Robotic Process Automation in HR and recruitment is an urgent business need. Digital tools “take over” routine processes, freeing HR managers’ resources to solve strategic problems—for example, a cool chatbot recruiter tool.

Recruiters receive many emails and calls containing similar questions related to job descriptions, key requirements, corporate policies, and salaries. It takes a long time to respond to each candidate or redirect them to the FAQ page on the company’s website.

Intrigued? Read on!

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a rapidly developing innovative technology in the automation field. RPA is one of the most powerful business process optimization tools today. This groundbreaking technology fundamentally changes the business operating model, replacing people performing routine tasks with robots.

A recently published Ernst and Young (EY) study indicated that 30 to 50 percent of new RPA implementation initiatives encountered problems. But the first temporary difficulties give companies invaluable experience in finding the best path in the digital world in a competitive environment where standing still is inevitable to lose.

Today the world is concerned about how to develop the economy further. How to get back to sustainable growth? There are two trends on the surface: the first is robotization, and the second is environmental friendliness. The first benefits business, especially at low rates, but not always beneficial to the state.

Read about automation for consultancy.

Biggest Challenges HR and Recruitment Face?

All companies are engaged in selecting personnel—even those with no HR policy, and managers are involved in HRM without regaining consciousness. But everyone has recruitment – from startups and flower stalls to giant companies. They all need people: some of them constantly, some of them occasionally. Most HRs started their careers with recruiting, and many executives conduct interviews from time to time. Therefore, this work does not seem difficult for anyone.

But the paradox is that many companies cope very badly with the selection. And even if they more or less manage to do it, they still complain of serious difficulties.

When recruiting from year to year, it’s easy to overlook your own mistakes: it’s always easier to refer to demographics, industry specifics, high expectations of job seekers, and so on. But if everything has reached a standstill, there is nowhere to go – you need to change something. Then a look from the outside is useful, and we will gladly share our observations with you.

1. Inability to organize a sufficient flow of applicants

The recruiter works with the same candidate stream sources and does not restructure their work for different vacancies. This is partly a continuation of the previous problem.

What is the problem? Recruiters often follow the stereotype: if suitable candidates came from this site yesterday, they would also come this time. You need to wait. However, time is wasted while they wait, and vacancies are empty.

2. The work of a recruiter is not automated

At all stages of the selection, the recruiter does everything manually without using auxiliary software. Thus, why not turn to HR process automation?

What is the problem? There are many routine and time-consuming processes in recruiting. According to the recruiters themselves, they do it “automatically.” So isn’t it easier to entrust the work to a special robot than to turn a person into it?

Many manual workloads a recruiter so tightly that they do not have time for active and proactive recruiting (these problems have already been written about above).

Simply put, a recruiter has no time to think about how to do better and what to change. They have no time to master new technologies. At the same time, recruiting becomes more difficult and requires new approaches, and the requirements for an HR manager are increasing. And this only exacerbates the problem.

3. Statistics on selection are not collected or analyzed

Or it is assembled but not used in practice.

What is the problem? Typically, HR departments are limited to the minimum statistics needed to report back to management. But the recruiters themselves are either not interested in delving into statistics, or they have no time. However, recruiting provides a ton of data for analysis. If you learn to work with them, then recruiting can be greatly improved.

4. Recruitment of competing companies is not analyzed

Competitors can be both companies from your main market segment and completely different industries if your interests overlap in the labor market. For example, sales managers are often ready to be hired from related industries, so companies from different markets can compete for the same candidate.

What is the problem? By not analyzing the recruiting of competitors, you are missing out on many useful things. Often the actions of other companies will more clearly indicate your mistakes and suggest great ideas.

5. Poorly organized work of the HR department as a whole

For example, the department was formed spontaneously, and its place in the company’s structure is unclear. Interaction with other units is not regulated. There are no clear rules for interaction.

What is the problem? All defects in the HR department affect recruitment, as well. If there is no clear interaction scheme within the department and with other company divisions, this slows down the selection. For example, candidates sometimes go tHRough all the interview stages in a couple of days or have to visit the company for weeks. As a result, most nimble and promising ones manage to find another job.

What processes Can Be Automated With Robotic Process Automation in HR and recruitment?

Overall, the human resources department in any organization plays a critical role in supporting employees and improving the whole work environment so that employees can do their jobs effectively. But given, the sheer volume of data management — filling out forms, updating and validating records, and the continuous flow of request processing — forces HR managers to perform repetitive administrative tasks.

