HR managers are responsible for maintaining processes that drive their companies’ success, and hiring the right people is a vital part of that growth. From applicant tracking to recruiting to onboarding, hiring the top talent is a full-time job in itself. Therefore, it’s crucial to have the right technology in place to turn those candidates into new employees seamlessly and efficiently.

While a recent GetApp survey shows that recruiting professionals who are using an applicant tracking system, or ATS, report benefits such as better-quality candidates and a quicker hiring process, only about 45 percent of total respondents actually use one. This disconnect is occurring because users don’t know how to unify their applicant tracking with their core HR to achieve a more automated and successful hiring process.

To get your ATS and core HR working in harmony for better efficiency, usability, and adoption, follow these three steps:

1. Eliminate Paper-Based Onboarding

The primary challenge HR and recruitment leaders face when unifying their ATS and core HR involves paper-based onboarding. Not every ATS or core HR system has onboarding capabilities or the integrations needed to automatically sync new employee data such as Form W-4s and verification paperwork. Manually entering this data into an onboarding system — and again into a core HR system — is time-consuming and can lead to costly errors. This can slow down the onboarding process, which could even affect payroll.

For example, if a restaurant hires two employees just days before a pay period ends and they fill out paper forms, their first paychecks might not be ready on time. In that case, HR would have to cut two extra checks outside the normal pay period to ensure the new employees are paid for their work.

The solution? Eliminate the paper by using a cloud-based onboarding system. Look to either stack your existing ATS with an electronic onboarding system or choose a solution that encompasses applicant tracking, onboarding, and core HR in the same platform. Either way, you will save time by eliminating duplicate data entry and the potential for errors. By shifting your onboarding forms from paper to the cloud, you’ll be able to take full advantage of an applicant tracking system’s benefits and a much smoother onboarding process.

2. Incorporate a Self-Service Component

Want to shift some transactional processes off your plate while maintaining employee data accuracy? The incorporation of a self-service component with your ATS and core HR allows employees access to the system to verify their own information. Adding such a platform provides a secondary benefit, as well: It helps train new hires to learn the system and sets the expectation that they will use it in the future for communication. Try introducing it in a fun, low-stakes way by setting easily achievable goals — such as meeting a person from every department — for the first few tasks.

A self-service option also allows employees to make immediate changes themselves. That way, if workers need to update their addresses or adjust their benefit enrollment status, they can do so without going through an HR team member. The HR team, in turn, can keep every employee’s data up-to-date without breaking a sweat.

It’s important to note that utilizing a self-service system doesn’t mean a loss of control over data. The beauty of self-service is it allows HR managers to delegate responsibilities while maintaining accountability. Employees are empowered to make changes and requests while HR managers keep control over the processing of those requests.

3. Monitor the Process From Start to Finish

As you’re implementing processes to integrate or unify your ATS and core HR, create a comprehensive checklist of best practices. This will ensure that all the time and effort you spend marrying these important components of your business will be well worth it. A checklist also produces an audit trail to make sure that all employee records are completely and accurately recorded throughout the process.

This best practices checklist will also teach your HR and payroll professionals to use the ATS and core HR correctly while maintaining employee records to the best of their abilities moving forward. To make sure you and your team never miss a step, set up your system to notify HR when employees update personal information such as addresses or marital status.

Move Toward HR Efficiency

Applicant tracking software provides numerous benefits, including improving relationships between HR and managers. However, many companies have yet to implement this tool for fear of compromising employee data syncing between the ATS and core HR.

But those who want a more efficient hiring process can do so by implementing an electronic onboarding system, adding a self-service platform, and developing a thorough set of best practices right away. Work smarter, not harder, by using the tools that will truly harmonize your hiring and HR processes.

If you’d like to learn more about setting up an ATS or other HR technology solutions, check out our free buyer’s guide.