The hidden costs of delaying workforce compliance automation

businessman analyzing annual business report

If you were to ask the average HR administrator about the main cost of manual compliance management, it’s likely they would say “wasted time”; time spent manually entering data line-by-line into a spreadsheet, chasing employees up for certification renewals and time on the phone to relevant agencies.

Time, as the saying goes, is money. Research firm IDC found that inefficiency costs companies an eye-watering 20% to 30% of their annual revenue. In addition, employees wasting time on tasks that could be done much faster with automation means they are neglecting other projects that could potentially generate more value for the organisation.

But wasted time isn’t the only cost involved in manual workforce compliance management. Below, we list some of the other costs stemming from compliance inefficiencies.

Data errors

Human error occurs when people get tired, distracted, inattentive, or (let’s face it) bored with repetitive tasks. A tiny error can lead to expensive consequences: Gartner estimates that poor data quality costs organizations an average of $12.9 million per year.

The risks of having data quality issues are compounded in organisations that use manual processes. According to an Opin study, single-keyed data (entered without a verification step) has an error rate as high as 4%. This is more significant than it may sound – for example, an organization with 10,000 workforce compliance data points can expect 400 to contain errors.

Other costs that can flow from poor workforce compliance data include lower-quality decision making (based on unreliable data), uncertified/unqualified workers putting themselves and their colleagues at risk, and fines or other penalties when mistakes are made.

Project delays

With manual processes taking much longer than automated workflows, it isn’t uncommon for important projects to become held up until a compliance issue has been sorted. This leads to business expenses flowing from the delay (salaries, warehousing costs and more), opportunity costs (the project will take longer to generate a return), and frustrated employees and contractors.


We are currently experiencing a global talent shortage, which means organisations should be doing everything they can to stem attrition by keeping their employees challenged and intellectually engaged. Repetitive data-entry and compliance tasks can quickly become boring and may lead to a retention problem as your HR admins seek jobs elsewhere that are more fulfilling. Automating as much of the process as possible will free up your compliance managers’ time to concentrate on more interesting projects and “human” tasks.

Siloed data

Presumably, employees engaging in manual data are using spreadsheets. While spreadsheets do the job in terms of simple data entry and storage, they are static rather than dynamic and generally don’t “talk” well with enterprise software, such as your HMRS. Data silos lower organisation-wide efficiencies, scalability, productivity and transparency. In turn, a lack of transparency will mean tactical and strategic decisions are made without all the pertinent data being available.


In a competitive environment, companies cannot afford to gain a reputation for being slow due to manual processes. Customers and partners will go elsewhere if projects are regularly delayed, while talent (particularly contractors) cannot afford to wait around while compliance boxes are slowly ticked.

Don’t put off automation any longer

Companies delay their workforce compliance automation journeys because they are concerned about the cost. But as we’ve explored above, the costs of inaction – inefficiencies, higher rates of data error, compliance and reputational risks and expensive project delays – are much more significant over time than investing in an automated workforce compliance solution.

It’s time to say goodbye to manual data entry. With Cited, each worker can easily supply their information via their mobile device. Your admin team can also access and update their information if needed. The Cited platform delivers a total technology solution spanning mobile and web applications to simplify compliance for everyone in your organisation.