Improving Business Processes From an HR Perspective

There are currently numerous macroeconomic factors that influence how we get work done—not the least of which is a pandemic that has affected all corners of global business in very many ways. But, while the world collectively discusses how to solve global problems, HR teams are zooming in to solve at a more micro-level, tackling “human” problems. What they’re learning is that making key improvements to a given business process has a lot more to offer than they’d ever considered—especially when the improvements incorporate automation.

HR departments everywhere have long felt the pressures of a dynamic business world. Hiring and retaining talent is no small feat in a typical business climate, nevermind what we’re facing at this moment in time. As the potential for a genuine labor shortage comes into sharp view, employers everywhere are feeling the squeeze—and they’re echoing a thematic refrain: I’m having trouble finding people to work.

Considering tasks as unique: Why the kind of work we hire for matters

One of the biggest culprits contributing to the problems HR teams are facing with hiring good people is the work itself. That’s right! The work we are trying to hire for is often riddled with inefficiencies—and in many cases, it even borders on ineffectiveness. Neither of these are good components of a robust hiring initiative.

As we’ve mentioned here on this blog—and as EPSoft CEO Mike Magnifico also articulates in his latest on Forbes—the kinds of work people do matters a great deal. Mostly, it matters because humans are just not great at some things. Manual repetitive work is uninteresting and unfulfilling. When we do it anyway, it leads to more mistakes, faster burnout and a generally less effective business.

People crave interactions and opportunities to think creatively and critically—as many HR professionals can personally attest to. Why then, would we try to hire people to fill positions that are quite the opposite?

The short answer: Most HR teams can’t even identify the challenges within the business process because the business has limited visibility into how it works. For the longer answer, keep reading.

Understanding the enterprise-wide impacts of business processes

Business processes affect everything. Unfortunately, they are frequently ignored or neglected until the effects are realized and are costing the business time and money. Often, we enter the picture right about here. HR is a common point of stress for business processes—even if sometimes unknowingly—because they’re the team dealing with the tail end of the problem: the work. They’re the team trying to hire folks to complete this work.

The real culprit behind retention challenges

While the hiring process can often feel like an uphill task, employee retention can be just as difficult.

Rather than submit to attrition and turnover, HR teams can look to solve their micro-level hiring problems on a more macro-level business scale. Zoom back out, and consider how work gets done at every stage of every process. If you’re facing trouble hiring and retaining top talent, take a long introspective look at the organization and answer the question: What kind of work are they doing?

We had a client whose process for one team involved manually updating a spreadsheet, saving it as a PDF, emailing to another team, who would then manually update a different system using the emailed data. Once we understood how the business process was working (and where it was clearly not working), we were able to improve it with better workflows, technology integrations and process automation.

This is not an uncommon example of how some of your best employees’ time is being wasted by ineffective business processes. The good news is with some strategic planning and a team like EPSoft to help, your business processes can be simplified, optimized and even automated in some places.

Process automation: A good place to start

Back in 2019, McKinsey & Co predicted automation technologies and artificial intelligence could displace one-third of activities in some 60% of all jobs. But, alternatively, we might consider it this way: This means there are opportunities to improve 60% of jobs with automation.

If you’re looking to get started with process automation, we encourage you to visit our library of resources, where you’ll find white papers like Getting Started with RPA, Measuring ROI for Process Automation and so much more. For more process automation use cases specific to HR, check out our intelligent automation use case series here. Have questions? We’re here to help. Reach out any time!

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