Don’t let HR departments labor over employee paperwork

When HR onboards new hires, the department has to process 401(k)s, health care enrollments, policy acknowledgements, direct deposit authorization, W-4s, 1-9s and more.

“With this repetitive and burdensome task, it’s no surprise that many HR professionals complain that processing onboarding paperwork takes a huge chunk of their time. Employment applications may be upward of 10 pages, and most companies still hand-key this information, which introduces the potential for errors,” says Ben Simms, vice president at Blue Technologies.

While many companies have added technology in areas like accounts payable, HR isn’t usually the priority. However, content management software can help HR be more efficient and reduce errors by optimizing the hiring process.

“Instead of wasting their first day filling out paperwork, new hires hit the ground running,” Simms says.

You want new hires to gather a good first impression, not bog down with paperwork, especially in this tight labor market.

Smart Business spoke with Simms about how enterprise content management (ECM) systems can create pleasant, efficient onboarding and offboarding experiences.

Why is it so important to create a positive first impression with new employees?

Companies only have a short window to convince new hires to stay.

  • 33 percent of new hires know if they’ll stay at the company long term after one week.
  • 63 percent know within the first month.

Once you lose an employee, his or her seat stays empty for 63 days, on average. It can take eight months for the next person to reach full productivity. Many companies spend 16 to 20 percent of an employee’s annual salary trying to replace them.

Without a clear understanding of the HR tasks, documents and tools they need to move through onboarding swiftly, frustration builds, processes stall and information falls through the cracks. A bad onboarding experience doesn’t just affect an employee’s first impressions. It can leave your organization exposed to security and compliance issues, which can affect your profitability and reputation.

How can an ECM solution help?

Automating HR onboarding workflow processes increases visibility and centralizes information management. A well-designed ECM supports effective, paperless onboarding and ultimately improves the service HR provides to new employees.

The ECM solution allows HR staff to track the onboarding process and monitor tasks across departments easily. It provides a comprehensive view of all onboarding-related information, and it should integrate with Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) systems to ensure actions taken within the HRMS initiate associated processes in the ECM.

How do ECM systems improve security and compliance?

Storing sensitive employee data on paper has inherent security risks. Having to explain to employees how and why their personal information ended up in the wrong hands could have serious consequences, including litigation. A paper filing system isn’t sufficient for today’s business landscape. When Department of Labor auditors show up, they’ll likely discover multiple compliance violations due to inadequate recordkeeping and privacy controls. Keeping employee data in an ECM system provides an extra layer of security, ensuring only authorized users gain access.

In addition, employee separation happens with all staff eventually. Whether through resignation or termination, HR staff must follow termination processes and complete the employee offboarding checklist.

An ECM solution reduces risk by ensuring the separated employee no longer has access to applications, information and facilities. It can automate the offboarding process in a central location, including generating checklists, notifying departments of tasks and providing HR with critical paperwork. It also improves the experience for the separated employee, including automated, real-time status updates.

A well-designed ECM system eliminates inefficient paper-based onboarding while saving time and money. When people are your most important asset, ECM solutions can help eliminate errors, oversights, wasted time and potentially bad first impressions.

Insights Technology is brought to you by Blue Technologies Inc.