Onboarding a large number of employees in a compressed timeframe can be a nightmare. Some applicants are new and some may be returning employees, requiring you to know the difference between the two, to match those returning with their existing records and run new employees through the entire on-boarding process—fast and without mistakes. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to go on a permanent vacation.
Fortunately, with electronic forms (e-forms) and office automation, there’s a better way: you can streamline the entire process with something we call HR onboarding automation.
Automation Begins with E-Forms
E-forms simplify the onboarding process for both re-hires and new hires by capturing data without paper. This eliminates the need for manual, error prone data entry and space-consuming file cabinets. E-forms can also exchange data with your HR and payroll systems, which allows for merging the data with an existing record or using the data to create a new record and automatically alert you to what needs to be captured for all applicants.
By utilizing office automation software, completed e-forms, scanned documents and electronic documents will automatically route to the appropriate personnel for review and approval. This accelerates processing, improves visibility and accountability and streamlines a once cumbersome and time-consuming HR process. More advanced office automation software will alert you if any information or documents are missing from an employee application file.
All employee information is then most effectively managed in an electronic file cabinet where you can secure access rights to each record and/or folder to ensure HR compliance—either on-premise or in the cloud.
Case in Point
Here’s an example of how e-forms and office automation software simplify and streamline the employee onboarding process of hundreds of seasonal employees for a summer educational program that serves thousands of children.
The onboarding process begins when applicants fill out an e-form on-site with a signature pad used as part of the process. Data from this e-form is compared with information in the employer’s payroll system. Re-hires are recognized based on a match of SSN and address and the e-forms are automatically populated for review and approval by the returning applicant.
If there is no match, the applicant will need to complete the e-forms generated as part of the new hire process. The appropriate e-forms to be completed are generated based on the job applied for, e.g. teacher vs. staffer (W-2s, I-9s, etc.). Upon completion, the e-form and any accompanying scanned document or electronic files are routed to the appropriate personnel for review and approval with workflow automation software. The software even alerts the employer as to what documentation is needed and/or missing in the process, information that is needed before a new hire can start work. For both new and re-hires, their information is uploaded into the HR and payroll system automatically, eliminating the need for any manual data entry and streamlining the process. The completed e-forms are then stored in the document management software for retrieval when necessary.
Hiring Headache Averted
In both the new hire and rehire scenarios, e-forms and office automation in the form of document management and workflow automation software ensure that all required employee information is automatically collected, exchanged with HR software, has no gaps in information, and is in compliance with all appropriate regulations.
We recently interviewed Kyle Healy, vice president of corporate development at NFP, a leading insurance broker and consulting company, about compliance in HR departments and he explained that digital solutions like automation are frequently recommended as a way to mitigate compliance risks. He specified that automation eliminates error-prone manual processes and makes it simple to adapt to new and changing regulations, something that’s much more difficult when dealing with paper.
And when you’re dealing with a wide variety of employment classes, like seasonal staff (think summer camps, retailers, schools, or manufacturers) or remote staff, having an adaptable onboarding system is key. That’s because, as Healy stated, “compliance laws and regulations that deal with health care, minimum wage, and employment classifications are constantly changing, and a filing misstep could cost your business in hefty fines.”
Curious to see what office automation looks like in practice? Read the case study of an HR department that used automation to cut down their employee onboarding time by 50% and improved efficiency.