Tracking Employee Documents Shouldn’t be Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Jonathan Benhamou by Jonathan Benhamou   March 10 2016


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Unfortunately, the stereotype of a frazzled HR executive scrambling to track an employee file through a bewildering trail of documents scattered across various filing systems is all too familiar for a majority of businesses. While document management inhibits productivity and drains time from excelling at more strategic tasks such as talent management or employee engagement for a majority of HR professionals, only 21 percent have plans to implement a digital document management system to streamline processes in 2016, according to a recent HR Daily Advisor/BLR survey.

Since the same survey revealed that 84 percent of HR departments still file employee documents by hand or via a paper filing system, how do we close the chapter on this veritable Da Vinci Code of paper for HR professionals? The first step is to fully examine the benefits of ending the reliance on paper to manage employee documents. The benefits extend far beyond the obvious hours saved in daily tasks of workplace file maintenance from not having to sleuth for paper files – though that benefit is enormous in itself.

The BLR survey found that HR professionals report “considerable growth” in the volume of documents they handle, and teams currently spend 10-15 percent of their time managing employee documents.  To compound the issue, at least one-third of HR pros cite “incomplete employee files” as their chief pain point.  So even when they find the needle in the proverbial haystack, it might not contain the right information they are seeking.  By digitizing HR and investing in a document management system, companies not only can eliminate the wasteful time of document searching (and divert it to more productive activities such as talent management, job performance, etc), they can also more readily ensure that files are complete and accurate.

Beyond the benefits of more efficient workforce file maintenance, digitizing files can also reduce risk and improve the efficiency of compliance efforts.  Since employee files and other related documents are subject to audits, regulations, controls, and retention periods, relying on digital files instead of paper files dramatically reduces the burden of compliance and helps streamline HR’s approach to documentation requests.  According to the BLR survey, half of HR executives cannot prove a document was received and acknowledged by an employee, and even fewer can prove that a document they have on file is an original copy – two requirements critical for proper audit processes, which are seamlessly provided by digitalization.

Another important priority for almost all HR professionals is customizing processes and assigning document-related tasks based on employee roles or attributes. While the BLR survey reported that a whopping 90 percent of HR professionals said that easily customizing processes has become increasingly important in today’s business climate, a majority indicated that because there are now more employees per HR team member than ever before, customization has become more difficult to achieve because of the inefficiency of sorting through so much paper to create and share individualized files. Digitizing employee files makes the pipe dream of customizing processes and assigning tasks based on employee roles an achievable goal for HR professionals.

The industry continues to be saddled with time-consuming but necessary processes like employee document management. But HR professionals who recognize the enormous benefits of a cloud-based document management system will spend less of their precious time in the “haystack” and more time and energy on more impactful initiatives like employee engagement, talent management and performance. HR executives who kick their paper habit in 2016 will see their HR teams thriving for years to come.


Don't miss our March 22 webinar:  Why You Need an HR Document Management Strategy
Don't miss our March 22 webinar:  Why You Need an HR Document Management Strategy
Jonathan Benhamou
Jonathan Benhamou

Jonathan Benhamou is a French entrepreneur, investor and CEO of the international start-up PeopleDoc. Jonathan co-founded PeopleDoc in Paris in 2007, which is now the leading provider of cloud-based HR service delivery solutions that has revolutionized the HR profession around the world.  
In 2014, Jonathan moved to New York to oversee the global expansion of PeopleDoc. The same year, Gartner recognized PeopleDoc as a “Cool Vendor” in the human capital management space. Not only has Jonathan negotiated, raised and secured more than $55 million in funding led by Accel and Eurazeo, he also established offices in France, UK, USA, Canada and Germany, with more than 150 employees, to support PeopleDoc’s incredible customer base. PeopleDoc currently counts more than 500 clients worldwide, including Starbucks, Coach, American Express, Georgetown University and Nestlé.  
Jonathan is committed to using his personal success to invest in other young innovative companies and start-ups as well. Jonathan has been honored by many media, businesses and cultural organizations. He is a member of the delegation of Young Entrepreneurs of the G20. Jonathan also serves as Board Member and Business Angels of several start-ups (Clustree, BookandGolf, ISAI, Social Bar). He has been recognized as a Technology Young Leader- an honor awarded by 20 of Europe’s top technology leaders, including Apple, Google, Intel, Oracle, and Cisco.