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The benefits of automating HR processes

HR can be one of the most paper-intensive departments. However, by investing in a robust document management system, HR departments can enjoy the benefits of centralisation, privacy protection, and business process efficiency. Employees can easily access what they need, when they need it, and feel safe in the knowledge that everything is secure.

Despite advancements in technology, many organisations are still at the mercy of paper-based documents. Not only does this have an impact on operational efficiency and security, but paper-based systems are also damaging to the environment. One of the simplest ways for an organisation to reduce its carbon footprint and generate a more positive environmental impact is to reduce the amount of paper that is printed, shipped, and stored.

HR can be one of the most paper-intensive departments. Job applications, sick leave documents, and training certificates – to name only a few – are constantly moving through this department each day. With a document management system, centralisation, privacy protection, and business process efficiency are built-in. Moving to a digitalised format means HR teams can easily access what they need, when they need it, safe in the knowledge that everything is secure.

A better, efficient solution
File-sharing software, like Google Docs or Dropbox, has become a popular way for businesses to store and share documents and may seem like a step up from paper. However, these solutions only enable teams to work on a shared document at one point in time. They do not allow for management of the full document lifecycle or version control.

HR teams require an efficient solution that enables faster, central access to personnel files. Having a document management system that supports this need, frees teams of the inconvenience of managing long email chains and constant status inquiries. It also ensures the indexing of critical information within the documents and the protection of sensitive employee information with secure access rights and data encryption. Additionally, this opens the door for employee self-service through features that include e-forms, authorised employee searches, electronic signatures, and portal integration.

The advantages to automating HR processes are clear, and here we take a closer look at those benefits and how departments can say goodbye to paper for good.

By moving away from paper, managers can start the hiring process with a simple employee requisition e-form. But not only that, with a digitalised process, job applications can be centrally stored, and the hiring workflow manages the communication between HR staff, managers, and the applicant. All team members involved are connected by a unified, digitised process. All HR staff can create job postings, receive and automatically index resumes based on pre-defined skill sets, and use workflows to route applications for review, schedule interviews, and gather applicant feedback.

Once a qualified candidate reaches the interview stage, those who are unsuccessful can be sent an email informing them of their status. When a successful candidate accepts the job, a digitalised system can then kick off the onboarding and provisioning processes to ensure company policy is followed and to guarantee a well-organised start for new employees. The recruitment process becomes far more effective and efficient.

Any onboarding process always starts as soon as an applicant accepts the job. E-forms can pre-fill new hire documents so new employees no longer have to fill out repetitive information on multiple paper forms. With electronic forms, HR departments can capture all required employee data upfront at any time, and populate other onboarding documents, such as tax forms, benefits, and other employee forms from there.

HR departments can also create an onboarding checklist of required tasks, including acknowledgment of employment, confidentiality agreements, distributing employee handbooks, and initial training plans. By having an automated provisioning workflow, any new employee is guaranteed to have the software and equipment they need to start their jobs from the first day. For us here at DocuWare, providing a positive start for new employees is very important to us as we want them all to feel welcome and part of the DocuWare team from day one.

Workforce management
For both the new and existing employees, an automated notification process can identify when a certain criteria set is fulfilled, and inform management, as well as the employee, that a performance appraisal is due. The process of creating and delivering the appraisal to the employee, as well as their response, can then be tracked through to completion. HR departments can customise performance appraisal templates and automatically set deadlines while capturing and storing the information.

When an employee looks to move on from a company, a document management solution can launch a separation e-form that includes all required exit documents to be signed and lists all company property to be returned. Automating this process ensures nothing is missed and the exit process is completed without compromising the person leaving or the company’s security.

Additionally, since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an urgent need for a secure, touchless and paperless way to screen employees and determine the health status of any person entering an office or business. COVID-19 screening e-forms, with accompanying workflows, made mandatory daily health screening easier for HR teams to manage. The forms are a critical part of the process in ensuring that businesses meet exposure-notification obligations, comply with privacy regulations, and limit risk.

Security and compliance
Paper is, by its very nature, impermanent. Unless there is a digital backup of some sort, a company remains vulnerable to breaches, including theft or damage due to natural disasters. Either of these situations would have a huge impact on business continuity. Additionally, printers can also be open to hacking. Digitalising this process is another way to ensure the safety of all documents.

Deploying the right document management solution means an organisation can manage all HR documents through one protected process, according to the business rules it defines. Employee records can be stored in a multi-tiered folder structure that differentiates access rights among HR, managers, and employees. Also, retention schedules are enforced automatically, and this ensures audit-readiness and compliance with PII, GDPR, EEOC, HIPAA, and other regulatory requirements. Protection and compliance can be rolled into one.

Go digital
The current pandemic has placed additional requirements on HR teams. Many have had to adapt quickly to either a completely remote workforce, or a hybrid model of managing people both at home and on-site. This has placed strategic thinking top of mind for many HR professionals, whether that be looking at employee engagement, preserving the company culture, or offering a quick response to workplace issues as they arise. In addition, the environmental impact of organisations is something that is becoming increasingly more critical.

Equipping HR teams with the right technologies to be able to eliminate paper-based tasks is vital. Having the tools in place that automate processes, free staff, reduce costs, and ensure security, means information can flow effortlessly between decision-makers – from anywhere, on any device, at any time.

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