Automation. Does the term ring a bell?
It’s a funny little word that’s been buzzing for a long time, typically with its cousin, streamline. We’re all about doing things faster, better and in a way that doesn’t cause us headaches. “If only our ATS/HRIS/HRMS/Shoes could do that,” you bemoan, “then I’d have all the time in the world.”
“Yes, you would,” I heartily would agree, “because if EVERYTHING was automated, you'd be unemployed.”
People love the concept of automation, because they believe that if a system had automated workflows, emails, kisses and every whiz-bang module and add-on, they could press a button and their job would be done. Dispositioning is a waste, after all (like the EEOC), and who really has time to move applicants through a workflow? Recruiters have calls to make, people!
But if the system could do everything, well, we wouldn’t need recruiters. Heck, if you had a really tricked out, ‘Pimp My Ride’ ERP, you might be able to get by with an HRIS Analyst and call it a day.
“But Jonathan,” you cry, “we still need to be there to evaluate the people!”
No, you don’t. That’s what hiring managers are for. After a hire is made, you’re there to greet the candidate, smile, and make quaint small talk as you pass candidates over to who will be their superior. You don’t make hiring decisions; you just find people so hiring managers can do, well, the hiring.
Here’s my point, and it’s not to drag recruiters through a glass-littered road. Automation – indeed, any system feature – is not the answer to what’s ailing you. Systems are tools, and tools need to be used correctly and fit the job in question.
So what’re the benefits from NOT automating everything? What, you keeping your job isn’t enough? Fine.
1. You still own and control the process. It’s too easy to say when something goes wrong, “well, the system bungled it.” The system just bungled you out of your job.
2. You know what’s going on when the process is initiated. If you weren’t the one who set up the automation, chances are you’ve no idea what’s automated.
3. Processes remain flexible. The fact of the matter is that not every process needs to be automated. Over-automating your processes can sometimes create - rather than reduce - work for you.
If automation can fit your organization then kudos to you and go for it! You absolutely should and organizations are increasingly turning to automation, like applicant tracking systems. You just need to be cognizant beforehand that automation – and systems – are not the panacea for all HR problems and processes. If you didn’t have strong processes before, don’t expect your system to make processes for you, much less automate them. My advice? Make sure you're turning to a system provider that can be more than just a system; rather, a partner to show you the value of automating the relevant processes and evaluating other ones. Remember: your system is a tool, and tools need to be used properly to gain the most value from using them.