HR Evolution: Building Playbooks and Automation

HR Evolution: Building Playbooks and Automation

Published January 05, 2024

In the dynamic landscape of Human Resources, the evolution from manual operations to sophisticated automation has been both challenging and rewarding. This article explores the transformative process of building playbooks and embracing automation in HR, reflecting on the initial challenges, customizing solutions, and the subsequent shift towards off-the-shelf HRMS systems.

The Transition to Automation

Upon entering the HR domain, one of the initial challenges was grappling with manual processes for managing activities like leave modules for a rapidly growing workforce. The transition from manual to automated processes required meticulous planning, understanding stakeholder needs, and selling the vision of efficiency through automation. This journey laid the foundation for the adoption of HRMS tools and paved the way for future developments.

Customization in an Intranet Environment

Coming from a non-HR and non-IT background, the transition to an intranet environment offered a unique opportunity to customize processes. Collaborating closely with the development team, the ability to break down each process and build it from the ground up was likened to being in a candy shop. However, this customization freedom came with challenges, particularly in visualizing and documenting processes comprehensively. The necessity of connecting with multiple stakeholders and ensuring scalability was a critical learning curve.

HRMS Systems: From Customization to Readymade Solutions:

The shift from a purely customized setup to working with HRMS systems off the market presented a new set of learning experiences. Leveraging past learnings, the author approached the HRMS tools with a mindset of making minor customizations to align with specific organizational requirements. This transition marked a shift towards standardized yet adaptable solutions, emphasizing the importance of consistency in HR processes.

Addressing Gaps in HRMS Systems

Even with the adoption of HRMS systems, certain gaps persisted, leading to reliance on manual methods such as notes and Excel sheets. Documentation of specific processes, especially for onboarding, payroll, and performance management, necessitated a more streamlined approach. This gap became a catalyst for the development of playbooks, offering a one-time, easily consumable solution for repetitive HR processes.

The Emergence of Playbooks

The implementation of playbooks proved to be a game-changer in HR operations. By creating standardized procedures for activities like onboarding, exit processes, and payroll, the HR team achieved consistency and efficiency. The beauty of playbooks lay in their simplicity and ease of consumption, providing a quick reference for new team members. Moreover, the author emphasized the importance of scalability, sustainability, and maintaining continuity in the context of these playbooks.

Effort vs. Return: Maximizing Value

In addressing the concerns of the effort invested versus the return gained, the implementation of playbooks significantly reduced the time and effort spent on mundane, repetitive tasks. The streamlined processes allowed for better allocation of resources, freeing up time for more strategic and impactful HR initiatives. The return on investment was evident in improved efficiency, engagement, and a reduction in manual workload.

Looking Towards the Future: Automation in Playbooks

While the current approach involves manual creation of playbooks, the author envisions incorporating automation into the process. Acknowledging the aversion to repetitive manual tasks, the aspiration is to enhance efficiency further by leveraging automation to manage and update playbooks seamlessly.


The HR evolution journey from manual operations to automation, customized setups to off-the-shelf solutions, and the emergence of playbooks reflects the adaptability and resilience required in the ever-changing HR landscape. As technology continues to advance, embracing automation becomes not just a choice but a necessity for HR professionals striving to enhance efficiency, engagement, and overall organizational success. The author’s experiences serve as a valuable reference for technical and highly educated audiences navigating the complexities of HR evolution.

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