What has Led to India's Interest in Workforce Automation?

What has Led to India's Interest in Workforce Automation?

Ravichandran Kanniappan, Senior VP & Head - Product Innovation, Adrenalin eSystems

Ravichandran is associated with Adrenalin since its inception, and has been at the helm of direction and execution of Adrenalin’s product development strategy so far.

Human resource management is as important as the people in any organization. This department holds the sole responsibility of maintaining cordial relationships between employers and employees while ensuring that both are positively contributing towards the functioning of the businesses, in parallel.

With artificial intelligence complementing all the major fields of technology today, human resource is no different. The kind of HR automation that is being practiced already, managers across companies are now able to collect basic data of their employees, analyze their performance objectively and gain valuable insights to decide their incentives and promotions. Not just this, they are even trying to get ahead in the game by altering the nature of human resource management with the help of AI.

The McKinsey Research Institute referenced in its January 2017 report, ‘A future that works: Automation, employment, and productivity’, that HR automation tools, for example, robotics and AI are incredible drivers of performance and profits which can help make financial surpluses and improvement in overall well-being of the organization.

As indicated by McKinsey, automation could fasten the profitability of the nation’s economy by 0.8-1.4 percent of the world’s GDP on annual basis; provided the manpower replaced by automation becomes a part of the workforce again. In a broader sense, the automation breakdown finds several opportunities among different parts of the economy and among the occupations inside those divisions.

With these technologies taking charge, it has become important to understand the motive behind the pace with which automation is being accepted by human resource departments of every organization, an area that solely deals with people and their emotions.

In order to understand HR automation, it is vital to understand the three ‘A’s attached to it, which reflect the levels of automation maturity that has already been met.
1.To Accelerate:HR processes are continuous and repetitive in nature. Everyday there is a new round of recruitment, orientation, paperwork, reviews, trainings, and the list goes on in order to improve consistency and scalability while ensuring high productivity, HR automation programs the task in such a way that it achieves the target without the wastage of time, money, and efforts. This ensures the entire workflow is automated, integrated and secure.

To support large organizations, robotic process automation(RPA) was introduced. It is about combining AI and machine learning and exploiting the capabilities of both to combat the repetitive tasks that humans have been performing traditionally. Leading companies in consumer packaged-goods manufacturing are deploying bots for their hiring processes, helping new employees join the board and taking care of their data over an HR information system.

2.To Assist: Artificial intelligence aiding the human resource management is the best and the most required combination for a huge organization dealing with
thousands of employees at a time. For HR, their responsibilities may include, not just limited to, the hiring process, drafting offer letters, writing job descriptions, and maintaining payroll and benefits database. Humans have been doing these tasks at their speed and in their own way before the introduction of the robotic process automation. With technological developments, one can see a potential transformation in the communication between HR and employees. Chatbots now answer questions instantaneously and are available on 24/7 on helplines offering an innovative experience than waiting for the HR to return to their queries.

This could mean a revolutionary step for fast-growing companies where offer letters, for instance, are generated rapidly and in huge numbers. These letters, initially drafted one-by-one, can be generated automatically with accuracy. Chatbots can help a great deal to automate the entire hiring process, from generating an offer letter to orientation. However, a series of accuracy and quality controls can be placed for occasional checks.

3.To Become Autonomous: Being intelligent was the primary objective of HR automation which has now changed to becoming a pro-active people-oriented strategy. Intelligent Automation (IA) lets machine to sense, understand, learn, and react, sometimes with human intervention but mostly on its own. This means, as opposed to traditional automation, IA lets machines to make decisions based on their own understanding of the data, or machine learning. It not only extracts insights but also acts in accordance with the understanding of those insights.

This function has a potential to transform the HR function, boost performance, enhance efficiency, and support technological advancement. As per a recent survey done by KPMG, IA will have an undoubtedly major impact on the society and jobs, yet offering benefits for the cost and time reduction amidst all this. The report says that IA can master one of the most important aspects of HR, talent acquisition. It can beat traditional processes,manual and repetitive in nature, by compressing them.

From learning the processes to upskilling employeesto redefining the organizational structures, IA can unlock the true potential of human resource management

If intelligent automation is deployed everywhere, it will play an important role in ensuring employees understand how to work around these technologies and identify gaps in skills required. For businesses, IA can create scenarios none of them imagined could exist. From learning the processes to upskilling employees, to redefining the organizational structures, IA can unlock the true potential of human resource management.

Human resource management is experiencing paradigm shifts and smart organizations have realized they need to embrace a more data-driven culture to surpass competence and ensure better retention of top-level talent. HR analytics has now become a necessary tool to lead. It (HR analytics) implies application of multiple analytic processes to the HR department of an institution, to improve performance and ROI. HR analytics is about collecting data on employee efficiency, providing analysis of each process, and using it to take decisions. The goal is better productivity and employee well-being.

As more organizations are turning to AI-based innovation for their HR divisions, the standard for employee commitment has improved. Gone are the times of back-office screening and time sheet following; HR jobs today are less centered around reiterating the same tasks and are about structure and supporting a positive organization culture and to accomplish objectives on an expansive scale. Yet, there is more to experiment and explore in terms of limits of modern day technology.