all of your payroll processing and payroll tax filing responsibilities for you. It also handles other essential HR tasks, such a-s time and attendance, employee benefits administration, hiring and onboarding, and talent management. Read our Gusto review to learn more.  
  • Rippling: This intuitive software is easy to implement and offers several ways to automate your HR processes. For example, you can automate onboarding to get new hires into the system in just minutes. You can use it to track applicants, create custom hiring workflows, process payroll, administer benefits and access compliance training. Read our Rippling review to learn more.
author image
Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Skye Schooley is a dedicated business professional who is especially passionate about human resources and digital marketing. For more than a decade, she has helped clients navigate the employee recruitment and customer acquisition processes, ensuring small business owners have the knowledge they need to succeed and grow their companies. In recent years, Schooley has enjoyed evaluating and comparing HR software and other human resources solutions to help businesses find the tools and services that best suit their needs. With a degree in business communications, she excels at simplifying complicated subjects and interviewing business vendors and entrepreneurs to gain new insights. Her guidance spans various formats, including newsletters, long-form videos and YouTube Shorts, reflecting her commitment to providing valuable expertise in accessible ways.
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