For office workers everywhere, paperwork has long been a dirty word and a dreaded task. With the introduction of HRIS, offices are now relatively paperless, but it doesn’t necessarily mean an absolute end to the paperwork tasks of the past. Believing that implementing a new HRIS will banish paperwork may be a mistake, but employees can still benefit from many of the gains that would be expected if paperwork actually disappeared entirely.
The onboarding process can be grueling and time-consuming, filled with excessive amounts of paperwork for employees to sign, fill out, and file. In the past, the onboarding process required employees to sacrifice days out of their training schedule and resulted in mounds of paperwork that were easy to lose and difficult to organize.
HR software solutions today have made it possible for businesses large and small to build efficiencies in their Human Resources offerings. Going paperless is now easier than ever as employees in or out of the office and business owners alike continue to look for innovation and drive change. With the help of HRIS onboarding features, this process can improve substantially and organization woes can be a thing of the past.
The Onboarding Process Is Faster with HRIS
Since paperless onboarding is completed via the web, forms and orientation materials can be sent to employees instantaneously after hiring decisions have been made. There is no need to schedule times for new employees to meet with managers.
Employees can simply look through materials on their own time and ask questions via email. If training videos are involved in the onboarding process, these can be easily included and sent with other onboarding materials.
Saves Time Filling in Paperwork
HRIS may be able to extract data that is entered one time, as on an application, and fill in fields in other areas such as onboarding and training. While employees would normally have to fill in fields for personal information on every piece of paperwork, the HRIS system may help to shortcut this task by recognizing employee names or numbers so that employees can get right to work on the important tasks. HR professionals save massive time when the information is automatically recognized and training data and paperwork is filed with the rest of each employee’s information.
Faster to Eliminate Paperwork
Paperwork is somewhat faster to generate with HRIS than with a manual system, but it is much faster to eliminate. No longer is it necessary to seek out every piece of data linked to a former employee or past succession planning in order to spend minutes to hours shredding the sensitive files that are no longer needed, it is just clicks to get rid of it. This is much faster and more accurate, as the information is stored automatically in one place in the system, so there is no chance that some information will be missed in the clean out.
Improves Paper Trail
This advantage is somewhat iconic and not necessarily anticipated with paperwork banishment, but paperless human resources systems improve the paper trail over manual systems. From hiring to training to promotions and even retirement, HRIS helps to keep track of the information, updating as needed without a worry of losing information. HRIS may also be set up to provide automatic notifications when information is needed or when there are training gaps.
Relieves the Paper Jam
Relying on managers and professionals from different areas of the company to review and approve aspects of employee information, training, and payroll data may cause a “paper jam” when paperwork systems are manual. Paperwork may also be forgotten as managers set it aside to tackle more pressing issues. HRIS makes it simple to request reviews and approvals from different departments and people without the information ever actually leaving its “home,” which can clear the paper jam and smooth processes along.
Employees Are More Engaged in the Process
When employees need to fill out form after form, listen to company history, and watch training videos in a matter of a few hours, they tend to “check out” after a while. Paperless onboarding better engages employees because they must search for their answers, rather than listening to lectures. Also, they don’t need to complete everything all at once.
Paperless onboarding formats are also generally much more appealing and interesting than paper forms.
Catering to the Evolved “Office”
Paper-only documents make legally binding signatures difficult for those who work outside of the normal office. A Gallup poll conducted in February of 2017 found that “43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely.”
For business owners looking to cater to these remote employees, a paperless HR solution is a must-have. Today’s software solutions can include anything from digital time-entry, time off and absence reporting, to resolution dispute and contractual document hosting requiring signatures.
Even for industries that do not see a lot of remote work done, having the ability to log in, check statuses, or do any other type of rudimentary task from a remote location saves time and valuable resources on behalf of both the company and the employee. Paperless HR solutions today make this a priority, especially those featuring mobile access and user interfaces.
Costs May Be Reduced
As all information is stored electronically, paperless onboarding may save company costs. This reduces the need to purchase materials such as paper, ink, filing storage space, pens, paper clips, and many other company expenses. Additionally, employees won’t run out of materials and need to deal with the hassle of having to make a store trip or improvise.
From the position of a human resources professional working across multiple departments and catering to a number of different processes and workflows, a dynamic structure without paper reduces headaches and allows your business’ employees to do what they do best.
Paperless Onboarding Is a Greener Solution
One of the main key benefits of taking your HR paperless is simply the fact that you will be reducing overall waste while saving time and money. Paper reams may not be the most expensive commodity your business is using, but it may be the most easily upgraded.
Even though information still needs to be entered and tracked, actually moving from a paper filing system to a non-paper filing system has many advantages. The first and most obvious is that the costs of paper, pens, printer ink, and other materials will be dramatically reduced-putting money right to the bottom line. Paperless systems may also save companies money on rent or open up space to use for more lucrative practices than file storage.
Since paper, paper clips, and all the remaining necessary materials for manual onboarding are not needed for paperless onboarding, less of these materials are needed or thrown away. This reduces the company’s overall impact on the environment. When records need to be discarded, it is also much less wasteful to simply delete files than to shred hundreds of papers.
Compliance and Legality May Be Improved
When onboarding is completed using a HRIS, an electronic trail is created, which makes it easy to prove when materials were delivered, reviewed, accepted and filed. This is important for certain documents that must be shared with and signed by every employee. Proving that paperwork has been delivered and signed is more problematic with manual systems if the required papers are lost or damaged.
What about contractually binding signatures? Your “John Hancock” has always signified your personal stamp of approval or obligation. Replicating that digitally may seem fuzzy, but under today’s laws, digital signatures are just as binding.
Numerous resources out there today including DocuSign’s resource page on US electronic signature laws and history offer insightful information as to why and how digital signatures and eSigned documents are helping to reduce paper usage across businesses today. Today, with just a few quick button clicks or screen taps, employees can sign work documents and job applicants can sign their employment offers.
Information May Be More Secure
The days of file cabinets full of documents and signatures are over.
As businesses turn digital and begin utilizing cloud computing technology, data storage and recovery allows you to access your documents all hours of the day. In addition, where reams of paper were historically required for contracts or other legally binding documents, today’s HR solutions allow employees to download and digitally sign their paperwork across a multitude of devices.
Security in paperless onboarding processes has been a concern in the past. However, employee information may be more secure with HRIS than manual filing systems. Electronic employee files are usually protected with passwords, encryption, and high-level security measures. If these layers of security are implemented and used properly, they are typically superior to lock-and-key filing cabinets that can be easily breached by devious employees.
Combined with increased data security and privacy measures being accounted for, business owners and employees can feel confident in knowing that personal information is safe. For anyone looking at taking their HR department paperless, security should be forefront in feature benefits for any solution.
For today’s business owners, looking at a paperless HR software solution makes a lot of sense. Paperless HR software caters to your employees’ needs. With the improvements in technology and overall data security, the solutions out there today are incredibly powerful tools for most businesses’ needs. While the stigma around paper may be hard to get around, observing and seeing the direct benefits of taking your application completely digital may be inspiring.
If you would like to begin using HRIS for onboarding but aren’t sure which software you should choose, we can help. Visit our vendor match page so that we can assist you in the search for your perfect solution.
Authored by: Dave Rietsema