Automation Emerging as HR Trend

Jan 15, 2015

Everyone is doing more with less. As organizations try to keep their productivity per person elevated, process automation is creeping into areas that have always been paper and Excel based. The recession trimmed HR staffs, and new terms are emerging in response – most notably Six Sigma and Advanced HRIS. While Six Sigma has been around for some time in the manufacturing sector, a trend is emerging with more application to Human Resource functions.


Six Sigma, when done right, is an initiative for the whole organization, not just the shop floor. Technology must become an integral part of the organization’s culture as efficiencies are deployed. Customers (internal and external) are demanding information faster and technology is a solution to make this happen. Properly applied technology allows organizations to grow and become more profitable, and the HR team should be its champion. Theoretically, less time should be spent on paperwork and more time spent on developing talent.

This is coming at a time when HR is getting more complex. The ACA adds layers and the increase in DOL audits have pushed these initiatives to fruition faster. We all know that DOL audits are on the rise. It is no longer “if” an audit will occur within an organization, but rather “when” will it occur. Because of this, brokers are acting as consultants with the HR team to find ways to automate compliance as much as possible. One key way is by utilizing “compliance dashboards” to ensure HR data is available in one place to managers and supervisors when needed.

More organizations are investing in solutions across the entire HR spectrum, using technology that assists with everything from applicant tracking to payroll, benefit administration, onboarding, and performance management. The HR team of the future will need a balanced approach, using both the human touch and the mouse click. HR professionals will need knowledge of technology in order work in the modern world. This identifies another issue for employers, the need for training to fill the skills gap in HR.

Technology will grow in the future. Other applications in the HR world include a rewards and recognition system, organizational projects/initiatives, etc. To keep up, Human Resources must invest in training their team in HRIS and Six Sigma principles to ensure success. As with anything, change is hard. Communicating the need to change and providing support as to how the “new way” will benefit the organization, will allow for buy-in from the team and long term success.