Technology provider and consultancy firm West Monroe Partners has been acquiring other firms, hiring new staffers and interns and growing at a rate of 20 to 30% a year. Needless to say, this has been a burden for its HR staff.

To alleviate the drudgery of entering each new hire’s name, address, new job title, and other personal and professional details into multiple systems, West Monroe designed Rosie—an HR automation tool that dramatically compresses the onboarding process. With Rosie, data entry and other tasks that once took more than half-an-hour are now handled in all of five minutes.

The robot also enters new hires into West Monroe’s ADP payroll and Concur systems, so a newly minted employee can request time off, submit an expense report and order business cards. The automated tool also schedules the new hire’s first date of work and alerts building security to let the person enter the building. Rosie, however, has its limits and does not help new employees sign up for benefits or the company’s 401(k) plan.

West Monroe began using the bot in September and has helped on-boarded 60 to 70 new employees so far. Headquartered in Chicago, West Monroe currently has more than 950 employees scattered across 10 US cities.

The onboarding process

The robot begins it work after a candidate has accepted a job offer, but before his or her first day of work. To kick off the process, a West Monroe HR staffer enters data about the new hire into a Microsoft Word document or an Adobe PDF. Rosie then searches for HTML tags, keywords and uses an optical character recognition tool to locate other relevant data. Once all the information is collected, Rosie uses it to populate the corresponding data fields in the various personnel forms and HR programs used by West Monroe.

Rosie is a standalone application that resides on an HR staffer’s work computer. Once it enters the data, the staffer proofs it for errors and omissions.

“Having the ability to take this administrative piece off our HR people's plate has been fantastic,” says West Monroe senior manager Mark Snyder. “When you think about all the things that HR has to do [to] help keep the firm together,” eliminating some of the data entry is “just a no-brainer.”

West Monroe engineers built the onboarding application, along with a separate invoicing system dubbed HAL, working in concert with UiPath, a robotics process automation firm.

Rosie was developed as a proof of concept for the types of RPA technology projects that the consultancy would like to offer to its financial services, health management and energy industry clients. While Rosie will most likely not be offered to customers of West Monroe Partners, Snyder says some of its core technology could be used in other types of IT projects in the future. “Rosie was really our entry into RPA. This helped us to figure out how to do it effectively,” says Snyder.

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