Time to Automate: Managers Are Losing 8 Hours Per Week to Manual Tasks

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Human resources professionals are the glue that holds the company together. Not only are you tasked with key administrative processes like managing benefits and payroll, but you are also responsible for building company culture and keeping employees engaged. What’s more, you spearhead the hiring process that creates the workforce in the first place.

Large corporations can hire and onboard hundreds of employees of varying levels every year, including everything from full-time C-suite executives to part-time consultants. The hiring process can involve several hiring managers and dozens of manual tasks, including capturing applications, reviewing resumes, requesting references, and scheduling interviews.

Formstack recently conducted research  to better understand some of these manual processes for which managers are responsible, and the results are startling. We found that 55 percent of managers are spending eight hours — one full workday per week — on manual, repetitive tasks.

If you want your HR and recruiting team to be successful, automation is key. Streamlining some of the tasks and processes you and your team handle can make a world of difference for productivity and happiness.

When deciding to automate your hiring workflows, pay particular attention to these key challenges and solutions:

Too Much Time Spent on Manual Tasks

Think about this all-too-common scenario: Applications and resumes are submitted to the HR department, where they are printed out and given to the hiring manager. The best candidates are forwarded to a department head for approval, and those approved candidates are called to schedule one or more interviews. Eventually, an offer is extended to a final candidate.

This process usually consists of hundreds of emails, dozens of printouts, any number of sticky notes that end up on the floor, and at least two or three calls to the HR department — and that doesn’t even include the rejected candidates and the onboarding process for the new employee.

When you break the whole process down step by step, it is no wonder that nearly 86 percent of survey respondents reported at least one inefficiency in their workflows.

Digitizing these process forms can save your organization — and its new employees — a lot of time. Online forms are not only easier (and faster) to complete, but they are also easier to manage (think online database or portal versus physical file cabinet).

Information That Is Divided and Poorly Communicated

A majority of respondents identified three or more major inefficiencies or bottlenecks in their business processes. More than half (54 percent) of managers cited poor communication as their business’s most pressing challenge that needs to be addressed with workflow automation.

With an online onboarding workflow, team members can be automatically notified when candidates complete the necessary paperwork. They can easily access the paperwork in an online system and review and approve from their computers or mobile devices. The automated workflow tool can also be connected to other technologies to further streamline the process and eliminate manual data routing.

Turning your cumbersome onboarding workflow into an efficient, multistep, digital process is beneficial for new hires and your HR team — as well as for the business as a whole.

Unproductive, Inefficient Hiring Processes

The abundance of administrative tasks involved in hiring often takes time away from a manager’s ability to focus on strategic initiatives that drive the organization forward. This is often due to inefficient business processes and workflows that are difficult to track and measure.

When looking for inefficient hiring processes and solutions, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. How much time is currently going to manual tasks that could be automated?
  2. Are there any workflows employees avoid because they’re too cumbersome or require too many steps?
  3. Which tools are difficult or time-consuming to use — and which ones allow you to set up or tweak automated workflows easily?

In our survey, the respondents not utilizing workflow automation tools stated that ease of use, not cost or lack of leadership buy-in, is the most common roadblock keeping them from adopting automation.

Workflow automation tools exist to make life easier, not more difficult. Businesses that succeed with workflow management will develop solutions that can be easily scaled to add new employees, extend to more departments, or enhance functionality.

Given the results of our research, it is no wonder businesses are increasingly turning to workflow automation to streamline routine workflow processes across departments, whether it’s accepting job applications, scheduling interviews, or any of the hundreds of other activities that take place day in and day out.

But not just any solution will work. To be effective, workflow automation must be intuitive, easy to use, and most of all, flexible.

Given the widespread availability of online workflow management solutions, there’s simply no reason to continue spending valuable hours on repetitive tasks. It is time to focus on aligning HR goals with the workflow automation tools that can empower managers and administrators to create more efficiency and save more time and money.

Chris Byers is the CEO of Formstack.

By Chris Byers