You know all that paperwork you have your new hires fill out? You know all those forms you have to keep updated and accessible in a shared drive or file somewhere? You know all that communication you have to do with managers when forms change, are added or deleted? Yeah..all that stuff. Not only is it a pain in the butt (especially if you’re in a high turnover industry), but most of it is not needed. Want to go paperless with your HR–read on.
HR departments are notorious for collecting oodles of information that they don’t need and will never use. They sit in personnel files as documentation in the event of an audit. Managers rarely reference them and HR puts all the information into some sort of database anyways.
Simplify your life, the life of your HR department and the lives of your employees. If you are in a high turnover industry, you especially need to streamline this process. High turnover industries typically see turnover in the first two weeks to 90 days. Just think of all that paperwork you have to manage for someone that may only stick around for a few weeks–and if you’re lucky a few months.
Today’s typical hiring and employee onboarding processes can be challenging for employers. New hires and HR professionals often spend valuable hours completing forms and various tasks. These hours come with a dollar figure. On top of that figure is the expense of paper and ink, which for just a single new hire is staggering.
Luckily there are some steps you can take to reduce the HR workload and paperwork requirements. Warning…the information below should not be taken as legal advice. HR managers should always check with legal counsel before making any substantial changes to policies and practices. Employers with government contracts should take extra precautions to ensure they are compliant with their obligations.
Where to Start
Cut back to just the basics. For most employers there are only three forms that you actually need filled out. A federal W4 form (and the corresponding state form) for tax purposes, the I-9 form for work authorization, and the voluntary EEO information (assuming you employ 100 or more employees). Really all three of these forms will have all the information you need to pay, contact and authorize the employee to work. If you’re not sure what this is, the form is pretty self-explanatory and you can check it out for yourself. You can populate whatever database you have with the information on these forms. However, this still includes filling out forms and collecting them.
For a small investment you can collect and manage this information and more electronically. When considering a year’s worth of new hires, many businesses are hemorrhaging money through the inefficient use of materials and time. Until recently, this has been the cost of doing business. But today’s paperless HR solutions offer better alternatives. Luckily ATS software, employee onboarding software and HRIS systems are readily available for all budgets and sizes. Cost can typically be justified by eliminating a clerical HR position since you won’t have to take information from one source and input it into another.
There are some considerations you want to make in selecting a paperless HR solution. Since your goal is to eliminate transactional duties, you’ll want to select a system that will actually do this. ExactHire’s paperless onboarding system does exactly this.
Consider Integrated Solutions
When evaluating integrated HR software solutions you want to make sure they will actually reduce your transactional tasks. A solution that allows information to flow from an applicant tracking system, to an electronic onboarding process, and possibly even to an HRIS may be the best fit for some organizations. Some systems will even feed information electronically to benefits providers and state agencies further reducing transactional duties. Consider whether your organization will have other integration needs, as well, such as e-Verify during the onboarding process.
When you’re hiring lots of employees in a high turnover environment, you need the ability to onboard them fast and collect the information you need. You also need a compliant solution to offboard them quickly and effectively.
Look for Employee Self-Service Features
A strong self-service function within an HRIS will allow employees to make changes to information such as contact information, payroll information, benefits elections for qualifying events and other administrative functions. All these transactions will be queued for an HR associate to verify before processing. Don’t confuse this with paperwork! You still want a trained eye to audit for errors and compliance. You never want employees to directly change information in systems without someone else taking a look at it.
The user experience or interface should be intuitive, easy and effective. These are administrative tasks employees don’t want to bother with either so the better the interface the better the results will be. Allow them to access their information electronically and print if needed. Eliminate the burden of requests for pay stubs, benefits summaries and other common documents that employees typically request and need access to right away. If you can find a solution with a mobile interface, even better.
Documentation and Reporting
You won’t be eliminating paperwork if you have to print everything and file it. Select an employee onboarding solution that allows for electronically signed documents, storage of those documents and easy recovery of those documents–you’ll want to be able to print them in the event of litigation or a regulatory audit. Most integrated systems will allow you to generate correctly formatted reports for things such as EEO-1 reports and other regulatory requirements. Be sure to select a system workflow that will meet your common and ad-hoc reporting needs.
Benefits of Paperless HR in High Turnover Situations
In high turnover industries an employee may actually quit before you are able to process all the paperwork. With a paperless process you can carry information from workflow stage to workflow stage. By the time the employee starts you will have most of the information you need to pay them, file taxes, report them to your state as a new employee and get them a W-2 at the end of the year. This is information you don’t want to be tracking down or chasing on forms once an employee has left the company.
Photo Credit: cocoparisienne