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

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Staff writer
business.com Staff
Updated Jun 29, 2022

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

Payroll and HR-related tasks are, without a doubt, some of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks for any business – especially if they are completed manually. And trying to maintain compliance with all those manual processes can be a nightmare.

Because of this, many organizations are moving to cloud-based technology that supports automation. Recent surveys show that more than 80% of U.S. employers use artificial intelligence for at least one of their HR processes and that 74% of companies intend to increase spending on HR tech.

Once you decide to move to a top cloud-based payroll and HR system, you’ll likely be bombarded by providers wanting your company’s business. Once you’ve chosen a provider, the implementation process that follows can seem even more strenuous. You can save yourself both time and money by proactively preparing to switch over to an automated solution.

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.

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 offboarding: 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.

FYIFYI: 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.

Switching 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.

Review sites such as Software Advice and 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? If you want more information, you can contact reviewers directly to ask follow-up questions.

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 over. 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.

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 can be 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.

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 as 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.
Image Credit: Philip Steury / Getty Images
Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
business.com Staff
Skye Schooley is a human resources writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has researched and written more than 300 articles on HR-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and HR technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products and services that help business owners run a smoother human resources department, such as HR software, PEOs, HROs, employee monitoring software and time and attendance systems, Skye investigates and writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.