HR Automation Software 101: How to Choose the Best for Your Needs (Including Multiple Examples)
Automation simplifies. Software empowers. HR transforms.
The question is, how do you choose the best HR automation software for your unique needs?
Let's navigate the sea of options and find the perfect fit.
This article will break down the basics of HR automation software. We'll guide you through the process of:
- Identifying your needs.
- Evaluating different tools.
- Making an informed decision.
We'll also provide multiple examples of top-performing software to inspire your choice (from employee onboarding to payroll processing to PTO calculations).
Choosing the right HR automation software can significantly streamline your HR processes and improve efficiency.
With the knowledge and strategies shared in this guide, you'll be well-equipped to make a choice that truly supports the needs of your workforce and your people strategy.
⚙️ What is HR automation software?
HR automation software is a type of technology that helps automate and streamline HR tasks, ensuring that organizations streamline their human resources management processes, saving time and improving the overall efficiency of the HR department.
The goal of HR automation software is to:
- Increase efficiency.
- Reduce errors.
- Improve accuracy in managing HR-related tasks.
- Enhance the employee experience by providing a centralized platform to manage employee personal details, benefits, and development plans.
👀 See our carefully compiled list of HR automation examples to see how HR automation works in the real world.
We also have an HR automation trends guide to help you understand its impact on the modern workforce.
These systems typically manage processes and tasks such as:
- recruitment and hiring;
- employee database management;
- benefits administration;
- time and attendance;
- performance management;
- learning and development;
- reporting and analytics.
🤖 What are the types of automation tools in HR?
Every HR department has unique needs depending on the organization and its employees.
It's why we're not going to give you a rundown of the best HR automation software solutions and instead delve deeper into the main types or categories of automation tools you can consider implementing at your organization to see better results.
🔍 Applicant tracking systems
An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps organizations automate recruiting and hiring tasks.
For example, instead of manually filtering, managing, and analyzing candidates, hiring managers can use this HR automation tool to digitize candidate sourcing, screening, tracking, and management processes to save time and money.
ATS recommendation: Zoho Recruit
Zoho Recruit is a suitable applicant tracking system for businesses of all sizes. It's packed with several powerful features that make recruitment and hiring a breeze.
The candidate hiring pipeline gives a panoramic view of your organization's job openings, including candidate status. On the other hand, source analytics provides a high-level overview of job openings, source of candidates, list of ideal candidates, and job opening performance on different job boards.
Robust analytics make it easier to track and optimize crucial recruiting KPIs.
🛫 Employee onboarding software
Employee onboarding software helps streamline and automate the process of welcoming new hires after they join the company and familiarizing them with how things work.
This HR automation software tool has several useful features to streamline paperwork processes, improve communication and collaboration, and standardize onboarding processes, facilitating a smoother and more efficient transition for new employees.
Employee onboarding software recommendation: Zavvy
Zavvy's onboarding workflow software transforms your 30-60-90 day onboarding plans and task checklists into automated, structured workflows. It allows you to manage assigned journeys to new hires—all at the click of a button.
Automated reminders ensure everyone is on track with their duties, preventing bottlenecks and delays.
An intuitive dashboard gives you an at-a-glance view of where employees are in their progress and measures their impact. Plus, buddy programs and learning courses further provide team members with meaningful experiences.
Disclaimer: We're extremely proud of our onboarding solution, but you don't have to take our word for it. Our customer's results clearly showcase the impact of our onboarding solution:
- Storyblok saved 15+ hours per week after introducing automated onboarding.
- Alasco dramatically reduced time to productivity – with an impressive 50%!
- Freeletics use automated onboarding to ensure that employees feel seen and cared for. The results speak for themselves: 100% feel supported in their growth & development from the very beginning!
- Awesomic automatically assigns onboarding journeys to new hires as soon as they sign their contract. A 96% average completion rate and excellent new-hire feedback.
🖥️ Employee self-service portals
An employee self-service portal allows employees to view and manage their personal payroll and HR-related information, making them less reliant on the HR department.
This HR automation software gives employees direct access to information they would traditionally speak to an HR manager or admin personnel about.
Each employee has an individual account and gets their login information. Then, through the employee self-service portal, they can perform various activities, like viewing their pay stubs and requesting paid time off. The portal also stores crucial HR paperwork, making them more organized and accessible for employees.
