Turn Your Years’ Worth Of Paperwork To Paperless
4 Jan 2022
As a traditionally administrative corporate function, Human Resources (HR) is no stranger to paperwork. Cabinets filled with decades of historical payroll reports and employees’ p-files make information gathering and finding extremely time-consuming and labour-intensive. This however, no longer needs to be the case with technological advancements that can allow for a paperless working environment.
Today, technological advancement is the key driver behind HR transformation. Tools such as record management systems and Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) have transformed HR processes, facilitating ease of information storage and retrieval and enhancing document security. All these without the HR department having to worry about the lack of physical space.
There is no denying the benefits of digitising and automating administrative payroll processes. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cloud-based platforms amongst organisations as they look to drive an agile HR model that can engage employees, support a virtual workforce, and increase productivity. This is supported by findings from Information Services Groups in their 2021 HR Tech Survey. The survey of 260 companies globally revealed that close to half of organisations (46%) are currently utilising a HR Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform or hybrid solution, up from 20% of organisations who indicated that they were using a cloud-based platform two years ago. Additionally, the survey found that 64% of organisations are achieving measurable business value from their investment in HR SaaS platform, with around 70% of this group garnering significant HR cost savings. Digitisation can dramatically improve HR operational efficiency by enhancing the speed and accuracy of workflows. This leads to increased employees’ satisfaction and productivity. Adopting HR SaaS solutions empowers HR with instant access to information and automated workflows.
Creating Paperless Work Environments
Replacing paper processes with automation means increased efficiency in areas that range from recruiting to payroll to compliance. Ideally, what most HR departments want to achieve is less administrative work and happier, more productive employees organisation-wide. Here is how organisations can get started on their journey to paperless HR files.
Have an implementation roadmap
Outline an implementation roadmap that aligns with the organisation’s objectives and resources. As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. A roadmap provides the department and organisation with an end goal in mind as to what the organisation wants to achieve from the entire digitisation process. It also provides the HR department to plan the detailed steps as well as the necessary resources.
Aside from having a clear implementation roadmap, organisations also need to identify business needs and constraints. There are no doubt plenty of HR processes that can and need to be digitised to create a paperless workplace. This is where business and HR leaders need to be specific and throughout. Think about what the organisation is trying to accomplish and build a strategy around those goals. At the same time, HR leaders need to be mindful of which goals the organisation should prioritise first? Are there budgets, infrastructure or resource limitations? These considerations will help HR leaders to carve out a well-defined strategy that addresses the organisation’s immediate HR needs while working towards a long-term HR and organisational goal.
Identify processes to be digitised
Once a clearly-defined implementation roadmap is in place, the next step is to determine what documents or processes need to be digitised. Consider the needs of the employees that HR services and which HR processes involves the most amount of paperwork. Questions such as: which documents are requested most often? Are there certain HR documents and information that requires certain access controls in place? Which paper-based HR processes and/or workflows are the most time-consuming and administrative? These questions will help HR leaders to identify processes and/or workflows that need to be prioritised.
With digitisation, HR will also need to review how their existing operating model will change. With digitisation and automation, this will certainly free up physical space as well as resources (HR no longer needs a HR intern to help with the yearly paper filings or labeling). During the initial years of transition, HR may still need to retain some of these physical copies for auditing purposes. Where should these physical copies be stored then? How long is the retention period? For documents that are no longer required, how should HR securely destroy them? These are some of the factors that HR needs to plan and account for during the transition to paperless workflows.
Choose the right technology
Choosing the right HR technology will go a long way in supporting the organisation’s implementation efforts as well as future management of HR documents. It will also eventually affect the security protocols in managing these sensitive and confidential HR documents. A secure cloud-based SaaS HR management solution is an ideal and smart way to store, organise and share digital files. With SaaS, sensitive employee and payroll information is well-protected with multiple levels of security and encryption. As SaaS works on a cloud-based platform, this also means that organisations do not need to spend additional operating costs to host this data on their own server, but on an online or cloud-based server.
With the advancement of technology, most SaaS HR management platforms also allow for easy integration with other business platforms, such as payroll or even accounting platforms. For example, with digitisation of employee records, payroll expenses or leave management can easily be integrated with the accounting system, allowing easy and quick calculation of employees’ wages during the monthly payroll cycle. With an online database of critical HR information, this facilitates seamless flow of information from one platform to another.
Paper-based HR workflows are inherently insecure and labour-intensive. With the rapid evolution of technology today, organisations need to jump on this technology bandwagon or risk falling behind their peers. Aside from process efficiencies, moving towards a paperless HR operating model also brings about significant cost savings and frees up valuable time for the HR department to focus on other strategic initiatives.