Many organizations recognize the advantages of converting from old paper-based human resource document processes to a more modern digital approach.  With increasing awareness of the security and governance risks posed by paper HR documents, companies are looking for ways to efficiently convert all of their existing paper files to digital documents, and start down a new path creating exclusively digital documents.

The question is, ‘what is the best approach?’ In order to decide, we have to be clear on the goals of the project and the anticipated benefits.  If the goal is simply to convert paper files to digital files, but not materially improve business processes, then there are several low-cost approaches.  However, achieving a more meaningful business impact requires more than a simple conversion. So, first things first…

Define the Goals

“Let’s go paperless!”  What a great goal, but what does it really mean?  Nearly every organization that has been around for any length of time has a collection of paper personnel files.  Usually, these files are stored within close reach of the HR department, and there is a fairly high level of interaction with the files.  In fact, most HR departments spend an enormous amount of time and resources filing papers, retrieving papers, chasing people to provide updated paperwork, and responding to requests for information about employees contained in the paper files. One study showed that 71% of HR staff’s time is spent on service delivery, record keeping, compliance, and internal management.

Human Resources departments are constantly challenged to do more with less.  Most HR teams operate with barely enough resources to stay on top of the day-to-day requirements, and do not have extra bandwidth for anything out of the ordinary.  In fact, most HR leaders find little time to raise their sights above the basics in order to contribute to the more strategic goals of the company, or address the growing need to invest in employee engagement.

Different approaches to HR Document Management will result in dramatically different results in terms of freeing up HR resources to make a more strategic contribution.

The principal areas to consider when setting your goals for a ‘go paperless’ initiative are:

  • Security
  • Accessibility
  • Efficiency
  • Usability
  • Cost and Complexity to implement

Each approach has a different profile for these key goals, so it is important to define your objectives for the project. In part 2 we will dig deeper to uncover what each of these separate topics entails and what components need to be considered when defining your goals. Next we look to define the measurements for each of these areas.