By implementing Robotic Process Automation in HR and recruiting, organizations can dramatically reduce day-to-day processes by automating the most repetitive tasks and allowing HR managers to focus on other productive and more strategic tasks critical to the company’s growth. The main focus of RPA in HR operations is primarily micro-tasks, thus integrating all the processes that large legacy systems could not or could not solve.

RPA has tremendous potential to revolutionize the HR industry through greater efficiency and faster return on investment. RPA can run in the background without requiring human attention as a completely non-invasive technology.

Read how RPA can be implemented with our top battle-proven Uipath developers.

So what RPA in HR can bring to your company?

Trouble-free assistants

The use of software robots is justified in situations where manual data processing operations in a business process are massive.

It can be easily algorithmized, take less time to complete, and is characterized by few exceptions.

An extensive field for robotization is opening up precisely in the area of HR, where you constantly have to deal with many repetitive processes (regular communication, processing standard requests and responses, generating certificates and documents, searching for information about candidates on external resources with subsequent entry into accounting systems, etc. ).

Traditional approaches are either ineffective or too expensive in this case. Familiar macros help increase productivity only when using separate (at best, several “related”) applications. At the junction of various systems, integration can be limited by the lack of open APIs and unreasonably high development costs.

In turn, modern Robotic Process Automation in HR platforms makes it possible to quickly and inexpensively solve the issue: to form a set of “skills” for bots, promptly create them in a virtual studio, and test and put them into operation.

From this moment, within its “powers,” each software robot will quickly and independently reproduce actions that previously consumed much human energy and time.

Ability to entrust more processes

What processes can you entrust to recruiting automation bots? Here is an incomplete list of possible uses of RPA in HR processes:

  • Automatic creation of a new employee profile. When hiring a new employee, it is necessary to form their “digital twin” (personal accounts in corporate systems) using data from the HR system and text documents;
  • Vacation management. When forming a vacation schedule, you can automatically collect employee expectations, check them for compliance with the requirements of legislation and corporate policies, and provide feedback in case of non-compliance. A well-designed bot will not forget to check for claims and re-request them from those who have forgotten about the right to rest;
  • Absence management. In response to a preliminary notification or upon a signal from the workplace attendance system, the software HR automation robot can automatically send an employee a request to provide the relevant documents, control their receipt and accept them in the HR system;
  • Preparation of expense reports. When generating an essay on travel expenses, the bot can undertake the technical collection of documents and receipts from the folder, enter them into the accounting system and monitor compliance with corporate policies using various sources (for example, obtain currency rates from the Central Bank website);
  • Verification of data on new employees. Following the pre-configured checklist, the software robot can request documents from previous employers that characterize a new employee and accumulate them in the required place (on a network drive, in attachments to a profile, etc.);
  • Monitoring the performance of goals. Suitable work for a bot that, at a given frequency, will request reports from employees on the status of achieving goals, update the summary report, and save the history of correspondence;
  • VHI management. A software robot can easily cope with such a task as sending formalized letters to employees about the need to choose a program for the subsequent formation of applications for attachment to insurance companies;
  • Collection of documents on professional development. After the employee completes training outside the walls of the company, the bot can send a request to the educational organization, control the receipt of the necessary documents (certificates, score sheets, invoices, and acts), and save them;
  • Provide information. In response to an employee’s request for a standard certificate (“from the place of work”), the bot will generate the necessary documents in the HR system and send them to the employee.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation in HR and recruitment

Robots have already become an HR sensation, especially in the recruiting space.

Using such technology as RPA in HR is justified by increasing operational productivity and minimizing risks. At the same time, the key advantages of software robots are as follows:

  • Robots work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Robots work faster, don’t get tired, and don’t make mistakes.
  • Robots don’t get sick, don’t come late, and don’t go on vacation.

Due to the huge number of repetitive administrative tasks, often performed manually (filling out forms, receiving and processing data, updating and sending many requests and notifications), the HR service is one of the most promising for using and implementing software robots in a company.

Let’s see the additional benefits of this implementation!

Precision and increased productivity

RPA uses pre-coding technology to minimize errors. In addition, by allowing employees to focus on more important tasks, technology directly contributes to achieving overall strategic goals and company productivity.

Consistency

By using RPA in the background, HR departments can count on tasks to be completed consistently without any problem. RPA is built for perfect replication and error-free performance, eliminating any variation in output over the product’s life.

