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Paperless HR

Hi, I just started in a new HR role and would love some resources for reading about going paperless (all HR paperwork being uploaded and online rather than saving files) in a 100% compliant way. Thank you! -Deena

The number of companies moving towards paperless HR departments is steadily increasing. Since the topic is extensive let’s discuss a few major points to consider. Keep in mind the decision of which HR functions and documents to transfer to electronic formats must be done cautiously.

There are several HR functions that have been made easier and more reliable with technology including: applicant sourcing and tracking, new hire forms, employee administration, benefits enrollment, and automated internal HR forms and approval methods. Employers must dissect each HR function regarding legal requirements, forms, policies, and procedures to determine which functions and documents can be feasibly transferred to an electronic format.

Employers must be aware of file maintenance requirements under federal and state law as well as regulatory agencies, if applicable. Also, though not necessarily legally required, employers must consider retaining the original signed versions of any legal documents.

Security and accessibility are significant factors to consider. Whether a third party vendor or software program is used to provide a function, which individuals have access to what information is extremely important. HR maintains employees’ sensitive information and is responsible for protecting that information from unauthorized access. Cloud based storage systems are becoming more popular but with some concerns. Some providers of this service subject the information to data mining or other non-secure data pulling; thus, employers must be knowledgeable about the system they’re considering.

Any function or document transferred to electronic format must be done so in a reliable manner. Transferring information to an unreliable or out of date internal network is not a good idea. The information must be in a dependable location with back up functions. Also, the reliability of the system five, ten or more years from now must be taken in to account.

An often overlooked factor to consider is company culture. Is the company technologically savvy enough to move toward a paperless realm? Some employers may be surprised at their employee’s reaction to such a transition. Company culture and employee interest must be taken in to account especially if employee administration functions such as self-service are being considered.

When transferring to a paperless department, HR professionals must take a step by step approach. Consider each HR function one at a time and the documents or procedures that can be made paperless. Review the pros and cons of doing so with each item.

There are many vendors that provide electronic HR functions and document management. Consider meeting with representatives to see what they have to offer. Also, discussing the idea of moving towards a paperless department with similar companies can be informational. Industry and company size may have an impact on decision making.

One last note, the typical HR office/function has changed significantly in past few decades and will continue to do so. Technology will be an ever changing landscape. Thinking and acting strategically is in any employer’s best interest to stay in business.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 at 11:00 am and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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