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The Paperless HR Department

Contributed by Celia Vincent

A study by AIIM in 2014 placed the HR department third among the departments that are most resistant to going paperless (after the finance and legal departments, of course. No surprises there). The study almost makes the concept of a paperless HR department seem like a daydream, but we say it’s entirely possible. Here’s how:

Digitize Processes

Almost all major HR functions can be digitized, at least to some extent. Here’s a quick reckoner on how to go about it.

Take your onboarding online

New hires don’t need to be welcomed into the paperwork cycle. Instead, you can move the onboarding process online with forms and electronic signatures. The process can be as simple as email, fill, share, store. You can give the new hires and yourself a welcome break from paperwork during that first week and spend time on making the new people in the team feel at home and raring to go.

Try out paperless payroll management

Now that most employee wages are paid by direct deposits rather than the traditional paycheck, it’s time to make paper pay stubs a thing of the past too. Online pay statements can be shared through secure channels (like a secure, password-enabled webpage or a secure, encrypted email) accessible to the employee only. This method actually beats the paper trail when it comes to communicating sensitive payment or contract information. It saves a lot of time too, especially if you make weekly payments. There are some states which require that employers give access to a printed pay statement, so make sure that you will remain compliant with state laws before moving to electronic pay stubs.

Switch to electronic time cards

Going paperless with online time tracking means no more spending time and effort on collecting and storing timesheets. Best of all, it automates processes like evaluating total hours and accounting for time off. Since this is an area where inaccuracies can mean employee lawsuits, it pays to go digital and stay compliant. Look for solutions that offer built in audit trails and electronic signatures on time sheet records so that nothing has to live on paper anymore.

Manage Documents Online

Even though the 4-drawer filing cabinet is almost ubiquitous with the HR department, the digital counterparts to the cabinet filing system are much easier to use and help you pull out files faster. There are fewer chances of losing or misplacing a file too.

Getting on the cloud

Most businesses have begun to put up data on public cloud platforms because it offers the ability to quickly access or retrieve information no matter where you are. But considering the kind of sensitive data that the HR teams works with, it doesn’t come as a surprise that most professionals are wary of storing certain kinds of data on the cloud. Due diligence is required while choosing a cloud storage provider. Aside from the usual security features, look for options that let you pick your own encryption key, plug in extra authentication features, or protect your files with a password. A good cloud service provides security and file encryption features so that your data remains safe. Online document storage systems also come with access features that let you store restricted documents or private employee records in folders accessible only those who have permission to see the files in it.

If safety if still a concern, you can explore hybrid cloud options that allow extremely sensitive data to remain on a private cloud while other data can remain on a public cloud platform.

Fill and sign online

From getting your new hires to fill out form I-9 online to encouraging employees to electronically file form W-4 to better prepare for Tax Day, online forms can make it easier for the HR department to file and store important documents without having to deal with the tedium and time lag associated with paperwork. A common problem execs face when using online forms is having to print out the document to get a signature. This isn’t necessary when you use an electronic signature software that lets you sign paperwork right from your desktop, tablet, or mobile. Your eSignature platform can go wherever you go too, which means you can finally say goodbye to mailing documents or sending them by FedEx for signatures.

A paperless office isn’t a futuristic pipe dream. Paper-loving employees are probably going to offer you the most resistance but they are fighting a losing battle. Environmental responsibility is a compelling reason to say no to paper, beyond even time and cost savings. The key is to generate support from the leadership and team by showing them the real value generated in terms of hours and money saved. Once you get everyone committed to cut paper from the workplace, you’ll see that the initiative becomes a success by default.

This article was written by Celia Vincent, Content Marketer at SignEasy. Featured by Apple, Google and trusted by over 3 million users, SignEasy is the simplest and fastest way to sign or get documents signed from mobile, tablet or web.

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