By Ira Wolfe, President of Success Performance Solutions

It seems like it’s getting harder and harder to recruit top talent. The unemployment rate is at a historical low, yet that still doesn’t account for all of the challenges recruiters face when trying to recruit candidates. In fact, the average company has a top-to-bottom funnel efficiency rate (from website views to hire) of 0.28 percent, according to a recent Jobvite survey. That means 500 candidates need to visit the website in order to make one hire.

Ira Wolfe—TEDx speaker, author, and HR visionary—believes that one of the reasons companies lose so many candidates during recruitment is due to HR’s reliance on outdated, costly and slow technology in areas that could be automated.

Take document management, for example: In our recent HR Daily Advisor survey, 62 percent of HR professionals reported they did not have a digital document management system. HR spends hours on their agreement processes—such as printing and mailing offer letters or collecting signatures—that could be done quickly and efficiently using digital tools. Waiting on signatures can cause a critical bottleneck in the recruiting process that leads to a poor candidate experience: 37 percent of candidates withdrew their application due to time delays and 27 percent of HR professionals reported document related tasks were the cause of a poor candidate or employee experience.

Here, Wolfe shares three core reasons why automating key processes and updating your agreement process help HR be more strategic, save time, and create a better candidate and employee experience.

Let’s get back to the basics

“For HR to add value to the business it supports, it must focus on solutions, not tasks. Over the years, HR has evolved into a task-driven function, consumed by paperwork, emails, and meetings.

More than one-third (38 percent) percent of respondents to our recent HR Daily Advisor survey spend 10-25 percent of their time each week on document-related tasks.

Much of the present day-to-day work is redundant, time consuming, inefficient, and unfulfilling. After all, no one ever dreamed about growing up and spending their days chasing down managers and employees for signatures, or answering the same questions over and over again. When everything is done by hand, it makes it impossible for HR to collect the real-time data necessary to make better more strategic hiring decisions.”

Reclaim precious time

“If people really are a company’s most important asset, it’s time to treat them that way. Many HR tasks and processes performed by humans could easily be automated. These manual processes divert HR’s time away from functions that machines can’t do—such as creating a strategic talent acquisition plan or building relationships with candidates and employees.

Forty percent of respondents to our HR Daily Advisor survey said the time it takes to manually create documents was one of their biggest pain points.

In today’s labor marketplace, there is simply no excuse for statistics like this: 75 percent of job applicants last year never received a response from the employer to which they applied and nearly half of all new hires quit within one year. The most common excuse I hear from HR professionals is that they don’t have enough time. Automation frees up time to focus on functions that matter and minimizes time spent on busy-work.”

Embrace the Amazon effect

“Amazon updates its software every 11.6 seconds in order to create the best possible user experience. HR updates policy and process every few years or longer. HR’s competition these days isn’t the company down the street who is hiring but companies like Amazon that leverage technology and AI at every possible interaction to improve relationships with customers—internal and external. A clunky career site, a long, downloadable pdf job application, the inability of the candidate to interact with HR, or a delayed response from HR creates a questionable first impression which for many companies is the last.

Document growth is predicted to increase: 65 percent of respondents to our HR Daily Advisor survey found the volume of documents they dealt with was growing at a considerate or out of control pace.

Automating your document management processes means when an application is submitted, you can program your system to send out an automated email thanking them for applying. Depending on your workflow, you can even use automation to help schedule an interview or request missing paperwork. Onboarding can begin concurrent with a job offer. Vacation can be approved in real-time, instead of getting buried on a manager’s desk. Performance feedback can be ongoing, not once a year (or never). At the end of the day, automation accelerates the hiring cycle which not only meets candidates expectations but allows companies to be faster and more nimble to close hot talent. This is especially important when companies are competing with the Amazons of the world for talent.”

Want to learn more about how automating key processes and upgrading your document management system can transform your recruiting and onboarding process? Check out our Guide to Digital Hiring and Onboarding.