Your Complete Guide to Automating Workflows for HR

With more HR professionals than ever before working remotely, more and more organisations are looking to HR process automation to boost productivity.

This isn’t to say that remote working leads to low productivity. In fact, the opposite is true in many cases. According to a September 2021 study, even just one day a week working from home was enough to boost overall productivity by 4.8%. Employees have, on the whole, responded positively to remote and hybrid work – HR teams included.

However, whilst workers feel more productive at home, they still experience a number of difficulties. Buffer’s latest State of Remote Work report suggests that one in five employees now work longer hours than when they were in the office, and a similar percentage have issues staying motivated. It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that these two factors could be related.

Struggles employees face working remotely


Process automation tools like HR workflow automation allow your teams to maximise potential productivity gains from new working patterns whilst avoiding burnout. With workflow HR automation, your team gets more done with less, and can shift focus away from repetitive tasks and towards more valuable work.

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What is HR workflow automation?

HR workflow automation is any use of software or tech solutions to digitise repetitive tasks that are time consuming for your HR department.

As one of the administrative centres of your business, your HR team deals with many mundane tasks each day. These admin-heavy HR workflows include updating the employee directory, manually sifting through CVs, approving vacation requests, expense reimbursement and payroll. This leaves room for manual errors and less time for work that really adds value to your organisation.

HR process automation removes these burdens from your HR function, so your team can focus on the meaningful tasks that will really make a difference and add value to your company.

The benefits of HR automation

Your HR team’s real value lies in the people skills it offers.

Designing employee onboarding processes, maintaining a harmonious workplace and running employee feedback initiatives all contribute to greater employee engagement. Engaged employees are more productive, stay in their role longer and contribute to increased revenues as a result.

If you free up your HR department to work on employee engagement initiatives by automating previously manual workflows, you will be able to realise tangible benefits across your entire business.

Automated workflows offer many benefits, including:

  • Real-time employee data analytics: completing HR processes online generates data that can be analysed for trends and insights. For example, you might be able to identify factors that cause employees to leave your company and work to correct them.
  • Reduced costs: you cut costs in real terms because your HR team is more efficient – they complete more work in the same or similar timeframe.
  • Greater employee satisfaction: granting leave requests sooner, reimbursing expenses more promptly, and reducing the amount of HR-based admin increases job satisfaction and affirms your respect for your team’s time, expertise and hard work.
  • A more human onboarding process: HR departments that are busy with administrative tasks have little time to check in with new hires. Reducing time spent on admin allows your HR professionals to check in on new employees more regularly, providing a strong first impression and increasing new hire engagement early on in the process.

Which HR processes can be automated?

Automated HR workflows can be used to digitise a range of administrative tasks across the entire function. Below are the main areas of focus:

Recruiting new employees

HR automation can take care of first-round CV screening and pre-interview rejection emails so that your HR team doesn’t need to spend hours on these tasks.

Onboarding processes for new hires

The onboarding process is the first impression a new hire has of their work environment. Save time with automated triggers for e-learning completion, collecting and sharing e-signed forms rather than paper copies, trigger business email creation and ensure ‘standard issue’ IT equipment delivery gets triggered as soon as an employee joins your organisation.

Leave management

If you’re managing the process manually, leave management is time consuming. You have to calculate each employee’s leave allocation, check each holiday request against the existing leave balance and circulate every approved leave request to payroll. Automating these processes makes all of this instant – your HR processes are quicker as a result.

Expense management

Filing expenses has never been easier for employees. The right HR automation software will allow employees to submit all relevant paperwork electronically by taking a photo of their receipt. The software then immediately notifies the relevant manager for approval.


Getting your payroll right is vital for employee morale. If you’re calculating hours worked, absences and leave taken by looking at employee timesheets manually, the chances are that you’re going to make a mistake at some point and either overpay or underpay your employees.

HR managers can automate this process with HR workflow software. This calculates pay for hours worked instantly, and automatically deducts leave and absences. The result is elimination of human error, and a workforce that gets paid on time, every time.

Payroll automation with HR workflow software


How to set up an automated HR workflow

If you want to automate HR workflows, it’s vital to find the right HR software to do so. Look for solutions which:

  • Fit your organisation’s business processes
  • Come with a range of out-of-box integrations with your other key business software
  • Allow easy creation of custom workflows alongside pre-sets

An easy-to-use form builder is the starting point if you want to create custom workflows, as it eliminates paper-based data entry across the department. Receiving all your data in digital format ensures that your automation tools are working with accurate data.

Final thoughts on HR workflows

Automation is now a must for HR workflow management. Ultimately, you don’t pay your HR professionals to complete basic HR forms and other manual tasks.

Workflow automation saves time across the entire HR function and increases productivity. You remove the burden of repetitive admin, reduce the risk of burnout, and free your HR team to focus on the human side of human resource management.

The results for your company include increased productivity, more engaged employees, and revenue gains that more than offset the cost of new software.



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