Employee self-service portal recommendation: SAP SuccessFactors
SAP SuccessFactors is a cloud-based human capital management software suite designed to help organizations efficiently manage global benefits and payroll. It automates standard HR processes, improves employee experience, and strengthens compliance.
Innovative and personalized role-based access to timesheets and proactive alerts and notifications keep processes on track and prevent delays. Employees can also access, manage, and update their documents directly from the software.
📈 Performance management systems
A performance management system (PMS) uses a set of technologies and methodologies to measure and evaluate the performance of an organization's employees.
It aims to improve employees' effectiveness and efficiency by ensuring they are aligned and actively contributing to the business's strategic objectives. This is achieved using three key processes: planning with goal management, monitoring with continuous performance management, and evaluation through process assessments.
PMS recommendation: Zavvy
Zavvy's performance review software uses the 180° and 360° feedback methods to identify employee strengths and weaknesses and accordingly develop improvement plans.
Once you customize the entire performance review system to your organization's needs, Zavvy will guide and engage employees throughout the process with little to no involvement.
You can also add a calibration step to identify your top performers and talent density without bias and build career progression frameworks and growth plans for your team to take targeted and meaningful action.
At the end of the review cycles, your employees will receive individual reports highlighting their strengths and weaknesses and a competency profile. They also can create action items for their growth plans directly from the feedback view.
⏰ Time and attendance management systems
A time and attendance management system helps HR managers and supervisors track and manage employee working hours, attendance, and timer. It's handy software for managing employee schedules and streamlining payroll processes while ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Time and attendance management system recommendation: iSolved Time
An all-in-one solution, iSolved Time offers an effortless way to track time and attendance. You get various features, including employee self-service tools, physical time clocks, and a mobile app for on-the-go tracking.
Other desirable features include geofencing capabilities, a choice of time collection methods, employee scheduling tools, and sophisticated HR integration.
While iSolved Time can accommodate any business size, it's best for growing businesses because of its affordable and scalable pricing plans.
🏥 Benefits administration systems
A benefits management system is a software platform that automates the traditional employee benefits selection and management process.
Instead of filling out seemingly unending amounts of paperwork, employees can choose from various supported benefits via digital systems, such as insurance plans and stock options. Plus, some solutions can automatically enroll employees in their coverage plans once approved, saving HR time and effort.
Benefits administration system recommendation: Zenefits
Zenefits is a cloud-based HR platform offering various features, including benefits administration.
It has a user-friendly and intuitive interface and offers a wide range of benefits management features, including compliance tracking, enrolment, reporting, and a suite of convenient communication tools.
Zenefits is a comprehensive HR platform, so you can integrate it with other HR tools and services, such as time and attendance software and payroll, in your HR tech stack.
💰 Payroll management systems
A payroll management system is an on-premise or cloud-based solution to automate employee payments.
This HR automation software can assist employers in managing and maintaining various financial obligations, including employee wages, loans, insurance, taxes, and deductions based on employee work hours and attendance.
Other activities a payroll software tool may offer are leave management, HR document and employee bank details management, personnel information management, and payslip production.
Payroll management system recommendation: ADP RUN
ADP RUN is a simple payroll and benefits administration platform for small businesses looking to scale into large enterprises.
Its primary function is facilitating payroll for US-based employees through direct deposit. Alternatively, you can have the payroll checks delivered to your business before every payday. Alongside automatic tax filing and reporting, this payment management platform offers optional benefits administration as part of its self-service platform for employees.
📊 Human resources information systems (HRIS)
A human resources information system (HRIS) is a software solution that uses technology to maintain, manage, and process HR-related policies and procedures and employee information in detail.
With an HRIS, businesses can enhance their people possesses, thereby improving the efficiency of both the organization and its HR department. In addition, most HRIS solutions have robust analytics, including modeling and forecasting, which enables HR managers to make data-driven decisions.
HRIS solutions help reduce time-intensive labor, simplify compliance, and accommodate business growth.
HRIS recommendation: Rippling
Rippling's technology combines IT and HR processes to drive HR productivity and efficiency.
This HRIS includes payroll, time and attendance, learning management, talent management, and workforce analytics.
As a result, businesses can connect every business system to a single source of truth for employee data, automating the processes needed to make employee changes.
