The Surprising Way You Can Retain Talent During the Great Resignation: Business Process Automation

Blog written by Eide Bailly, a Greater Mankato Growth Bronze Investor

From flexible schedules to compensation and benefit packages, the Great Resignation has forced organizations to rethink the way they foster employee satisfaction and maximize staff. One of the simplest answers to talent retention is making sure your employees are satisfied with their jobs. Are they able to focus on higher-value tasks or are they spending hours (or even days) on repetitive or complicated manual processes?

Business Process Automation, or BPA, can help free your employees from manual, time consuming processes they hate and allow them to focus on work that is more enjoyable and adds higher value to your organization. This investment in making the day-to-day lives of your employees better is incredibly valuable. Whether it’s a process that takes 10 minutes every Monday morning or one that eats up three days, lightening the emotional load for your employees can drastically change the way that they perceive their employment experience.

What is Business Process Automation?

Business Process Automation (BPA) is the method in which you utilize technology to automate or optimize processes within your organization. One of the most important things to remember about BPA is that it focuses on process optimization. You can automate any process, but first you need to consider whether the process is worth automating in the first place.

It’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t select a technology and see what problems it can solve; you will be better served by deciding which problems you need to solve and then finding a technology that provides a solution.

How Does Business Process Automation Work?

From admin and finance to HR and marketing, the benefits of process optimization and automation are far-reaching. You will be able to find opportunities for process improvement throughout your entire organization. Take, for example, the hiring process.

Hiring a new employee is a process that involves many people. For the typical organization, hiring a new position starts with the hiring manager and flows through human resources for approval and salary research. From there, the process moves to the recruiting team to post, screen, interview, and conduct background checks. Once an offer is extended and a candidate accepts, it circles back to HR to close the position and transitions to IT to procure equipment and appropriate licenses. The process then ends with onboarding and training that needs to be coordinated to ensure a successful start. It’s a complicated process with timelines and multiple dependencies.

For one client, our team was able to orchestrate this entire process to flow seamlessly between departments using the software they already used daily. Their new automation functions as a “digital project manager” that is programmed to enhance the process and reduce inefficiencies. When someone is ready to hire a new role, they simply enter the required information in Microsoft Teams, which is then immediately transmitted to the HR department who receives a notification of what their next step. After those steps are complete, a notification is sent to the IT department signaling their upcoming tasks. This is all done by leveraging the software that the team already uses, so there’s no switching back and forth between systems.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is a subset of Business Process Automation created through enterprise innovation. As companies grow, they inevitably create technical debt— older, legacy systems that don’t make sense to replace, yet still need to interact with the new, cloud-based tools organizations are implementing.

RPA started as a (very expensive) solution that helped automate many of the repetitive, manual processes required to tie these systems together through the use of “digital workers” (also known as “bots”) and artificial intelligence. Recently, however, the technology has become more attainable for everyday organizations who suffer from the same problems as enterprise businesses, just on a smaller scale.

RPA is a stopgap solution for organizations who are stuck in the middle of where they started and where they’re trying to go. When it doesn’t make sense for the organization to spend two days on a manual process, but it also doesn’t make sense for them to invest tens of thousands of dollars on new systems or integrations, RPA can be the perfect solution.

How Does Robotic Process Automation Work?

RPA allows for a more hands-off, user-friendly experience. We recently worked with a construction company to automate their invoice approval process. Starting with a PDF invoice from their subcontractor, the automation we built scans the invoice, pulls out the needed information and sends the approver a message in Microsoft Teams. The approver is then able to see the invoice details, modify them if necessary, save the invoice in SharePoint, and then approve or reject the invoice.

Once the invoice is approved, the automation launches the invoicing application, uploads the data and saves the record. When finished, it closes the application and sends an alert that the invoice was created. The invoice is added to an Excel spreadsheet that logs every transaction.

How to Know When It’s Time to Invest in Automation

The traditional way of determining whether it’s time to invest in a technology has focused on numbers—by evaluating the balance sheet and seeing how long it will take to realize the ROI of your solution. But the Great Resignation has introduced a new metric into the equation: how does this affect employee satisfaction and improve the efficiency of your current staff? The ROI may not be as black and white, but the investment in your employees will go a long way.

New COVID-19 Guidelines for Keeping Employees Safe

FAQ on New COVID-19 Guidelines:

Here are our answers to the most frequent questions on the new COVID-19 guidelines and keeping your workers safe. Our goal is to keep your employees out of the clinic and hospital if it’s not necessary.

Q: When employees have COVID-19 symptoms, what should they do?
A: They should get tested at a local testing site. Here are some testing options. While waiting for results and after testing positive, they should stay home and isolate from their families as best they can. Treat mild symptoms at home with over-the-counter medication. Stay hydrated. If they have shortness of breath or worsening symptoms that cannot be managed at home, seek medical care by calling your clinic.

Q: Do employers need to require a doctor’s note from employees in order to return to work?
A: No. Please do not require employees to get a doctor’s note to return to work due to the volume of patients being seen at the clinic. A medical visit and note are not necessary to return to work and providers and staff are working to care for those who are very ill.

Q: When employees test positive on an at-home test, is it really positive or do they need to be tested again at the clinic?
A: If someone tests positive on a home COVID test, they do not need to get retested in a medical facility.  A positive home test means they have COVID.

Q: If you have a COVID-positive employee who is feeling better after 5 days, can the employee return to work on day 6?
A: Yes, if symptoms are resolving and they remain fever-free without medication for 24 hours. If they feel better, they can return beginning on day 6 and any day after. Remember, the day symptoms begin is day zero. If symptoms persist after 5 days, your employee should stay home until symptoms resolve, or at least 10 days, whichever is shorter. For example, if symptoms resolve on day 7, they can return on on day 8. When your employee returns to work they should be masked (level 2 if possible) until day 10. If their symptoms are not resolving, they may be out for the full 10 days and no doctor note is needed.

CDC Guidance
Click here for CDC recommendations on quarantine and isolation. The chart is easy-to-read and answers many questions on when to test, what’s a close contact, and how to calculate quarantine and isolation periods.


The Five Stages of Cybersecurity Prevention 

Cyberattacks can cost organizations millions of dollars and 2021 has seen the highest average data breach cost in the last 17 years. While it’s almost inevitable that you’ll someday deal with a cyberattack on some level, organizations who formed incident response teams and tested their incident response plans were able to reduce the cost of a breach by almost 40%.

With the broad nature of cybersecurity and a lot of ground to cover, many companies don’t even know where to begin. Luckily, a comprehensive, in-depth cybersecurity action plan can be broken down into five stages: Foundational Security, Policies and Awareness, Key Processes, Incident Preparedness and Security Monitoring. While each has their own unique benefits, a true culture of security relies on each stage working together for peak efficiency and protection.

Continue reading “The Five Stages of Cybersecurity Prevention “

Email, Phone, or Text – Which Is Best for Communicating with Customers?

Customer Texting is in Demand

According to one study, 63% of respondents said they would switch to a company that offered text messaging to communicate. That’s not surprising when 92% say they expect to wait on hold five minutes or more before speaking to a human being.

Continue reading “Email, Phone, or Text – Which Is Best for Communicating with Customers?”