Sep 17 2021

HR Automation in the Hybrid Workplace: A Guide for SMEs

“The emerging trend to “work from anywhere, anytime” has triggered new behaviors and ways of working. ”

by  Prabjeet Singh Anand, CEO, People Central

How we work tomorrow will not be like how we worked yesterday. Work has always been defined by workplace or location, but that relationship is now fast-changing.

Organizations face the challenge of managing increasingly complex business processes as the digital economy evolves. The emerging trend to “work from anywhere, anytime” has triggered new behaviors and ways of working. In this world of hybrid work, the unit of work becomes potentially smaller and more automated with multiple ripple effects.

Automation has impacted both our personal and professional lives. No industry has been left out of it. With fast-paced technology advancements, the overall pace of automation will further accelerate, and new automation options will continue to emerge across industry segments and functions. And the HR function is no exception to this trend!

By embracing automation, HR teams are in a unique position today to grow their capabilities to drive business transformation, thereby enabling a greater focus on strategic functions while emphasizing the "human" elements of HR work.


Intelligent HR Automation

IHRP's Job Transformation Map outlines that intelligent automation solutions will be one of the top five trends affecting HR over the next three years.

Companies are increasingly focusing on cutting-edge technologies for intelligent automation. Intelligent automation encompasses a wide range of solutions, ranging from Robotic Process Automation (which allows for large-scale & error-free processing of routine tasks) to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (which automate complex cognitive processes). Artificial Intelligence is also increasingly being applied for first-level query resolution in the form of Conversational AI Chatbots.


Benefits of HR Automation

The hybrid workforce is evolving, and HR teams must evolve too and learn alongside the technology. If HR teams embrace automation, it sends across a strong message to the organization of innovation and sustainability.

In addition, technology can assist HR teams by freeing themselves from manual work, thus saving time and utilizing it to focus on strategic aspects like workforce analytics and developing future workforce capabilities. This renewed focus enables the workforce to improve future performance and productivity.

Before embarking on the HR Automation journey

Here are some critical aspects that HR teams (especially of Small & Medium Enterprises) need to consider before embarking on their automation program:

● Should the entire job be automated? Globally, experts have advocated the approach of breaking down jobs into specific tasks and then identify the specific tasks which need to be automated to derive desired business outcomes.

How to identify the tasks that are particularly suited for automation? Tasks that are repetitive in nature, typically performed independently with mostly manual or require simple mental capability, are best suited for automation.

Does automation entirely eliminate the need for humans? If we categorize tasks based on the expected outcome related to risk mitigation or enhancing performance, then they can be classified into three groups:

○ Tasks that could be entirely performed using technology (“Substitute”)

○ Tasks that could be performed by a combination of technology and humans (“Augment”)

○ Tasks that are likely to be entirely performed by humans



Cloud-based tools to the rescue of SMEs

Automation has been viewed as a cost-prohibitive measure that simply put automation out of reach for many small businesses. However, with the development of cloud-based platforms, automation tools are now accessible to even the smallest companies.

Unified solutions like TimeCentral can help organizations plan, implement and manage new and ongoing workplace strategies that support employees as they adjust to a new way of working and identifying the specific tasks that return to the work phase.

Some of the popular use cases of cloud-based solutions in automation include:

● Communication - TimeCentral Mobile app is the perfect medium to deliver relevant workplace and health information to employees. The message board can support your employees as they adjust to a new way of working, from social distancing and safe places to work to HR communications and public health updates.

Social Distancing - From shifts and teams to rotated days or weeks, PeopleCentral Scheduler can help you manage the space and communicate workspace scheduling to your employees.

SafeEntry, Temperature Screening, Contact Tracing - PeopleCentral’s BIOTEMP – A Contactless Temperature Screening and face recognition biometric device solution; built with simplicity, speed of implementation, and client data protection in mind.

Remote Working {WFH} - With TimeCentral’s Remote Work Solution for Hybrid workplace, which incorporates features like Geo-Location with Geo-Fencing, organizations can reinvent their workplace strategy for the new business landscape

● Capacity Management- TimeCentral can easily manage the percentage of employees allowed to work compared to the actual strength.

Visitor Management- TimeCentral’s visitor management is another important aspect used during and post the pandemic wherein registering and managing the visitors’ access makes the workplace safer and traceable.

Incident Management- Empowers the employees in reporting an incident instantly via mobile app, and incident management is via the platform.

Auto Alerts – This additive feature helps make the workplace safer by auto alerting the HR if any discrepancies with the data.


Jump onto the Automation bandwagon!

Automating day-to-day workflows lies at the heart of a successful digital transformation program. If your organization does not already have a simple workflow automation solution, it’s advisable to look into one now.

Without Workflow automation, you’re still dealing with manual processes, in which case, the threat of being disrupted and becoming irrelevant is a real one.

The pandemic and the rise of work from home with capacity management and social distancing have reinforced the need for cloud-based solutions with mobile Apps allowing HR teams to do everything from communication and scheduling to remotely transactional processes.

To help SMEs enhance their productivity by automating their processes, the Singapore government has extended various grants to provide SMEs funding and support in this transition. As a result, it helps SMEs grow, expand and maintain liquidity by tapping those grants wherein they only need to pay 20% and the rest 80% is taken care of by the government. This helps SMEs to survive, sustain and at the same time not let their growth be impacted massively in this challenging time of the pandemic.

Biotemp by Timecentral on hrtech.sg Marketplace & 2021 Singapore HRTech Marketmap.

Prabjeet Singh Anand founded PEOPLECENTRAL with his co-founder in 2003 with a mission to create a hybrid workplace where people matter most. He has been helping organizations in their HR Digital Transformation for over a decade with a strong focus on Employee Experience, Employee Engagement, and Employee Well-being at its core.

As a founder and director, he emphasizes more on product development, innovative solutions, workplace culture, and market expansion. He urgently drives the business in South East Asia and Middle East regions, covering strategy formulation, building teams, and driving growth and profitability.

Prabjeet leads the Technology team and is the brainchild behind the innovative solutions that the company develops and markets internationally. Prior to this, Prabjeet has also worked as a Technological head for a multi-national organization.

The cumulation of his experiences, skills, and passion for innovation and digitalization has now involved him in developing solutions like WellbeingCentral and EngageCentral.

Prabjeet was also a Finalist at the SICCI-DBS Singapore Indian Entrepreneur Awards 2014, which is presented by the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry to recognize the achievements of the outstanding Indian entrepreneurs and also to promote entrepreneurship spirit. LinkedIn

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