Scalability

The cost per task or effort per RPA is significantly lower when working on a large scale and can be easily increased or decreased as required. This results in minimal loss of effort or downtime for the entire system.

Reliability

Without human intervention and any leaves, the efficiency increases dramatically as the bots work 24/7 with constant performance.

Flexibility

RPA solutions are extremely flexible and can follow programmed procedures regardless of the deployment environment.

Real-World Use Cases of RPA Implementation in HR

Process # 1: Recruiting

Task: Search for candidates, their analysis, processing, and transfer to the system

Decision: The HR specialist fills in a criteria matrix to find targeted candidates. The robot checks the information update in the file and searches for candidates according to the specified criteria. The robot transfers the most suitable vacancies to the information system. Upon completion, the robot sends a notification to the HR specialist about the readiness of the work done.

Result:

  • Reduction of manual labor by up to 80%.
  • Increasing the speed of the business process.

Process # 2: Changing the staffing table

Task: Keeping accounting and management reports

Decision: The robot uploads accounting reports from the accounting system and updates employees’ staffing tables by sending targeted messages to HR curators. Having received the staffing table from the curators, the robot generates analytics on personnel and service notes’ movement for the departments within which staff changes have occurred. The robot generates an order based on the target staffing table, which it sends to HR specialists.

Result:

  • Robotic process automation in HR reduced manual labor by up to 95%.
  • We are reducing the number of errors to 0%.
  • Significant performance gains.

Process # 3: Controlling the timing of vacations

Task: Sending notifications to employees about the upcoming vacation

Decision: The robot uploads the target report from the accounting system and generates an up-to-date vacation schedule. The robot checks the upcoming vacation dates for each employee, sends email notifications, and records changes.

Result:

  • Achieved 100% automation.
  • 100% process accuracy.
  • Faster processing times.
  • Effective compliance.

Process #4: Simplified adaptation

Task: Achieving agreement between organizational procedures, employee profiles, and preferences requires robust data integration capabilities.

Decision: Robotic process automation can streamline the onboarding process by automatically activating a specific template for the user account onboarding workflow. The software robots can then make rule-based decisions, such as which documents to send, which credentials to assign to a new employee and more.

In addition, bots dramatically speed up processes such as creating an employee ID and allow new employees to begin their roles smoothly and hassle-free.

Result:

  • Reduce onboarding costs as robots assist HR departments through tedious manual and repetitive processes and automatically transcribe information from multiple sources into multiple systems.
  • Increase the overall processing speed by automatically validating new hiring data and entering it into different systems.
  • Reduce errors in onboarding processes by accurately updating personal and account information across multiple systems for faster processing.

Process #5: Employee data management

Task: With a constant influx of employee data from existing employees, new employees, contractors, etc., manually managing it can be a nightmare for HR teams.

Decision: For example, RPA in HR can automatically generate important documents that employees need instead of having HR personnel migrate all employee data from HRIS into a document template.

Robots can also perform data cleansing tasks regularly to ensure data compatibility across multiple databases.

Result:

  • Automating processes with robots can simplify the tasks associated with managing employees, thereby minimizing the risk of incorrect data entry.
  • This also means staffing services can be delivered to employees more efficiently and faster.

Process #6: Cost management

Task: HR managers in any organization tend to find it difficult to carry out manual travel and expense management processes due to various factors, such as missing receipts, late submission of expenses, out-of-order expenses, and messy spreadsheets.

Decision: RPA software allows actual expenditure to be validated using a rule-based procedure to determine the billing type. The software then processes the expense statement making sure it meets all requirements.

Result:

  • An RPA expense management solution allows companies to automatically extract all important fields from expense receipts, saving time.
  • It also eliminates the need to carry expense receipts with them, as they can take a photo of their receipts, and all relevant data will be automatically extracted from the receipts.

Process #7: Employee introduction and training

Task: RPA technology can help your organization and HR to fully automate the onboarding process, which means new candidates will have a digital profile as soon as they apply and receive a job offer.

Decision: As part of this digital profile, RPA software can trigger an automated recruitment process and ensure that candidates are updated with all business processes, compliance standards, and other regulations.

Result:

  • An automated RPA-based induction process can dramatically improve learning efficiency and adoption when combined with a well-designed eLearning and training support platform.

Companies Using RPA in HR

Several IT companies are introducing RPA algorithms into tools for evaluating resumes, sending letters after interviews, and finding potential candidates.

