Why HR Professionals Should Learn to Love Robots

There’s a lot of talk about how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will eliminate jobs.   But the real story isn't about fewer jobs.  It's a story about better HR jobs.  And a better HR function. 

Robotic Process Automation is process automation with a sophisticated first name. It's a type of software that mimics the activities of humans by executing tasks within a process.

For example, when an employee applies for FMLA, an HR representative usually has to log into the time keeping system to look at how much time the employee has taken within the past 12 months, and then do some simple math to determine current eligibility. This is the kind of task that RPA is good at.

RPA can do repetitive stuff more quickly, accurately, and tirelessly than humans.  It frees the humans to do other tasks requiring human strengths such as emotional intelligence, reasoning, judgment, and interaction with the customer.

Data gathered at the SSON 21st HR Shared Services & Outsourcing Summit in May, 2017 contain the real story about automation, HR and HR jobs.  Let's take a look...

This optimism is based on two key findings:

  1. Automation is expanding HR’s Scope of Services more than it’s reducing HR headcount.
  2. Automation is increasing the need for knowledge-based workers in HR.

HR Robotic Process Automation will expand services more than reduce headcount.

According to the results, only 10.4% of organizations report that automation is reducing headcounts.  At the same time, 77% report that automation is enabling them to increase their scope of services.

While it is true in slightly more than 10% of the cases, the automation is eliminating jobs, the real story – in nearly 80% of the cases – is that automation is improving HR service.

But the good news doesn’t end there.

HR Robotic Process Automation will enable more knowledge-based work.

Nearly 70% of respondents credit process automation with the increase in knowledge-based work.  That’s good news, because knowledge-based work is what’s required for HR to contribute to the overall business strategy.

Once you peel back the futuristic-sounding name, Robotic Process Automation a more advanced form of process automation.  And as the data indicate, process automation enables HR professionals to do more of the work that matters.

Sure, there will be some FTE’s that won’t make the adjustment (from administrative work to knowledge-based work).  But the real headline is the more actualized opportunity for HR, and its employees to contribute to the business.