Much has been written about companies that invest in technology during recessions. They are proven to emerge a step ahead of those that don’t.
Such a strategy often starts—and succeeds—at the grassroots level of the organization. For example, individual business units or departments may have long suspected that a particular process could benefit from automation or other digital ‘tune up,’ yet they never had the time to address it when the business was humming along. While such processes were tolerated, they were rarely “broken” enough to warrant further attention when things were going well.
Why RPA should be on your downtime “to do” list
Yet when companies experience a slowdown—as driven by the current 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis or a financial recession—forward-thinking organizations see this free time as an opportunity to improve internal business processes. In the same way that many work-at-home employees suddenly had free time to clean closets and tick off their to-do lists this spring, smart companies are positioning themselves for success in the new normal.
“Can you help us automate?”
For example, one nonprofit recently described how their human resources (HR) team proactively flagged its recruiting process as a possible candidate for improvement with automation. While still in the very early phases of exploring Robotic Process Automation (RPA), the nonprofit’s recruiters caught wind of the project and approached the governance team to see if RPA would be a good fit for its needs.
The timing coincided with the COVID-19 outbreak when hiring slowed (as was the case for businesses around the world). The recruiters wanted to capitalize on their downtime to improve applicant pre-screening, candidate workflows, and other recruiting processes.
The team stepped back and completely documented the recruiting process, an effort that uncovered many manual steps and identified ways technology could help. This level of process documentation quickly helped the team realize two things:
- Its recruiting process could be significantly improved
- It was a prime candidate for automation with RPA
First up: applicant pre-screening. The team was able to use RPA to automate resume workflows and screen documents for important keywords. This was an important step to standardize the process for all the different recruiters and move qualified candidates through the hiring funnel much more efficiently.
The team is confident this project will result in significant savings, both in terms of time and costs. Where pre-screening alone once consumed half of each recruiter’s time (approximately 20 hours per week), they believe it will reduce the time needed by nearly 95% - down to just one hour per week. This should result in cost savings of $30,000 per recruiter per year, a number that grows exponentially when multiplying it by the number of recruiters around the globe.
The organization’s prescreening, recruiting, and onboarding processes are all much more effective now.
This will result in a new ability to attract and hire top talent capable of contributing to better results. In short, this one process improvement alone—thanks to RPA—has enabled the nonprofit to increase its competitive advantage as it begins to navigate to the new normal.
UiPath Automation Hub and UiPath Task Capture have proved critical during downtimes. Employees have been able to learn new skills while improving processes. UiPath Automation Hub enables the nonprofit to crowdsource automation ideas, while UiPath Task Capture helps document each idea more quickly.
What else can HR do with RPA?
Beyond recruiting and onboarding there are ample automation opportunities in HR. All the way through retirement and offboarding processes, software robots can help accelerate life for the people that make people operations run.
Learn more in our white paper "RPA for HR - Creating a More Human Workplace." Get your free copy.
Want to see how RPA can help your HR department? The first step in automating your HR function is building up your Automation Hub with RPA opportunities. It’s the best way to make the most of downtime.
Senior Product Marketing Manager, UiPath