by Mitch Taube | 7/26/16
E-forms and workflow automation have caused a sea change in human resources and hiring processes. Businesses can now streamline and simplify the application and onboarding process, which is especially important for companies that are growing rapidly or hire seasonally. The combination of e-forms and workflow automation saves valuable time and resources while helping to ensure compliance and providing managers insight into the hiring process itself.
The Problems With Paper
With a paper-based hiring process, potential new hires are required to fill out a paper application. This document is then taken to an HR manager’s desk for review, and if everything goes well following a company’s hiring practices, the new hire is onboarded. This process can include more forms filled out for that new employee’s file, and once everything is in order, the information is handed over to a data entry professional for manual input into the company’s payroll and HR systems. Following data entry, the file makes its way to a filing cabinet or storage box for long-term safe-keeping, where it sits until needed, at which point yet another staff member must come find it amidst every other employee’s file.
There are many potential problems with this setup. First and foremost are the ample opportunities for human error to disrupt the process throughout. Whether in the initial filling out of forms by the applicant, during the manual data entry process, or when everything finally gets filed away, there is no way to absolutely ensure total accuracy on each document, nor that all necessary documents have been completed within each employee’s file. Furthermore, the physical storage of every employee file leads to more potential issues arising, from simple clutter and disorganization to misfiling to security and compliance issues. Each of these potential pitfalls slows processing times and creates major headaches and inefficiencies for HR staff, particularly for organizations that rely on regularly returning seasonal hires.
E-forms and workflow automation offer companies a much more efficient and compliant way forward.
Electronic Forms and HR Automation Software: The Perfect Combination
Businesses can securely post e-forms online, eliminating paper right from the beginning of the hiring process. An applicant can fill the electronic application out on his or her own time, and based upon the information entered, other forms relating to a specific position can be presented for completion. Upon submission, workflow automation software routes the e-forms and digitized documents through the proper HR channels for review.
For returning hires, e-form applications can be immediately integrated with a company’s ERP system to automatically populate existing information. The applicant simply has to double-check accuracy before submitting the new application, and if something has changed, he or she can update that information directly on the e-form.
Eliminate Errors and Ensure Compliance
There is no need for data entry specialists throughout this new digitized process. When a new or recurring hire is onboarded, data from the e-forms automatically uploads to your HR system, eliminating the need for manual data entry, as well as any subsequent errors. An electronic file, consisting of the completed e-forms and any scanned documents, will be stored on the company’s HR software. Since there’s no need for any actual, physical storage, this buys back space within an office (or eliminates the need for outside storage).
Better still, any forms or documents that need to be completed for the employee file to meet full regulatory compliance must be filled out before the entirety of the file can be submitted. Workflow automation software ensures employee files have all the required documents during onboarding, and can send automatic alerts if something is missing. This eliminates the possibility of human error leading to incomplete files, which is especially crucial in the case of I-9s, any discrepancies with which can lead to major fines during an audit.
Insights for Managers
For management, this automated setup provides an extraordinary level of insight into hiring processes. When workflow automation sends an application through the proper channels, in addition to speeding hiring it allows managers to see exactly where inefficiencies or bottlenecks are occurring. And if employees are falling behind in their work, management can see that, and make real-time adjustments to the workload. There’s also no limit to what documents can be made into e-forms, allowing firms to completely automate the hiring processes while simultaneously eliminating paper-pushing and manual data entry.
A New and Better Hiring Process
HR automation with e-forms changes the game for businesses. HR staff will be able to redirect their attention from document handling, manual processing and chasing down old employee files to seeking greater efficiencies in their hiring processes. Employee onboarding times will improve significantly, in some cases from weeks to days, and for seasonal rehires it will move even faster thanks to pre-filled forms and integrated payroll data. All appropriate documents must be in a file before the hiring process can be completed, which makes audits move more smoothly and lessens the possibility of violations and fines. Even better, data sharing between management and automation software allows for proper diagnosis of any workflow issues that may be occurring.
Businesses that continue to rely on paper-based processes and manual data entry open themselves up to a variety of unnecessary issues and inefficiencies. E-forms and workflow automation offer organizations a new and better way to hire both full-time and seasonal employees, saving HR staff time and headaches while bolstering the company’s bottom line.
Mitch Taube is the principal founder of Digiscribe, formed in 2001 to provide companies of all sizes with cost-effective document scanning, document management software and workflow automation services. In 2010, he co-founded Digiscribe New England, an affiliated company serving the document management and business process automation needs of companies and organizations in New England. You can contact him at email@example.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.
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