Among all departments in an organization, human resources (HR) is probably the one that depends the most on forms. The entire employee lifecycle – beginning at new employee on-boarding through to performance evaluations, advancements, disciplinary measures, separation, and retirement – relies on forms and documents. Besides transactional forms related to employee/employer actions, HR typically audits, maintains and updates position descriptions, correspondence with outside entities like insurers and government agencies, and many other documents.
Forms and documents play a crucial role in ensuring HR processes and operations are running with optimal efficiency and complying with internal and external rules. However in many companies today, manual document processes and paper-based forms are a barrier to productivity; repetitive tasks increase delays and risk of errors, which can lead to compliance violations and even law suits.
If one had to pick only one department where digital, automated technologies made a huge difference in productivity, human resources would be a good choice. Here are three ways you can optimize HR processes and associated forms and documents.
1. Standardizing Forms and Documents with Templates
Tools like Xpertdoc’s Template Builder can turn a disjointed collection of documents into a streamlined library of standardized data-driven templates. HR forms are fairly similar across all organizations. A bit of editing to add dynamic fields linked to your database and business rules for the inclusion of employee and company-specific terms and language is all it takes to easily create a digital library of pre-approved and personalized HR documents.
This eliminates common challenges human resources departments constantly encounter – redundancy and delays. When a supervisor must record a disciplinary action, for instance, you wouldn’t want them to search their hard drive to find a copy of a form they used the last time they disciplined an employee. With access to a centralized library of standardized templates, supervisors and managers across the organization can quickly find the documents they are looking for, while being confident they are using the latest versions every time.
Another example where data-driven templates increase efficiency is benefits management. Human resources must distribute relevant forms and informational documents to employees at benefits enrollment time. These items may differ between hourly and salaried employees, or by geographic region or corporate division. Data-driven templates enable the generation of accurate and compliant forms and documents for each employee depending on the variable parameters stored in their file, in your database. By personalizing documents for employees, your company increases understanding and relevance, and reduces the number of inquiries human resources must handle during this busy time.
2. Automating HR Processes and Documents
Automated HR processes leveraging a solution like Xpertdoc Smart Flows remove the burden of manual tasks. Actions initiated by employees, management or human resources are often multi-step affairs; one person begins a document generation process that at some point notifies someone else in the organization to take a specific action, e.g. review, approve or e-sign the document. With Smart Flows, the document transfer occurs automatically; what was once an opportunity for delay is now done in seconds. As soon as an action is completed, the next action is programmed – whether it is delivering the document to the intended employee or archiving it in the employee’s digital file.
Many forms and documents used in HR require signatures by employees, supervisors or managers. Integrated digital signature capabilities like those found in the Xpertdoc solution are a big improvement over sending paper copies around the organization, wondering if they ever got signed, and mounting follow-up actions to get signed documents back to the files in the human resources department. Seamless integrations to leading electronic signature providers ensure HR forms and documents are rapidly delivered to the appropriate person. Documents are signed and sent back in minutes – all through a secure, reliable platform.
Consider off-boarding. When an employee leaves, a company must take many steps including revoking the employee’s network credentials, forwarding emails to the replacement employee, collecting keys or ID badges, conducting exit interviews, cutting final paychecks, ending insurance coverage, and more. Separation can be emotional for employees and employers. Several departments and individuals are involved, and people may be tempted to skip steps to hasten the process. This can cause hardship and difficulties later. When the process is automated, HR are assured that the required forms and documents are compliant – using accurate data and employee-specific content from your database –, delivered to and signed by the right individuals, and archived in your system per your organization’s rules. Automated technologies give you the piece of mind that all company or government-mandated measures have been performed.
3. Digitizing Data Capture
Data-driven templates can draw information from interactive web forms like Xpertdoc Smart Forms. This feature is especially helpful during new employee on-boarding. In a typical scenario, human resources must furnish employees with dozens of forms to fill out. Most of those forms require the same information such as the employee’s name, address, birthdate, or social security number. With Smart Forms, information is collected from a single form and used to populate linked HR document templates. Guided functions built-in the form will detect if the new employee has neglected to enter some mandatory information, so they can make corrections before they send the form to HR. Smart Forms end the time-consuming practice of sending forms back and forth between the human resources department and the employee.
Regulatory compliance is always a concern for HR. Employee data captured with Xpertdoc Smart Forms is automatically stored in your connected database, eliminating the risk of errors associated with manual transfer of data from one platform to the other.
With standardized data-driven templates, automated document processes and digital data capture forms, you can optimize HR processes, forms and documents, and spend less of your time on manual administrative tasks to concentrate on more important duties, like team-building or employee training.