The heat is on for HR departments around the globe. They’re taking on an increasingly strategic role in their organizations while also dealing with a rising tide of employment and data security regulation that siphons away time, attention, and resources. Many have implemented digital solutions, such as HR Information Systems (HRIS) or Human Capital Management systems (HCM), to streamline processes. But new software has done little to tame the paperwork monster.

If your team is experiencing any of the five symptoms listed below, it’s time to seriously consider a robust, end-to-end document management system.

  1. Your HR team is too bogged down in administrative details to act strategically.

HR continues to evolve from an administrative back office to a strategic player at the organizational level. But HR teams still spend 60% of their time on routine paperwork, while strategic initiatives account for just 10%.[i] Your team must maintain complete and up-to-date records throughout the employment lifetime, even as employees move from one business unit or physical location to another. A best-in-breed document management system can pull all records into a single, easily searchable repository that shares data with your HRIS or HCM solution and other HR software. The result? Less time hunting down documents and more time developing the talent your company needs to compete effectively.

  1. Your unemployment costs are through the roof.

Illegitimate unemployment claims need to be challenged with thorough documentation under tight deadlines. Failure to respond effectively results in increased costs. In the U.S., each successful claim affects your company’s experience rating, increasing state premiums by $4,000 to $7,000 over a three-year period. An end-to-end document management system will assure that a complete set of employment and performance records follows employees wherever they work and can be pulled quickly and easily to challenge illegitimate claims.

  1. Responding to an audit disrupts all other work due to the time and resources required to find requested documents.

Responding to internal and external audit requests can be even more demanding than unemployment claims. An auditor may request a single document type across multiple employees, like all I-9 forms, for example. How easily can you provide this documentation when requested? If your department’s work grinds to a halt to address these requests, you need a single point of access to all HR documents, whether they originated on paper, in digital files, or within multiple HCM or HRIS platforms.

  1. Your document storage processes aren’t meeting current regulatory requirements.

Employment regulations dictate which HR records you must maintain and how they are handled, from origination to destruction. If you operate in various jurisdictions, the complexity multiplies. How can you be sure that each employee’s file is complete? How do you track when certain documents, such as certifications, are due to expire? An automated, content-aware document management system can flag gaps and even send requests to employees to update documents before they expire.

  1. You’re not prepared for GDPR or other data security regulations.

If you conduct business in the European Union, you are certainly aware that the deadline for compliance with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was May 25, 2018. GDPR is a strict data protection regime with penalties for noncompliance that can reach 4% of worldwide turnover. But GDPR is merely the latest data protection regulation, and certainly not the last. No matter where you operate, your document management system should keep your sensitive data safe and compliant with government regulations and corporate governance requirements. Ideally, documents should never leave the system: Rather than emailing or printing out documents in response to audits and other requests, HR administrators should be able to grant limited online access to those who need them. In addition, the solution should record every access and every action taken on a document for a complete audit trail.

A Cure for the Chaos

If document chaos is ailing your HR organization, wasting time on administrative busywork and leaving you at risk for heavy fines or rising unemployment costs, the prescription is straightforward: a comprehensive, end-to-end document management system that puts your team in complete control of HR documents and lets them get back to work that can truly impact your company’s bottom line.

To learn more about how a best-in-class HR document solution can transform your HR department, read “5 Reasons HR Executives Champion Improved Document Management & Why You Should Too.”

[i] Access Corp., Three Keys to Easier HR Employee Document Audits


Nicole Hart is a seasoned global HR leader with over twenty years of experience. She focuses on organizational design, change management and workforce planning at Access which has 1800 employees in over 50 locations.