How to use automation tools to boost business efficiency

Published on November 15, 2019 by Camille Brouard

Business efficiency: it’s something all businesses want to achieve, but ironically often don’t have enough time to focus on!

Automation tools can be hugely beneficial for improving business efficiency; here’s our roundup of the key automation software options you can adopt for more efficient business operations.

What is business efficiency?

Achieving efficiency in a business context involves implementing practices and processes that enable the company to achieve its goals with as few steps/resources as possible. Business efficiency helps you get the best results for your organisation at the lowest possible cost, boosting productivity, employee engagement, and ultimately your bottom line.

5 automation tools to improve business efficiency

Automation tools can have an initial expense for the organisation; however, when implemented correctly, they can help you boost efficiency to the point where you are saving money overall. Here we’ll look at five major automation software tools businesses can use to improve efficiency:

1. Task management software

Task management software is an essential solution for business efficiency in terms of how projects are delivered and how employees interact within your organisation, within and across teams. Keeping workloads balanced and projects on track can be tricky, with planning and communications often taking more time than the work itself – task management is there to lighten the load, providing a clear overview of each project or activity and an easier way to communicate progress and updates.

2. HR software

HR can be hugely time-consuming, particularly for SMEs without dedicated HR staff. Automating aspects of your HR admin tasks can therefore be hugely beneficial for business efficiency. With more traditional HR systems, such as paper files or spreadsheets, managers spend a lot of time updating employee details, chasing people to read and confirm documents, and calculating holiday entitlements. With an HR software system in place, parts of the HR admin process are done for you.

HR automation software is hugely powerful for business efficiency and productivity. Here are just a few ways in which an HR software system can help businesses become more productive:

  • The system can automatically calculate holiday entitlement for employees, including part time and variable hours staff, as well as new starters and leavers.
  • An HR system with absence trigger points helps remind managers how and when they need to respond to sickness events, such as a certain number days sick or instances of sickness.
  • Document management features help you issue individual or company-wide documents and track who has read and confirmed, saving time on chasing for updates.
  • HR self-service features take the onus off managers as staff members can keep their own information up to date, so fewer people need to be involved.

Related article: HR technology: measuring its business impact

3. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Recruitment is vital and exciting when your business is growing. On the other hand, it can also take up a lot of time, what with multiple CVs to read and applications to progress or reject. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) helps automate the recruitment process for you, taking care of the admin so you can spend more time on finding and onboarding the right candidates. Here’s a few ways in which an ATS can help with business efficiency:

  • Progress or reject applicants in bulk from an overview list, instead of sifting through emails and messages to get back to people.
  • Integrate the system within your website so people who apply for a role are automatically added into the system, reducing time spent on data entry.
  • An interview calendar helps you schedule multiple interviews for the same job, with the system sending appointment confirmation emails to interviews and interviewees.

What’s more, an ATS can also help you avoid recruitment bias, making the recruitment process more fair and rewarding for employers too, as you can gain a more diverse range of employees contributing to the business.

4. Payroll software

Payroll is another area where SMEs can benefit from a software solution. There are a variety of free and paid options out there, which helps businesses issue payslips and track tax contributions more efficiently and transparently. As a result, payroll software helps businesses stay compliant, as well as cutting down the time spent on payroll admin. The development of cloud-based payroll software has revolutionised the process, as now employees can access payslips digitally.

Note that there is a certain amount of crossover between payroll software and HR software; Some HR software systems allow you to export staff payroll details, while others other fully integrated solutions.

Related article: Is your small business ready for the end of the tax year?

5. Marketing software

You may have the best products or services out there, but nobody’s going to know that if you’re not marketing it effectively! As with every area of business, however, marketing can be very time-consuming with a lot of data to handle and repetitive tasks. Thankfully, there are a variety of tools out there to help you automate aspects of marketing to free up time for more mission-critical tasks. Here are some examples of software tools that can help boost business efficiency from a marketing perspective:

  • SEO tools: are you swimming in keyword data and not sure what to target where or how? What about keeping up with fixes for your website or looking into what your competitors are doing? SEO tools help you keep track of your search result rankings, domain authority, competitors, website health, backlinks and more.
  • Social media scheduling software: posting on social media consistently is good practice but can take a lot of time. Being able to schedule posts in advance means business-owners and marketeers will be less distracted heading onto social all the time with sporadic posts.
  • Email clients: when your mailing list of customers or prospects is getting unwieldy, it’s time to start using an email client, which can help you manage multiple contact lists and send out emails in bulk.
  • Customer relationship management software (CRM): the journey from prospect to loyal customer can be a complex one, particularly with all the communications that marketing and sales staff need to keep in mind. With a CRM, automation helps keep customers engaged with the right messaging at the right time.

Related articles

How to monitor and manage productivity for your workforce

Office efficiency ideas: how to improve office efficiency

Picture of Camille Brouard

Written by Camille Brouard

Camille is a Senior Marketing Executive for myhrtoolkit who writes on topics including HR technology, workplace culture, leave management, diversity, and mental health at work.

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