HR is about taking care of people.That means helping people navigate the various stages of the employee journey, as well as making sure the business has the right talent to meet its strategic goals. 


In order to balance these two primary objectives, HR teams have to be nimble, adaptive, and efficient. They need processes and tools that make their work as simple as possible, so that they can focus on what really matters: relationships. 

In this article, we explore the 11 human resources processes that are most critical for the success of any business. We also consider some of the ways these processes can be optimized to help you deliver exceptional employee experiences and set your company up for success. 

What is an HR process?

A human resources process is a way of bringing consistency and visibility to a common function of the HR department. This consistency makes it easier for employees to interact with their HR teams and helps HR managers respond to employees with timeliness and accuracy. (It also makes life easier for those HR professionals, who might be used to receiving requests via email.)

Improving these processes is usually the responsibility of the HR specialist or manager. This improvement requires adapting the process in order to:

  • Create positive employee experiences

  • Reduce errors and improve accuracy

  • Improve response times

  • Enhance visibility & control

  • Make the processes more user-friendly

  • Reduce process friction

  • To improve their human resources processes, HR managers may leverage common tools such as forms, visualizations (flow charts or support documents), or software that automates some or all of the process. Connecting processes and integrating tools is essential to achieve all goals previously mentioned.

    What is HRM, or human resources management, and why is it important?

    HR processes are wide-ranging and touch many different segments of your business. Human resources management, or HRM, is a strategic approach to overseeing all the people and processes that help your business run. 


    Without a system to manage these processes, your HR team can become overwhelmed by a sense of disorder, repetition, and a lack of consistency. While there are many benefits to effectively managing your human resources processes, three are most common: 

    • More efficient and effective processes. This is the primary goal of BPM. Improving the time to complete processes impacts many aspects of the business. Whether it’s getting a product out the door faster or getting valuable employees in the door faster, BPM facilitates the achievement of business goals and leads to improved organizational performance.


    • Improved customer satisfaction and service. Today’s consumer expects to buy and receive the right product with reliable, fast delivery. BPM can improve the business processes that meet and exceed customer expectations.


    • Higher employee morale. Automating processes is a key part of BPM that can relieve employees of mundane, repetitive tasks that nobody finds to be rewarding. Forms and process flows can be automated so that minimal input is required from workers. Automating the routing of forms, requests, and approvals can free up employees to do more productive work.

    11 key processes in human resources management

    There are many human resources processes that your team will manage, and they will change in response to your company’s growth, government regulations, and trends in the industry competition.


    Some of them are likely changing now, as HR teams adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing return to work initiatives. But there are 11 key human resources processes that every HR team must manage well for the health of your employees, and the success of your business. 

    1. Recruitment

    Recruitment is the process of attracting qualified candidates to interview with (and potentially work for)  your company. Your HR specialists own all the necessary steps to recruit talent. This includes posting jobs on sites such as Monster or Indeed and developing compensation packages that are likely to attract and retain the most talented candidates. 

     It’s essential that these steps be tracked through a centralized platform that can standardize a process in which a lot of information is gathered, and can potentially be lost.

    HR must also review each application, determine the best fit, conduct phone screens, schedule (and sometimes conduct) formal interviews, initiate background checks, and draft initial offers.

    2. Retention

    According to recent research, the transition to remote work has made it more difficult to retain quality employees. In one survey, 58% of respondents said they would look for new work if not allowed to continue working remotely. In another, researchers estimated that 41% of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer in the next year. As a result, 70% of business leaders in another survey say they are reevaluating their recruitment and retention strategies as they prepare to return to the office. 


    All of this signals challenges ahead for HR departments as they retool their strategies for retaining current talent and recruitment. It's likely that these processes will evolve in order to accommodate what some HR leaders are calling a "war for talent."

    3. Onboarding

    Onboarding is the process of integrating newly-hired employees into the company. More comprehensive than orientation, this process usually takes place over the course of a year. 

    During onboarding, employees are introduced to the abundance of resources they’ll need to succeed, e.g., role descriptions, performance expectations, and required training. These logistics are always handled by HR personnel. 

    The amount of variation required in the onboarding process (different roles, requirements, security clearances, etc.) necessitates managing it in an organized fashion. Employee onboarding templates can be leveraged to standardize steps within the process and ensure everyone is on the same page about the schedule and responsibilities.

    The onboarding process is necessary for empowering employees with the capability to contribute to organizations. In fact, at one company, employees who went through a structured onboarding process were 69% more likely to stay for up to 3 years.

    Example of an employee onboarding process (swimlane diagram)

    Employee onboarding swimlane diagram

    4. Offboarding

    Offboarding is sometimes overshadowed by the onboarding process, but the departure process for employees can make a big difference in 1) minimizing disruption 2) maintaining a positive employee experience and 3) protecting the company's reputation as a desirable employer. 

    5. Training & development 

    Along with retention, employee training has undergone many changes since the COVID-19 pandemic began. More changes are on the horizon.


    There are two main reasons why the employee training process will require extra attention and better organization moving forward.


    First, much of the training that was once done in-person now has to be handled remotely. That means new tools and new workflows to manage.  


    Second, the pandemic changed how we work, where we work, and in some cases, who we work with. That likely means revised or additional training for many teams. According to one report, business leaders expect to invest a range of initiatives in the coming months including diversity, equity, and inclusion (65%), relationship building (55%), and professional development and training (39%). 

