RPA trends in HR: Robots for a new HR experience

IT departments are already familiar with Robotic Process Automation and now support, including HR, is becoming interested in RPA to automate its business processes. Though relatively unknown, it is currently used by HR solutions to “chain” the payroll cycle, post-payroll and printing using robotics.

RPA represents a strong return on investment for back-office management functions. A new generation of RPAs that include bots can now meet the needs of end users in digital, multi-application and multi-channel environments.

RPA for an optimized HR process

RPA can be used in a situation where an employee has just gotten married and must inform their employer. Now such an employee simply needs to scan their marriage license. Using RPA robots, the solution will analyze and identify the document and extract useful data from it, then enter data into the relevant business processes and file the marriage license as a supporting document. Using recent innovations in semantics, robots can now recognize and retrieve data from a document used for HR (resume, proof of residence, birth certificate, etc.) and thus save a record in the HR information system and enter data in the payroll management application. This allows the HR department to reduce the risk of error by not having to manually enter the data. Integrating RPA in HR applications can help when updating employee records and collecting data.

This type of automation, based on artificial intelligence, allows HR departments to save time and focus on more important tasks and on interactions with people.

RPA for interactions between applications

HR information systems in the past had very few functions that interacted with other applications. Today, however, we need a wider and more agile functional coverage to meet the needs of an ‘extended HR’.

HR is increasingly using services from various specialized applications while focusing on an optimum employee experience. The ideal situation would be to ensure navigation and transfer of data from one application to another is done transparently.

RPA will now automate the interactions between applications and thus become the key tool for efficiency!

Interoperability and artificial intelligence for RPA

Automating communication between applications is made easy by the applications’ ability to process data and services via APIs. Interoperability is one of the powerful features of RPA since bots can function non-intrusively in information systems, which allows for quick deployment at little cost.

Artificial intelligence is another powerful feature, which allows bots to perform complex tasks requiring scripted thought processes or large amounts of knowledge.

The effect of RPA on people and how work is organized

A bot is a robot in the digital world. It is code that works with chatbots to call upon transactional services, such as Web Services and intelligent services, such as Cognitive Bots.  All these bots working together can be called the “Digital Workforce”. But they cannot act alone. They need people to program them and insert a knowledge base. Deep Learning (where bots learn on their own) is not yet available for HR, but is probably for the best in view of the sensitive data processed in this field. Bots and people can work together.

To handle this Digital Workforce, a Command & Control mode is necessary to control the active, emotionless bots. For humans and robots to work together efficiently, assistance for changing work methods must be provided. Traceability of the bots’ actions must be ensured to create trust. Delegating procedures are sensitive matters and must be implemented with caution according to the maturity of the bots. Whether or not bots are accepted will depend on how efficient they are in the tasks they are given and the trust they inspire.

A sign of progress with an impact on HR

Bots are new in the digital world and interact with applications like people do. This offers new perspectives, but also fuels legitimate fears. The inevitable development of this Digital Workforce affects how work is organized. It is better to anticipate and be ready to integrate and accept technological advances instead of suffering the consequences. There is currently, of course, a lot of mistrust concerning the uses of artificial intelligence in companies and especially in HR. We can also see AI as an opportunity to improve productivity, while focusing on core business and innovation.

No company will be able to avoid digital transformation and it is time to review the way we work and each person’s role.  HR needs to review and optimize business processes, determine the difficulties and areas for improvement to get the best use out of the bots.

An RPA project requires change control for all the human and organizational aspects…And HR should play a key role in this transformation.