The Business Case for Digitising Human Resources
By Tommy Petrogiannis, eSignLive by VASCO,
December 11 2017 - The digital revolution has come to human resources. Advances in software solutions and new tech tools - cloud, mobile, analytics and social media - liberate the HR function from time-intensive manual administrative duties and allow HR teams to become more strategic contributors in the organisation.
HR sees the benefit of adopting technology to improve its practices, but what if some companies still need convincing? Here are the top four ways digitising HR functions adds value to the organisation.
Elevate the Employee Experience and Enhance the Employer Brand
The recruitment process reveals a lot to potential employees: if the process is slow and cumbersome, it reflects poorly on your organisation. But if you can create a convenient, modern process, you will be better positioned to attract and retain top talent.
From the moment someone is recruited to when they are hired and onboarded, projecting a modern, digital experience sets the stage for the employee's first thoughts of the company. If the onboarding process is seamless, convenient and easily completed on a mobile phone, you'll leave a lasting impression that will help establish a precedence for the quality of work experience the new hire will have with the company and their colleagues.
This is why we're now seeing leading HR organisations equipping employees with the latest tech tools and mobile apps. The U.S. Military found that when it came to attracting new recruits, lengthy paperwork was a huge turn-off for 18 year old candidates. In rural environments, applicants were making multiple trips to a recruiting office as far as three hours away just to sign documents. By digitising the recruitment process the U.S. Military became better positioned to compete for talent, especially amongst digital natives and mobile-first Millennials.
Reduce costs and time associated with paper
Paper-based processes are the norm in many HR teams because that's the way it's always been done. However, there are hidden costs with paper that are only revealed when companies begin to compare the cost of printing, scanning, storing and destroying paper against a completely digital process. Using technology like electronic signatures in an employee onboarding process can eliminate up to 80 per cent or more of the document handling costs.
Furthermore, there's a growing culture around remote working that companies including their HR departments need to accommodate. This is easier said than done if the company is still entirely paper-based. Not only is it costly, but it also takes time. For example, you might be able to carry out a range of tasks while on the go, but if you need a signature to complete, many employees will still need to wait until they get into the office. In this day and age this is no longer becoming acceptable, and many companies are turning towards e-signatures and digitisation to save time and money.
Save Your Organisation (and HR Team) Time
While digitising HR can be great for recruiting, onboarding, and retaining employees, effective end-to-end digitalisation can stumble over one element: the need for a signature.
Sending paper back and forth, and waiting for signatures to arrive in the post can be time consuming and costly. Indeed, recruiting officers for the U.S. Military were spending an average of 70-80% of their 12-14 hour workdays processing paperwork. For organisations onboarding large numbers of new hires, such as groups of summer interns or even staffing agencies that process hundreds of new employees each week, using an e-signature tool provides immediate visibility into exactly who has received and signed which documents. This is a direct benefit of digitisation - something that isn't possible with paper.
Advanced notification options, including emails and push texts, remind signers that signatures are due, which saves the staffing agency the time and expense of chasing signers.
Also, investing in digitisation will improve productivity within the HR department. For example, e-signatures reduce processing times and free employees from unnecessary administrative tasks, allowing them to apply their expertise where it matters.
Minimize Errors and Risk
Another issue to keep in mind is the cost of errors. Manual, paper-based processes will inevitably be more vulnerable to errors such as missing documents, pages, or signatures. However, automated processes can enforce workflow rules so that these common errors disappear.
Technology also significantly mitigates risk exposure. Risk not only includes compliance and regulatory obligations, but also the consequence of mismanagement. In addition to audits by internal and external auditors, the HR function may also be exposed to legal disputes. Misfiled paperwork or lost paper files put the organisation at risk of not being able to prove that processes such as terminations, for example, were carried out in accordance with applicable laws.
Digitisation doesn't have to be a huge undertaking. At a pragmatic level, burdensome tasks, such as chasing approvals and signatures for new hires, completing onboarding paperwork and shipping performance evaluations between remote offices can be accomplished with greater speed and centralised control. At a higher level, the availability of cloud platforms, applications and tools give HR greater autonomy. By prioritising the digitisation of daily HR operations, human resources departments will be in a better position to support the employee experience - ultimately driving better performance and growth.