As a human resources (HR) professional, your job should focus on your organization’s most valuable asset: its people. The reality, though, is that most HR teams are buried under mountains of paperwork and inefficient manual processes. It’s slowing things down and making work harder. This year, the pandemic made the problem even more acute as HR had to quickly shift to (remotely) support remote employees through unprecedented times and without operational playbooks.

To add value in a post-COVID workplace requires a sharp efficiency pivot amid dramatically expanded employee needs—and often shrinking budgets. Maintaining document security, easy and quick access to information, and efficient workflows is more important than ever amid mounting compliance requirements, cybersecurity risk, and the need for business continuity in largely remote workplaces.

It’s a difficult challenge because HR’s administrative functions are heavily paper-based and reliant on manual processes, making them time-consuming and labor-intensive. Replacing paper processes with automation means increased efficiency in areas that range from recruiting to training to compliance. Ultimately, it means less administrative work for HR and happier, more productive employees organization-wide. 

Digital document management for HR remote work

Seven Ways Digital Document Management Helps Human Resources

Digitizing documents can dramatically improve HR operational efficiency, not only for record-keeping, but also for processing information in a way that leads to better decisions about hiring, retention, promotion, performance, and when necessary, litigation. Once digitized, sorting, finding, and processing HR documents can take minutes, instead of sometimes days.

The improved functionality that comes with cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) document management trickles down through organizations. It also sets the standard of a general culture that is digital-first and ready to embrace necessary (and unexpected) change.

Digitization enhances the speed, accuracy, and overall experience of employees at work. This can lead to major gains in satisfaction and corresponding improvements in output. A powerful content services and document management solution empowers HR with instant access to information, automated workflows, and more. 

Here are seven ways digital document management helps HR teams operate more efficiently and deliver greater value to their public agencies and private enterprises—while making the work of HR teams easier.

1. Simplify Compliance

Keeping employee records compliant with legal requirements is a critical priority for HR departments. New regulations are increasing the burden of adequately and consistently managing HR records. For example, government regulations have created stronger requirements related to retention and stricter controls over personal information.

Paper makes compliance a monumental task. In the U.S., changes in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), for example, mean discovery involving any record must be fast and thorough—and that’s hard to accomplish in a paper-based HR environment.

Digitizing paper documents can dramatically improve operational efficiency, ensure security, and simplify compliance. Sophisticated document management solutions synchronize with your records management policies and procedures and integrate with other systems to ease the burden of internal or external HR audits for I-9, payroll taxes, and workers compensation claims. 

Document management solutions also ensure documents are safe from natural disaster, theft, and other threats. You’ll quickly know which documents you have, which are missing, and which are no longer needed. You’ll know who has access to what, and who stored, moved, shared, or deleted documents. The result is better security and efficiency.

Digital document management for HR electronic employee files

2. Streamline Recruitment, Hiring, and Onboarding

HR departments are stymied by time-consuming and archaic recruitment, hiring, and onboarding forms. To improve efficiency, documents such as employment contracts, employee files, and employee handbooks should all be digitized.

Now that most recruiting takes place online, efficient workflows are necessary to process, review, and distribute appropriate resumes to hiring managers. Automated electronic resume distribution ensures everyone who interviews an applicant has access to the candidate’s information. Then, setting up hiring approvals electronically makes the process consistent and repeatable while creating an audit trail of all activities.

Once hired, the average U.S. employer spends about $4,000 per new hire, according to GlassDoor. Digital document management helps standardize and streamline the onboarding process for HR and the new employee with electronic files, which also helps uncover opportunities for cost savings.

3. Improve Performance Management

With paper documents turned digital and manual processes automated, HR teams can customize electronic performance appraisal templates and set dates for reviews, while capturing and storing all the information. Employee reviews, resulting performance-based salary increases and promotion approvals, and annual raises can all be automated into efficient workflows. With automation, HR leaders and department managers have consistent audit trails of employees’ work records should issues arise.

4. Modernize Payroll Process for Self-Service

Payroll is an area where digitization of documents, such as payroll records and time-off requests, creates the opportunity for employee self-service. Simple self-service frees up time for the HR team, and employees quickly get the information they need. As a result, the experience improves for all.

5. Transform Training and Development

Digitization and automation can help enhance training and development activities with online, on-demand training courses that can be tracked when complete. Automated reminders also improve efficiency and results. Regular appraisals can easily be conducted for remote workers, with issues discussed, feedback given, and goals/objectives easily accessible for employee and supervisor reference online.

6. Secure Employee Records

Paper is inherently insecure. Employee files left on a desk leave an employee’s important and sensitive personal information, such as social security number and salary, susceptible to theft. Physical records also can be permanently lost or damaged due to human error or natural disaster like fire, hurricanes, and floods.

Once digitized, HR data is safe and secure. Beginning with a secure user-based sign-in, access to employee archives, databases, and documents can be granted only to those with designated permissions. And with cloud-based digital document management solutions, documents are regularly backed up on a secure, always-accessible server. In the event of an unexpected disaster, this means the critical information is still safe and easily accessible.

Digital document management for HR remote training

7. Better Support the Remote Workplace

Digital document management encrypts employee files with controlled access rights. That means employees working from home have easy access to their benefits information, for example, including healthcare and childcare flexible spending accounts, employee assistance programs, and time-off requests. HR teams can access documents and workflow status from anywhere, anytime, and on any device, and employees can securely access their individual records. 

Digitized and automated documents and processes save time and deliver better service for improved employee experiences during these high-anxiety times. Employee self-service means quick response time to requests for information, saves time for HR and employees, and keeps everyone focused on priorities, not paper and processes.

We’re Ready to Show You How

A successful HR digital document management strategy protects sensitive data, enhances administrative efficiency, and protects your organization from risk—all cost-effectively. It also empowers HR leaders with data to drive better decision making. 

We’d love to talk about how we can apply our experience to your HR digital transformation. We’ve also created tools and resources to help you understand the benefits of digitization and automated workflows, including guides for implementation and real-world success stories of organizations that have successfully implemented digital document management.

We suggest you start with our Guide to Going Digital for insights on planning, prioritizing, and choosing a partner to get started. It includes a practical checklist and actionable steps to a successful digital transformation.

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