One of the biggest ongoing HR trends is a transition from the traditional, paper-heavy human resources work style to a greater reliance on online systems and databases. By 2015, almost 8 out of 10 Human Resources professionals polled at a Society for Human Resource Management conference claimed that their department had converted to a paperless system.
Turns out, going paperless is equally as good for efficiency as it is for the environment - HR employees who worked for companies with the majority of their records saved digitally claimed that they slashed a whopping 35% off of the time they used to spend on administrative paperwork.
The movement from paper to online systems in HR departments will only accelerate as technology continues to improve and play a larger role in company procedures. So, is the paperless HR trend a good fit for your company, and if so, how can you facilitate the transition to implement it?
How to Know if Your HR Department is a Good Fit to Go Paperless
- Can you afford to pay for the necessary hardware, software, or cloud-based services?
Going paperless is going to require some initial costs to purchase new software and hire or train IT staff to ensure the functionality and security of your new paperless process.
- Are you willing to train your employees to navigate the new paperless process?
After you implement new programs to process and store HR paperwork, you will have to invest time and resources to train your HR employees to navigate this new software.
- Are you equipped to tackle hardware failure and prevent security risks?
Though convenient, online systems pose the risk of hacking by outside sources. In order to minimize this risk, you’ll have to devote resources to improve your company’s IT department.
Implementing a Paperless HR Department
Though going paperless may initially seem daunting, there is plenty of online software that can ease the process.
- Signature Software
When converting to a paperless HR department, signature software is key in eliminating the need for physical documents. Software such as DocHub, SignNow, and Adobe Acrobat are common choices for businesses.
- Online Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)
Managing your company’s hiring process online is a great way to simultaneously reduce paper usage and time to hire. An applicant tracking system (or ATS) can consolidate your candidates’ resumes, references, cover letters, online pre-employment test results, and other information all on one platform. You can even stay in touch with candidates online through each step of the hiring process.
- Paperless Culture
Creating a “paperless culture” is a great way to get your HR team on board with the idea. Sending out a memo to your team purporting the benefits of going paperless is a good way to educate everyone on the changes that will take place. You could even start a light-hearted competition with a prize for whichever HR employee or group of employees uses the least amount of paper in a given time period.
- Training of Employees & Enhanced Security
Training employees on new software procedures is the best way to increase efficiency in using paperless systems and enhancing company security. A couple important protocols for HR employees include training them not to fall for “phishing” (scam) emails and not to edit or download sensitive files on an unsecure internet network.
Benefits of Going Paperless
After switching to a paperless system, many HR departments find that the benefits of an online system outweigh the hassle of the initial transition. Your company will save money on ink cartridges, paper, printers, and fax machines. Studies show that for each case of paper a company purchases, they’ll spend an average of $224 just distributing whatever they have printed on that paper. What’s more is that, just by sharing these documents online, companies can save an average of 4 days in processing time.
So, in 2019, make a resolution to ditch the temperamental office fax machine and switch to a paperless HR department. Almost 80% of companies claim it’s been effective in their office - odds are it could be for your office, too!