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How to Get Started with HR Automation?

Klaus Julin

CTO

How to get started with HR Automation?

More and more companies have incorporated artificial intelligence and automation into their strategies for this year at the latest. Many companies anticipate that these opportunities will change the way things are done in the coming years, including in HR. In many of these companies, it is also possible to describe or at least outline a target state where certain things happen automatically, thereby concretely improving work efficiency.


The biggest challenge often becomes finding the right steps from the current state to the target state, as well as a concrete plan on how to start the development. Investments, both financial and time-related, need to be balanced with the benefits achieved, both in the short and long term.


At Introist, we have been building automations related to HR with our clients for several years. Here are our tips for a successful start.

Plan big enough, start small enough

The real benefits of automation become apparent only when the number of automated tasks increases significantly. It is therefore necessary to identify a sufficiently large entity where the benefits clearly outweigh the costs. This often means aiming to automate everything possible.


Automating everything in one project is challenging, however, as the change becomes enormous if done all at once. It is rarely necessary to do everything at once if the target state is broken down into smaller entities. On the other hand, starting on too small a scale can also be problematic when the goal is a large-scale solution. Tools and methods that work on a small scale no longer work when benefits are to be extracted on a larger scale.


The best approach is always situational and is found by combining different sizes of projects into a longer-term plan. In our experience, it is crucial that the necessary steps are outlined on a sufficiently large scale, but at the same time, the first steps are designed to be small enough to get started efficiently.


This limits the risk in terms of time and money spent, and gives people time to get used to working with automation. At the same time, it is possible to learn what ultimately should be automated and what should not.

Build a strong enough foundation

From the beginning, it is important to consider two factors that have a significant impact on the benefits of automation on a larger scale: the available information and monitoring the situation.


Whether automation relates to the automatic execution of tasks or communication, information is always needed. In the context of HR, this usually means information related to employees. Almost always, the necessary information is found in multiple places, and significant value is created when information from different sources can be combined.


Therefore, it is important from the start to identify how the necessary information can be made available for automation and how information from different sources can be combined. Not everything needs to be done immediately, it is enough to know how to use different sources when the need for their information arises.


As the use of automation expands, the number of tasks to be performed quickly increases. This is, after all, the whole purpose of automation. Even though the goal is for automation to function without human oversight, it should not be entirely relied upon. It is important from the beginning to consider how the operation of automation can be monitored.


What has happened automatically and what is happening in the future? How can events be intervened in if necessary? In our experience, forming an understandable and manageable situation picture is often more challenging than creating the automation itself!

Consider what should be automated and what should not

Not everything should be automated


There are often situations where it is acceptable that tasks are still done manually: Automating an individual task turns out to be technically very difficult. Often in the early stages, it is better to circumvent this situation by automating, for example, a reminder for a person to perform the task. This way, development does not stall due to a single detail, and the overall process still progresses.

The task involves complex discretion


In complex, discretionary tasks, humans are still superior. Investing in the automation of these tasks should be considered only after simple, laborious, and tedious routine tasks have already been automated.

Human interaction


Automation rarely successfully replaces human interaction. Therefore, it is advisable to divide tasks by leveraging the strengths of computers and humans: computers are excellent, for example, in scheduling regular discussions and finding a suitable time for all parties. People can focus on the essential interaction, i.e., the content of the conversation.

Considering these and many other situations, the best overall effect is achieved by aiming to automate about 80% of everything. The workload of automation remains manageable, but the benefits are still significant.

Seek help from a technology expert

A successful automation project requires expertise in both the function to be automated (e.g., HR processes) and technology and its use. One person is usually not an expert in both. Therefore, it is advisable to build a team of subject matter experts and technology experts for an automation project.


A subject matter expert (e.g., HR specialist) understands how the processes are intended to work and what, for example, automated messages should say. At the same time, a paired technology expert (e.g., software developer) can think about how to automate the process so that the end result is reliable, traceable, and expandable.


Automation development is almost always divided into content production and automation system construction. These tasks can be efficiently advanced simultaneously by both the subject matter expert and the technology expert.

Introist = Platform + Service

Introist = Platform + Service

At Introist, we aim to make starting as easy as possible: Introist offers a platform where building and managing automations is seamless, regardless of scale. Additionally, we provide practical technological support in implementing various stages if the right expert is not available within your team. Get in touch, and let's discuss how to get your automation development underway!

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