July 15, 2014 by Susan Matthews Categories: Solutions

This is part 1 of 2 in a series that identifies how to manage and process HR documents better, faster and less expensively.

If the paperwork in your HR department is overwhelming, a good way to better manage your employees’ files and streamline the new employee on-boarding process is with electronic forms. While there may be initial resistance to automating a paper-based process using e-forms and accepting digital signatures, the risks of not doing so can be significant. You can do more with less.

Are HR E-Forms a Good Fit for Me?

All companies require new and existing employees to fill out and update HR related paperwork. Any document that an employee has to fill out is an ideal candidate for e-forms, including:

  • Employment applications
  • W-4s, W-9s and I-9s
  • State tax forms
  • Policy acknowledgements
  • Direct deposit authorizations
  • Confidentiality & non-compete agreements
  • 401(k), benefits & healthcare enrollment with beneficiary designations
  • Performance review forms

What Are the Risks of Doing Nothing?

Not only is paper unnecessary, but also there are numerous risks associated with having sensitive employee information on paper:

  • Paper can easily get lost, into the wrong hands or damaged
  • Information manually keyed from paper forms can have a high error rate
  • HIPAA compliance affects any document containing employee medical information along with a personal identifier, increasing the population of documents that must be handled accordingly
  • Retention schedules vary widely based on document type and must be adhered to for compliance. Records management of digital files is more easily achieved than with paper files.
  • During an audit, documents must be produced in a very short period of time or you may be fined. It is quicker and easier to locate, retrieve and share digital documents vs. paper files.
  • Paper-based audits create disruption and keep your staff from focusing on their core responsibilities.
  • Benefits “miscalculations” can result from incomplete legacy payroll records and result in lawsuits
  • I-9s and other HR documents must be kept completely separate and secure, including from your IT department (think: cloud)

How Do E-Forms Work?

  • E-forms capture everything, from information keyed in by employees to digital signatures to ID card photos. They can be accessed on tablets, desktops or kiosks.
  • HR documents are automatically routed to the right people for processing, approval and exception handling with workflow automation software
  • Intelligent e-forms workflow identifies when documents are missing for a file to be completed and measure how long the process takes to identify inefficiency and bottlenecks
  • Data entered on e-forms can automatically be uploaded to your core HRMS/HCM systems eliminating the need for manual data entry and corresponding errors.
  • Information captured with e-forms integrates with your core HRMS/HCM system so that you can do everything within your core software and don’t have to search for documents in other applications; HRMS/HCM systems include ADP, Sage HCM, Oracle PeopleSoft, SAP, etc.
  • Once an e-form is processed, it can be securely stored in document management software for secure and immediate access, including remote offices and from mobile devices; document management systems include: FileBound On-Premise or Cloud, Digitech PaperVision or ImageSilo

How Do I Get Started with E-Forms?

Taking advantage of e-forms for new employee onboarding or any other process begins with identifying the forms you use today and recreating them electronically. The information captured by these e-forms is then integrated with your back-end accounting/enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and stored as digital images in your document management software for immediate retrieval from your laptop or mobile device.

When you consider the myriad of benefits of using e-forms for the new employee onboarding process and throughout your HR department, it is well worth the effort from our experience – and that’s before workflow automation streamlines the process further. Workflow dramatically reduces the need for manual intervention and dramatically improves the efficiency of your HR department.

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