Typical HR departments must manage benefits, training, recruiting, onboarding and several other functions. Each function is associated with various documents that must accompany each employee. According to an ADP survey, 60% of companies are still storing employee files in paper. According to Iron Mountain, an employee file contains an average of 29 pieces of paper.
Simply put, dealing with these employee files in a paper format is an enormous pain. HR departments waste countless hours filing and retrieving paper documents. Paper also takes up a ton of space; and storage, printing, and shipping costs add up. Furthermore, managing employee files in a paper format is highly insecure.
The paperless HR department still remains an elusive goal to many companies, but with the right tools in place, it is certainly possible for HR to greatly reduce or eliminate paper altogether. Here are 4 tips for transitioning to paperless HR:
1. Scan paper documents into electronic records
The obvious place to begin the move to paperless HR is by scanning paper records to create electronic files. Before the paper-to-electronic conversion, you must decide where you are going to store electronic employee files. With a cloud-based HR document management solution, you can give secure access to documents at any time, from any place.
Make sure you choose a solution that can easily ingest both paper and digital documents by scanning, secure RFTP, email, upload, and integration with other systems.
2. Adopt e-forms and e-signature
To eliminate the need to create and scan paper documents going forward, consider adopting e-forms and e-signature. This enables employees to complete and sign documents online, in minutes. Forms can be converted into PDF documents, which can then be routed and stored in the appropriate employee files.
An enormous amount of documents require signatures, including contracts, performance appraisals, timesheets, and more. Traditionally, these documents have been signed with paper and ink, or wet signatures. Digital signatures are much easier to track and process, and are secure and compliant with regulations.
3. Get rid of printers and fax machines
This may sound crazy at first- but some companies have decided to stop accepting faxes, or even to get rid of printers. Faxes and printed documents are both costly and inconvenient. They cannot be accessed when you are not in the office, and they are difficult to organize and store. Anyone walking by the fax machine or printer can also view the documents, which is a serious security problem.
Many people are habitual printers and paper-consumers. It is essential to educate both HR managers and employees on the benefits of going paperless, but also to implement changes in the working environment that force them to break their paper-consuming habits.
4. Use technology to simplify paper processes
Another way to ensure that HR managers stop using paper is to implement HR document management technology that is not only easy to use, but also makes their jobs easier. In other words, HR software should not just be simple, it should also simplify complex problems.
For example, an HR document management solution should make it incredibly easy to find documents using various search criteria, to monitor document completion and to easily spot missing documents. Furthermore, it should automate time consuming processes and workflows, such as document routing, approval and filing.
By going paperless, HR departments can efficiently manage all relevant employee documents and transactions from hire to retire. The result is improved productivity, so that HR can spend more time on developing and retaining talent, as well as reduced risks and lower operational costs.
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Nicole Lindenbaum is the Director of Product Marketing at PeopleDoc by Ultimate Software. Nicole leads the global messaging strategy for PeopleDoc by translating technology into business benefits HR can actually understand. With significant experience in HR technology, Nicole writes and speaks about HR service delivery, employee experience, digital transformation, and the future of work. Nicole holds a BFA from Syracuse University and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.