Human resources departments in federal agencies face various challenges daily, including managing a diverse workforce, recruiting and retaining top talent, navigating changing regulations and addressing performance management issues. Workers in this field are also faced with adhering to budget constraints and learning how to embrace emerging technology.
However, technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence are transforming how the Office of Personnel Management and other government HR departments operate. In fact, IT modernization is a priority in the agency’s FY 2022–2026 Strategic Plan.
When combined with AI, automation technology can streamline employee recruitment, improve employee onboarding and enhance employee management. This can also allow data-driven decision-making, enhance employee engagement, provide personalized training and ensure compliance and security. This frees up time for HR teams to focus on solving more complex issues that may be impacting their organizations. Here are four areas where HR teams can lean on AI-powered automation to modernize federal human resource management.
Compliance and reporting
A key challenge that government agencies constantly face is maintaining compliance with federal regulations and reporting requirements. This can be solved with automations that can gather and organize data across diverse source systems, streamlining compliance checks, ensuring policies and rules are followed and quickly creating accurate reports. This feature lowers the risk of failing to accurately follow regulations and makes government HR more transparent, while also creating an agility layer to more easily deal with changing requirements.
Government agencies must also often generate regular reports about budgets, spending, operations, citizen requests, grants and more. AI-powered automation can pull relevant data from structured and unstructured documents across an agency’s legacy and modernized systems to efficiently generate designated reports. In addition, this facilitates the ability to nimbly and quickly curate new data sets for emerging analysis needs. This capability allows government HR professionals to focus on strategic activities, like employee career development programs, rather than routinely required administrative tasks.
Legacy technology, data management and analytics
Ensuring accuracy and eliminating human errors is crucial in HR management and this is an area where software automation can add value by curating data collection, integrating and validating data from multiple sources and systems. This capability saves time and resources by automating these processes while improving data quality and accuracy.
Moreover, legacy HR systems continue to present security risks, unmet mission needs, staffing challenges and higher costs for the federal government. Because software automations can replicate human activities, they can interact with data both in the platform and in the application layers. This capability allows automations to behave like humans at the user interface. Therefore, government HR employees deploying AI-powered automation can realize significant job enrichment by better leveraging their existing systems. This feature makes AI-powered automation unique, allowing agencies to use it without interrupting existing operations. And it lowers the requirement for IT engagement and coding skills.
Payroll processing and timekeeping procedures
Another aspect of HR management includes processing payroll, which involves intricate computations, tax deductions and adherence to shifting regulations. However, automations can streamline this process by assisting with data entry, accurately calculating earnings and deductions, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, and facilitating on-time salary payments across a diverse set of source systems.
In addition to payroll, government HR staff may spend a lot of time monitoring leave requests and keeping track of employee attendance. AI-powered automation allows federal agencies to streamline timekeeping procedures such as timesheet management, leave authorization and attendance tracking. Through pushing automation to the edge, agencies can empower employees to more easily manage these tasks directly and provide the capabilities to save time and eliminate errors associated with manual data entry.
Employee experience: Onboarding, training and performance management
Automating employee onboarding and offboarding with AI can make the transition seamless for new hires and departing federal employees. For instance, these automations can handle duties such as document processing, employee data collection and verification, which minimize errors, reduce paperwork and boost employee productivity. These capabilities not only help HR teams speed up the onboarding process but also free up more time for new employees to dive into their role and connect with their team.
Along with employee onboarding, effective training and development programs are needed to help employees improve their skills and keep a skilled staff. For example, AI-powered automation can make it easier to sign up for courses, keep track of when they are finished and make progress updates. These features make it easy for government HR departments to make the most of their training resources and keep track of employee growth.
Lastly, performance management is also a critical component of the overall employee experience, and automation can streamline performance evaluation reminders, feedback collection and report generation. AI-powered automation also frees government HR personnel from administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on more strategic aspects of performance management, such as coaching employees and developing talent. This helps HR teams improve employee engagement by supporting efforts to drive exceptional employee experiences that lead to greater employee retention and satisfaction.
In conclusion, by taking advantage of all the benefits AI-powered automation has to offer, federal HR departments and government HR professionals can modernize HR management in various areas to remain more competitive and efficient while enhancing the employee experience. This frees up more time for government HR teams to focus on strategic and complex HR initiatives while resting assured that they are effectively and efficiently taking care of more routine tasks.
Mike Daniels is senior vice president of the public sector at UiPath.