Rippling also streamlines approval processes with advanced approval chains for hiring, termination, and salary changes.
🚀 Employee enablement platforms
An employee enablement platform is a software app designed to help organizations form long-term connections with employees while promoting employee engagement.
The main goal of employee enablement is to improve communication between managers and employees. This helps create a sense of ownership and responsibility among employees, positively impacting workplace productivity and innovation.
Employee enablement platform recommendation: Zavvy
Zavvy empowers employees to take control of their development and career growth by providing the tools, resources, and information to help them develop new skills, gain experience, and advance in their careers.
Powerful templates and intelligent automation enable your team to run top-notch processes on autopilot. Managers can also measure employee performance and take targeted action based on data and insights instead of guesswork.
Zavvy's best-in-class support is another distinctive advantage. You get access to proven frameworks to guide you through people development and hands-on support from experts, all at no additional cost.
But our most exciting addition to the tool lineup is Zavvy AI coach.
Admins and managers can use Zavvy AI to:
- Create competency models for their organization's various departments, roles, and levels.
- Create engaging micro-courses (you need to input the topic, the number of chapters, and whether or not you want to add a quiz, and let Zavvy AI does the rest).
- Translate learning content in multiple languages.
- Create a company-wide career progression framework in just a few clicks.
- Formulate their feedback more constructively.
Team Zavvy is already taking advantage of AI-empowered training creation and loving it!
Employees can use Zavvy AI:
- To define action items for their growth plan.
- To formulate feedback more constructively (when reviewing their peers and managers).
- Ask for career advice and tips (especially using our Slack AI Assistant).
🏆 11 HR automation software benefits
HR automation software is revolutionizing the way HR departments operate. Here are its key benefits for your organization:
- reduced time in resource investment on performing administrative tasks;
- improved visibility into HR and people teams;
- easier organization-wide collaboration with less friction and bottlenecks;
- more efficient workflows;
- reduced cost of human error;
- more straightforward talent attraction process;
- enhanced employee experience;
- higher employee satisfaction;
- strategic decision-making with robust data analysis;
- higher employee retention;
- simplified compliance management.
💪 Build a strong workforce of loyal employees with our proven employee retention best practices.
🧰 9 Essential HR automation software features
Every HR automation software solution is designed to serve a specific need.
Considering this, we won't give you a generalized list of good-to-have features.
Instead, we'll categorize them by their positive impact to help you prioritize features based on your unique needs.
Features that improve the employee experience
- Onboarding automation: Providing a streamlined onboarding process is one of the most impactful ways to improve the employee experience. With HR automation software, you can automate various related tasks, such as collecting and processing new hire paperwork, sending automated welcome emails, and scheduling orientation sessions, among others, to make new hires feel welcomed and become productive quickly.
- Self-service portal: It allows employees to access their personal information and manage their data. For instance, they can change their profile, view pay stubs, request time off, and enroll in benefits—all without HR personnel. This feature empowers employees to take control of their work life, ensuring a better experience.
- Mobile accessibility: The modern workspace is becoming increasingly mobile. If you have remote team members or employees who travel frequently, invest in an HR software automation tool accessible on mobile devices. This way, employees can access information and perform tasks from anywhere, making it easier to manage their work-life balance and stay engaged in their work.
Features that enable people teams
- Recruitment automation: Recruitment automation software reduces hiring time by automating tedious tasks like resume screening, interview scheduling, and candidate communication. This leaves your HR personnel more time to focus on the strategic aspects of recruitment, such as building relationships with passive candidates and developing a stronger employer brand.
- Performance management: HR automation software automates various tasks to facilitate effective performance management, allowing managers to easily send and receive feedback, set performance goals, and track results. This leads to more consistent and objective performance reviews, helping employees improve their performance and career growth.
- Workflow automation: Automating HR workflows boosts team efficiency and saves time, allowing HR teams to focus on strategic initiatives rather than administrative tasks. The other benefits your team will appreciate are the reduced risk of errors and improved consistency across the organization.
Features that drive business strategy
- Reporting and analytics: HR automation software with robust reporting and analytics capabilities enables HR teams to track key metrics and make data-driven decisions to improve retention, engagement, and productivity. They can use the feature to identify trends, anticipate future needs, and optimize existing processes and strategies to support the business and its employees better.