    6. Employee relations

    Employee relations are comprised of all the HR activities geared towards employee engagement and employee retention. Employee engagement, to put it simply, is a measure of how invested employees are in the company. Employee retention involves creating measures to ensure employees are satisfied in their jobs. 

    Healthy employee relations is critical for decreasing the employee turnover rate. Ideally, HR teams use quantitative and qualitative means of measuring employee engagement and its effect on retention. These methods are different forms of creating bi-lateral interactions between employees and their employers to ensure they’re engaged, which is one of the main aspects of employee relations. 

    These different approaches, which may involve issuing various forms of surveys with quantitative responses or simply requiring employees to sign off on policies after reading them, need a uniform means of implementing and studying their effects, which HR process management software provides. 

    7. Compensation and benefits

    Compensation and benefits are the two main forms of external motivation to attract employees and retain them. HR is directly responsible for officially offering compensation and benefits packages, like health, dental, and retirement plans, to each employee. Doing so requires gauging the salaries and benefits packages of other employees within the organization in similar positions, as well as those outside the organization. 

    It also involves annual evaluations of employee performances which becomes the basis for increasing salary and benefits packages or possibly augmenting them with bonuses. In fact, the wide array of different benefits alone requires a comprehensive means of managing this HR process; various salaries and bonuses only add to its overall complexity.

    8. Time off requests

    Employees submit vacation and leave requests when they need time off. HR is tasked with keeping track of how much time employees have and how much more they accrue through different means. Managing this manually can be tedious and error-prone and, thus, is usually done through automated means. 

    These requests become much easier to resolve and track when they’re managed in a uniform manner, such as through detailed forms or an employee portal. An organization’s ability to accommodate those requests for life events, such as childbirth, illnesses, bereavement, and more, is critical to maintaining employee satisfaction.

    9. Performance management

    Performance management is the process of gauging how well employees are doing their jobs and devising ways to help them improve it. Often done on a yearly basis, HR departments are tasked with managing, evaluating, crediting, and addressing each aspect of the performance management process

    At a minimum, this task requires getting approval to initiate performance management programs, issuing evaluation forms, managing organization progress on evaluations, and implementing the results into salaries, benefits, and bonuses. Because there are so many highly differentiated steps involved in this process, it needs formal management measures that are replicable and able to scale throughout an organization. 

    10. Regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance processes are centered around ensuring organizations and their employees follow the many different regulatory mandates that pertain to them. Regulations generally vary by industry, regulating body, location, and type of work performed.

    HR departments are responsible for promulgating the specific activities that need to take place across business units for ensuring organizations remain compliant. The broad scope of these regulations, the ever-expanding number of regulatory entities and their mandates, and increasingly severe penalties for non-compliance necessitate managing compliance processes extremely carefully.

    11. HR planning

    Human resources planning (HRP) is the identification and management of all of an organization’s hiring needs. It involves accounting for an organization’s HR supply, future demands, forecasting, strategy, and implementation. To be effective, HR must balance long and short term staffing needs with business goals and the realities of the business climate. 

    Ideally, factors affecting HRP should be integrated in HR process management software. Often companies use SWOT analysis or forecasting tools to uncover their needs.

    Why you should consider automating your HR processes

    Effective HR departments drive organizational objectives by managing HR processes but can compromise growth by using manual methods. Repetitive, multi-step tasks and manual interactions among tools are highly prone to human errors and inefficiencies that delay time to action.

    Automation and integration can eliminate those risks, giving HR teams more time to focus on other priorities. The result is an HR team that can visualize all processes in a single place, prioritize important demands and manage its responsibilities while putting employees first.

    Focus on people, not paperwork

    Successful HR managers know that it’s their job to take care of people, not just paperwork. After all, employees are your business’ most valuable asset. Their happiness and well being have a direct impact on customer satisfaction, process efficiency, and business profitability. HR process automation and integration allows you to shift your focus away from the minutiae of forms, emails, and spreadsheets and toward making a meaningful impact for the people in your organization.

    Improve visibility and control

    To enhance visibility and control, it’s essential to integrate tools and automate manual and repetitive tasks.

    Automation allows organizations to create KPIs around important metrics—such as turnover rates—and offer different choices for creating reports around this data to automate information delivery processes for HR planning. By using tools that automatically send and reply to emails, organizations can standardize and speed up aspects of leave requests, vacation requests, employee onboarding, and employee relations. 

    They can also pipeline processes related to recruitment—such as sending feedback to candidates when business cards are received—to spend more time on choosing the best candidate instead of just trying not to miss potential opportunities.

    Better HR processes for everyone

    HR plays a critical role in ensuring business success. Giving your HR team the tools they need to be effective and efficient is one way you can make a direct and visible impact in your company. 

    By making improvements to the 8 key HR processes, you’ll be eliminating waste and redundancy, improving response speeds, and creating a more productive work environment. Most importantly, you’ll be refocusing time and energy so that your team can take care of the people that make your company a success. 

    Pipefy makes it easy to streamline and organize your HR processes. Standardize forms, integrate tools, and enable end-to-end visibility. Get started today.

    Learn why companies choose Pipefy to optimize HR processes and create better employee experiences

    HR processes are wide-ranging and touch many different segments of your business. Without a system to manage these processes, your HR team can become overwhelmed by a sense of disorder, repetition, and a lack of consistency.