How EDM raises HR efficiency, security, and productivity
Few of us could argue that less paper in our business processes is a bad thing. When we eliminate paper, the savings and efficiencies multiply—less paper means less need for filing cabinets and the space they take up, fewer printers and less toner are needed, postage savings is realized, time and labor savings add up, and the list goes on. One particularly paper-intensive function in any business is human resource management. The entire process is full of forms, documents, reports, certifications, applications, notifications, and designations. In our continuing look look at the benefits of electronic document management (EDM), we’re taking a closer look at how the technology is the perfect candidate for the human resource department.
We mentioned many of the overall efficiencies associated with EDM above, but in our opinion, the two most significant benefits of incorporating EDM into your human resources department are increased security and automated workflows.
In the HR department, data security is not just good practice, it’s a mandate. Employers must abide by strict data privacy statutes including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA).
Necessarily, the HR department handles employees’ and applicants’ sensitive data, and are obligated to collect and store it in a secure manner. Paper forms, such as applications, may contain addresses, social security numbers, emergency contact information and more — precisely the information identity thieves are after.
By storing all documents in digital form, and promptly destroying any associated paper, companies take a big step toward protecting personal data. Of course electronic data can be exploited by identity thieves as well, and secure document handling procedures, backup and restore procedures, and encryption technologies should be part of every company’s operation.
Each process that goes on in the HR department, including recruiting, applicant tracking, onboarding, benefits election, vacation tracking, through training, and retirement or separation involves a myriad of steps — a workflow. Forms are filled out, routed for approval, verified for accuracy and completeness, entered in the HR and payroll systems, the right people are notified of the actions, and likely several more steps. Electronic document management does this better than any human can — and it creates an audit trail for easy recall.
Most EDM solutions provide for electronic forms — that are just that, electronic versions of the very forms companies use every day for every task. They can be customized to collect the data specific to any company’s specific task — a vacation leave request for example — and can be assigned rules and a specific workflow. An employee might initiate the form on a company’s internal website, and the EDM solution routes it automatically according to the rules established. Perhaps that vacation request first goes to the employee’s manager for approval, then to the department head, and then on to HR. At each step, the various stakeholders can be notified, keeping everyone in the loop and also alerting folks to a bottleneck when the request gets stalled. It’s an efficient, paper-free way of accomplishing the daily tasks that HR is responsible for.
How Are You Managing Paper Now?
Incorporating an electronic document management solution in the HR department can literally transform the department by automating workflows and approvals, digitizing and routing forms, and securely archiving sensitive data — freeing HR staff time to focus on more strategic endeavors.
It’s worth spending some time thinking about and then mapping out the flow of paper in your human resources department. The volume of paper and the number of times that paper is handled may surprise you. Be sure you take this mapping process through to the short and long-term storage of the paper documents and their retrieval down the road. By understanding how documents flow throughout your organization, you can better design a paperless system that meets your company’s needs and delivers the efficiencies and data security you expect. And we’re here to help. Contact us for additional information on EDM.