- Compliance management: HR automation software with compliance management is the easiest way to ensure compliance with the local, state, and federal labor laws and regulations that apply to your business and industry. These solutions can automate tasks, such as tracking work hours, managing overtime, and maintaining employee records, which helps reduce the risk of costly penalties and legal issues that may arise from non-compliance.
- Integration compatibility: HR automation software that can integrate with other business systems like finance, sales, and operations allows you to connect your HR data with other business data. This allows for comprehensive analysis and insights, helping you make sound business decisions.
🕵️♀️ How to choose the best HR automation software for your needs?
Admittedly, choosing the best HR automation software can be daunting, especially with the wide range of available options.
When evaluating solutions, here are six factoes you should consider.
Look for an HR automation software solution with a low-code or no-code platform.
Low-code solutions allow you to customize the solution to meet the specific needs of your HR department, even if you don't have extensive programming knowledge. You can easily create and modify workflows and forms as you like.
You need a scalable HR automation solution when you're part of a growing organization.
A scalable tool can grow and adapt as your business grows so you don't outgrow your software too quickly and need to switch to a new system.
Consider HR automation software with a suite of in-built tools instead of getting individual solutions for each HR process. The former can connect all tasks and subtasks of the talent management process, streamlining operations, reducing friction, and improving efficiency.
Look for an HR automation software tool that offers robust analytics and reporting.
Advanced people analytics will offer valuable insights into your workforce and make data-driven talent management, retention, and recruitment decisions.
Security and compliance
Ensure the HR automation software complies with data protection laws and regulations like the GDPR.
Another important consideration is to pick a solution with robust security features to keep your data safe and protected at all times.
Choose an HR automation software tool that offers seamless integrations with other HR tools and systems within your tech stack. Solutions with API integrations also allow you to connect your HR automation software with other tools you may already use.
This is an often overlooked but important feature that enables you to share data across different platforms and prevent data silos.
You can invest in an all-in-one suite for comprehensive support to improve all your HR processes, or you can take a modular approach by only picking the tools you need.
🕵️♀️ Check out our guides for the best HR tools for growing businesses and HR tools for small businesses to see dedicated software recommendations.
➡️ Automate your people processes with Zavvy
Zavvy is a holistic solution for enabling employees by streamlining onboarding, training, development, and communication.
Here's a detailed breakdown of Zavvy's key features:
- Streamlined preboarding and onboarding with ready-to-use templates, journey builders, onboarding buddies, spaced content delivery, and creative assignments.
- In-depth and customizable training through microlearning, admin management, progress analytics, ready-to-use training templates, and an external training library with hundreds of resources curated from multiple providers.
- Valuable feedback and development through employee survey templates, growth plans, 360 feedback builder, performance reviews, multiple role descriptions, automated reminders, and career framework templates.
- Connections through Slack or Microsoft Teams employee introduction, coffee chats, walking meetings, reminders, check-ins, and science-based talking point templates.
📅 Schedule a free demo to discover how Zavvy will take your people processes to the next level.
Can HR be fully automated?
HR functions can be fully or partially automated. Still, if we talk about a complete takeover, there will always be a need for complex human interaction in HR, preventing machines from completely taking over.
- Human element: HR is fundamentally about managing people processes, which are complex. For instance, while an AI can help screen resumes or manage scheduling, it cannot effectively negotiate interpersonal conflicts, make nuanced judgment calls, or provide the same level of empathy and understanding as a human.
- Legal and ethical decisions: HR professionals must make legal and ethical decisions that require a deep understanding of complex regulations and moral principles. AI can help provide information or recommendations, but ultimately, these decisions need to be made by humans.
- Creativity and strategy: While AI can analyze data and provide insights, it cannot develop the creative strategies and innovative ideas human HR professionals can. This is particularly relevant in areas such as talent management and organizational development.
- Personalized support: HR professionals provide personalized support to employees, such as career development advice and mental health support. This level of personalization and empathy is currently beyond the capabilities of AI.
Which software is best for HR automation?
Zavvy is the best HR automation software, enabling employees to grow, perform, and enjoy their work. HR managers can also use the tool to automate various HR functions, including onboarding and preboarding, training and knowledge, development and skills, and performance and feedback.
And the addition of Zavvy will be a game changer for any people team!