In June, we announced Advanced Document Generation, a new feature to help HR build custom documents in ⅓ the time it takes today. Expanding our existing HR document generation capabilities for more static documents, Advanced Document Generation reduces the time it takes for HR to create complex, logic-based documents - and reduces the risk of error. This innovation was the result of collaboration with our customers, as well as a major effort from our R&D team. In this post, we’ll explore why PeopleDoc chose to invest document generation.
Why Advanced Document Generation? And Why Now?
As HR Service Delivery begins to mature, there are many areas ripe for innovation. Part of the role of the Product organization is to manage how to integrate customer feedback into our roadmap. We chose to prioritize Advanced Document Generation after hearing from many customers about the challenges and difficulty they face creating complex documents. Existing solutions on the market were not user-friendly, and often require training in order to understand how to use them. The customers we spoke with wanted a fast, easy way to create dynamic, logic-based documents themselves. For HR Shared Service Centers, document generation brings more structure and standardization, and it increases the productivity of the HR Operations team’s daily work within the PeopleDoc platform.
As we began to learn what was so challenging about the current process, the following themes came up over and over again:
Time to create - The existing manual process can take up to 45 minutes to generate a document. The HR user searches for the right template and downloads it. Then they manually enter data that they have to find in multiple systems. They may need to delete blocks of text depending on the employee involved. Then they save and upload and then send for signature. This is extremely time consuming for HR teams.
Error-prone - The current process relies heavily that the HR user has selected the right template and has manually entered data correctly. This method creates inconsistencies and often contains errors.
Compliance - These errors in the manual processes could have significant ramifications. By choosing an old version of a template, or neglecting to include mandated language, the organization is at risk of fines or legal action.
Customers were looking to overcome these challenges, and we knew we could help.
How We Built It
In line with our commitments to ease-of-use and HR empowerment, we wanted to make something simple for HR users to use. We began by working with a customer on a proof of concept (POC). This helped to ensure that we understood the right use cases and what the business requirements would be. We collaborated with this customer to develop the right solution. The first use case we tackled was employment offer letters, knowing the complexity it would entail. We knew this would help support some of the other key use cases defined, such as employment verification letters and contracts.
From there, we validated this proof of concept with several other customers who had indicated interest in this kind of solution. From there, we built the first version of the product into our Employee File Management module. We stuck to our ease-of-use commitment, which gets trickier to do when you are working with greater complexity. This first version was announced in June, and we continue to develop the functionality further.
We’ve really just started down the road with complex HR document generation, but we look forward to delivering a more robust template management center. Additionally, Advanced Document Generation will soon come with HR Case Management and Process Automation as well. Longer term, we want to provide the integration tools to help our clients leverage other cloud tools like Slack to automate administrative workflows that include document generation needs. We want HR users to have a seamless experience in all they do across our platform and wherever they may work.
Benjamin Cadars is Vice President of Product Management at PeopleDoc. Benjamin joined PeopleDoc in 2008. He leads product strategy and focuses on helping HR deliver the best administrative services to employees in the cloud. His mission is to transform the way HR and employees interact on administrative tasks to make it paperless, streamlined, secured and pleasant. Benjamin holds a Master in Management from EDHEC Business School.