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HR Automation Explained

4 min read
factorial hr software

Technology is becoming a huge part of all our lives, and HR is no exception. Now that we can digitise so many HR functions, it can save HR professionals valuable time – if they know how to implement them effectively. In this guide, we’ll explain what HR automation is and how you can use workflows to speed up your HR tasks, leaving you with more time to spend on value-adding tasks.

What is an HR Workflow?

HR workflows are a way to streamline traditionally manual HR processes and save time on tasks. These tasks could include those in the onboarding process, expense reports or time off requests. The workflow involves a set of steps that you’ll complete in order to perform the task.

With HR automation tools, these workflows can be automated, which reduces the chance of human error. It also saves your HR department from having to do tedious manual tasks that take them away from work that adds value, like working on employee engagement or improving company culture.

Why are Streamlined HR Workflows Important for Business Success?

There are so many benefits of HR automation, but here are the most vital ones that help drive your business forward:

Reduce human error

Leaving HR tasks to automated processes reduces the chance of errors. No human is infallible, so there is bound to be the odd oversight every now and again. Implementing HR automation software stops these mistakes from happening.

For example, if leave requests need manager approval and an employee requests a particular day, the manager could easily miss that another team member is already on holiday that day. If they approve the other team member’s request anyway, it’ll leave the department short. With an HR automation system in place, it would detect the other staff member’s booked leave and decline the request from the other team member.

Save time and increase productivity

Save your HR team time on employee training, recruitment and new hire onboarding. HR automation helps speed up time-consuming tasks like updating employee records or sending out multiple emails during the hiring process.

Without these tasks slowing your HR teams down, they can focus on more value-adding, strategic HR tasks like succession planning or employee development.

Boost employee experience

You might worry that automating processes might reduce employee experience, but it’s actually more likely to improve it. Implementing HR automation gives your teams more independence, reducing the need for them to rely on human resource management teams for support. For example, if you have an automated system for paid time off, your team members can request dates without having to involve HR. This will speed up the time it takes to get their request approved, so they can book their holiday before that amazing flight deal disappears without their manager or the HR team having to do a thing – it’s a win-win!

Who is Responsible for Managing Workflows and HR Automation?

HR departments

HR process automation will work best when its management is in the hands of the HR team. While senior leaders and line managers should be fully invested in the use of automated tools, it should be down to HR professionals to research HR automation best practices and set up the flows that work best for the company.

Before you implement HR automation, make sure your human resources team liaises with staff from across the business. Ask all teams whether there are any processes that they think could be sped up or don’t need to be done manually. Involving teams in the implementation process can help improve employee retention, as your people will feel listened to.

HR Automation Examples

a member of the HR management team discussing how to automate HR processes on a group call at his desk


The onboarding process has so many tasks in it that are easily automated. Consider automating tasks like document upload, background checks and induction training; not only does it free up your HR managers to do more urgent tasks, but it can also improve staff satisfaction since new hires see how easy your company makes it to get started.

Information Management

As your business grows, so does your employee data. Remove the potential human errors from data entry and empower your staff to upload their own personal documents when things change. For example, if an employee has a new address, create a workflow where they can upload the document in your HR software which then triggers a ‘new document uploaded’ process for your HR team members to check.

Keeping all your employee data in one place makes retrieval easy, and also helps to prevent the mishandling of employee information.


You can automate offboarding processes just as easily as onboarding. Moving to an automated offboarding process ensures consistency and accuracy. While it can be easy to put off that exit interview, with an automated HR workflow it can be done digitally so you can still benefit from your leaving employee’s feedback.

Annual Leave

Leave requests are one of the easiest things to automate, and it makes a huge impact on staff satisfaction. Set up rules for how many staff members from one team are able to be on annual leave at the same time and denote blackouts for when no one can put in leave requests (for example, the lead up to Black Friday or Christmas if you’re a retail business).

Automating annual leave requests means that staff know where they stand and get a quick reply, leaving them to get on with their work rather than constantly chasing line managers to approve or decline their requests.

Automating Workflows With Factorial

Turn repetitive tasks into automated workflows with Factorial’s HR software.

  • Automate employee onboarding, offboarding and annual leave request processes.
  • Customise your own triggers to activate a workflow, such as ‘new employee created’ or ‘new document uploaded’.
  • Trigger document sharing with team members based on location, position or department.
  • Assign reviewers for each workflow stage and set permissions for security and confidentiality.




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