Take it “Personnelly”: Intelligent Automation for HR: Onboarding

It’s become very apparent over the course of 2020 that current HR onboarding, and indeed offboarding, processes are in desperate need of being updated. It’s been highlighted to an extreme this year, but in reality, many organisations could, and probably should, have addressed these some years ago.

Remote working has highlighted onboarding and offboarding processes which have been far too reliant on manual tasks, in person interaction or have steps in the process that simply don’t translate when not in the office.

Why Automate Employee Onboarding and Offboarding?

Automating HR processes usually comes about as a result of organisations wanting to improve:

  1. Efficiency – Removing the need for HR teams to spend time on manual and/or unproductive tasks
  2. Error Reduction – Highly detailed work like running payroll, or compiling employee contracts means that even small errors can lead to big problems
  3. Employee Onboarding Experience – A smooth onboarding process is more likely to ensure a positive experience and help to reduce staff turnover

Effect of 2020 on HR Processes

One anecdotal incident reported to us over the last few weeks included employees being asked for ‘Right to Work’ identity documents upto 6 months after commencing employment. Employees had originally been asked to provide photos of ID during the pre-employment stage, a copy of the ID had made its way into the employee files. A cursory glance through the file and all would seem fine and in place.

However, new government guidance for Right to Work checks during COVID-19 meant that additional steps should have been followed, including a video visual check of the original as well as recording the fact the check was conducted under revised conditions.

So, employees were subsequently asked to bring in ID, on a designated day to head office or provide video evidence of identity over Zoom for one of the HR team to vet. All upto 6 months after the event. Not a great employee experience and if the company had been discovered to have employed someone without the Right to Work a fine of upto £20,000 per employee.

Another instance, this time around offboarding. In this case, the absence of a physical exit meeting had some serious knock-on effects. Normally, the exit meeting was used as an opportunity to collect IT equipment; laptops, phones etc. After the exit meeting the HR team member would return the equipment to the IT department with a copy of the offboarding form. Either a short walk along the corridor or a courier dispatch back to head office if working from a sub-office. The IT department would then, amongst other things, remove access credentials to core business systems.

With the absence of workers in offices, remote exit meetings were being conducted and it was discovered that for 3 months, IT equipment hadn’t been returned and was still with ex-employees. Furthermore, these same ex-employees still had direct access to critical and sensitive business systems. Internal compliance teams had then been involved and a costly investigation.

These two examples illustrate the types of challenges around HR processes and where manual tasks have not translated to the remote working world.

What is Intelligent Process Automation?


In essence, a collection of technologies that help to automate, integrate and manage digital processes to allow organisations to benefit from cost and time savings, process efficiency and deliver on digital transformation strategies.

You can read more on Intelligent Process Automation here.

How can Intelligent Process Automation help HR with Onboarding and Offboarding

Employee Onboarding

By using a digital platform it becomes possible to remove the manual tasks associated with filling in paper forms and tracking the progress of new employees through the onboarding process. By assigning a digital process, it helps to ensure that steps are not omitted and a real-time dashboard gives evidence to the HR team, or Managers, of progress to that point. Critical documents can be submitted and added to Employee records and alerts and notifications generated if something is awry.

Access to critical systems can be granted automatically and internal or external requisition requests can be raised as required for IT equipment and building passes. All leading to a smoother onboarding process that has followed an intended process and a better experience for the employee and HR team.

Employee Offboarding

By outlining a digital flow for the process, it becomes possible to ensure all steps in the desired process are followed and to provide notifications and alerts where things are going off course or not happening as they should. By adding intelligent automation for HR, tasks such as removing systems access and from benefits schemes no longer require manual initiation and therefore ensure they are conducted properly and promptly.

More information on other use cases for HR Process Automation solutions can be found here

Are your HR Processes Built for Remote Working?

If you would like to discover the value of automating your onboarding or offboarding processes, we’d invite you to contact one of our team who can share our insights gathered over delivery of many HR automation projects.


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