Beamery uses machine learning to help companies build productive relationships with candidates. For example, they can search for missing data for a candidate’s profile on social networks and fill in the gaps in a recruiter’s knowledge about a person. In addition, the software monitors candidates’ connections with employers and finds the most suitable candidates. The service can scale up hiring efforts without increasing the recruiting team.

Alexander Mann Solutions, a recruitment and consulting outsourcing company, was among the first to invest in Artificial Intelligence. The software creates profiles of candidates based on CVs and supplements them with available information from the Internet. The program then analyzes the data and identifies the most promising candidates.

The recruiter’s assistant automates up to 75 percent of tasks. A specially designed chatbot communicates with candidates, collecting information in the native environment, or using Facebook Messenger, uses natural language processing, and can instantly respond to requests without waiting for a recruiter to become available. If the application cannot find an answer, it contacts the person.

The creators claim that the bot constantly learns in communication and can rank candidates based on several factors, including qualifications and level of engagement in the dialogue.

RPA Implementation Case Study #1: SAP’s Economies of Scale

Here is another real-world example of HR robotization.

Preparation and distribution of job offer to applicants is a critical and responsible process for large and even more so international companies.

A high proportion of manual operations traditionally accompanies it. For example, SAP annually generates and sends more than 27,000 such letters. Each should consider the peculiarities of labor legislation in a particular country.

It was necessary to eliminate this routine, and robotization helped a lot here. Various systems and data sources are used in the business process, the roles of participants (hiring initiators, recruiting specialists, representatives of the head HR department) are clearly defined, and “manual” operations lend themselves to algorithmization.

As a result, an intelligent software robot with the necessary skills was developed and implemented in a short time.

RPA Implementation Case Study #2: Unilever’s Introduction of RPA in HR

Tasks were broken down into projects, subprojects, in turn, were detailed to the required level. This discussion was conducted in a workshop format – it lasted 3-5 days, and the result was a specific list of tasks that needed to be solved in a particular project.

For two years (2017-2018), the robotization of processes allowed them to reduce the costs of working with data, conducting dismissal processes, and processing payments for VHI – by only 82,000 euros.

Given that Unilever is a global company, ensuring that the work with foreign data complies with local legislation requirements is necessary. An important and challenging task was integrating the systems of the parent company and foreign offices’ systems. Historically, they transferred a significant part of the data manually due to the substantial difference in system interfaces. Robotization helped move away from the manual part.

What changed? For example, previously, actions related to the establishment of data on the dismissal of an employee in the local system took an HR department employee 13 minutes. The HR bot does the same operations, but it takes 3 minutes, and the risk of errors is lower. Across the company, this difference in minutes adds up to hours and, ultimately, money that the business saves tHRough automation.

Previously, the task of selecting interns was complicated for HR because applicants must meet a large set of diverse criteria. The recruiting process was slow and costly, with the HR department closing only 80% of business requests on time.

It was essential to increase this indicator in a short time.

What did the bot implementation experiment bring?

They collected 4 times as many applications, closed 100% of applications, answered candidates five times faster, and reduced the cost of this task by 35%. At the same time, it took only $ 200 to launch the bots.

We must say that they not only robotized the selection process but also made it more interesting for applicants. Those who passed the first selection stage were allowed to record a video presentation. This video message was organized with the support of VCV, whose service they have integrated into their HR processes.

Summary

No less promising areas for the implementation of software robots are finance and accounting (working with suppliers, posting, making payments, paying benefits, ordering certificates), supply chain and procurement (managing inventory, contracts, and invoices), and IT service (monitoring and processing requests, sending notifications and letters, monitoring and managing credentials).

RPA technology already has sufficient components for automating business processes, but it is also developing very rapidly. Today, the technology moves from simple RPA to IPA (Intelligent Process Automation). They already use cognitive software robots, which, based on trained machine learning models and neural networks, solve analytical and intellectual problems of increased complexity. Such robots can also work with optical recognition (OCR) technology to automate paperwork and image analysis.

Are you still hesitating? Find this info insufficient? Feel free to contact our talented RPA experts. We will analyze your HR processes, identify those with the highest automation potential and develop bots to boost your efficiency and increase your ROI.

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Michał Rejman

Chief Marketing Officer at Flobotics. Communication strategy consultant for tech and process automation buff. Remote work evangelist, surfer, and doggo lover.

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