As HR professionals, your role encompasses a wide array of responsibilities that collectively help build and maintain a company culture that allows employees to thrive. These responsibilities are accompanied by an avalanche of paperwork associated with onboarding, offboarding, policies, procedures, employee relations, personnel forms, and more. As the world continues to go digital, how can HR teams better leverage technology to be more effective leaders?
For many, evolving how they have conducted business for years comes with much reservation, mostly stemming from notions that it’s an IT function, costly, difficult to implement, and will interrupt business continuity.
Fortunately, none of those preconceived thoughts are true. Digital initiatives can start with HR — and empower HR professionals to streamline processes while reducing costs. In particular, existing digital processes can be made more accessible to leverage data, and traditional paper-based processes can be automated, both of which provide valuable time back to both HR professionals and employees at large.
Advantages of Paperless HR
According to Gartner, only 29% of employees believe HR has helped them perform better. By continuing to rely on paper-based processes and digitized documents that are unmanageable, unclassified, and overall not set up to easily extract information with the appropriate permissions, HR professionals are missing valuable opportunities to increase their productivity.
Implementing the right digital transformation strategies will enable HR professionals to refine their workflow tasks, digitize content at scale, easily access and manage content and data with deep contextual awareness, and make use of different content types and structures of information for HR categories. Above all, digitizing paper-based processes and taking the content that is already digitized and making it searchable, accessible, and indexed will allow you to focus on providing an exceptional employee experience.
For example, during a merger and acquisition integration process, with a digitized process, you can quickly and effectively transfer your information from one system into another, while having visibility into potential anomalies or groups of employees who may need or require further information or support to ensure a smooth transition into the new company.
Offboarding is another challenging task for both HR and displaced employees that can be eased through automation. During this process, HR professionals need to be accurate and timely when responding to unemployment claims — especially since filing deadlines can be in the range of one-to-two weeks from when the notice was mailed. Having a digitized process that can automate these workflows allows you to easily access the employee information you need to support or deny the claim. This not only ensures you are adhering to federal guidelines but focusing the bulk of your time on providing a great employee experience rather than paperwork minutiae.
Digitizing paper-based documents is an important step to improving the employee experience, but it’s not nearly enough. After embarking on the digital journey, it’s critical to ensure your digitized documents are actually accessible and searchable — so you can leverage the data contained within them. Accessible, searchable data is the key to enhancing the employee experience, as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies can allow you to understand the data on hand and put insights into action.
These intelligent technologies enhance the employee experience across different channels, and they also drive effective and speedier business decisions. The more data AI and ML can tap into, the stronger the impact on overall productivity and decision-making, so it’s critical to be able to make paper-based information accessible and searchable. Ultimately, shifting to digital processes and intelligent technologies translates to greater profits for the business, increased time savings for HR professionals and employees, and reduced costs across the entire digital ecosystem.
Preparing for the Future of Work
Although today’s workforce has drastically shifted to remote work and the recruitment landscape is being molded to fit this new normal, one thing remains constant — a key reliance on ensuring consistency, compliance, and timely decision making. Now, more than ever, it’s not only vital to ensure companies have a better handle on key information, but it’s critical to be able to access and understand that information to drive HR tasks effectively.
Digitizing and understanding data is critical to improving the customer experience. But where does a company even begin? Examine the employee journey to identify the pain points. What are your current employees’ – and future employees’ — touchpoints with HR? Have you optimized these key touchpoints in a way that the experience you create provides new value? This will provide the opportunity to uncover insights that support increased productivity, employee engagement, and employee retention.
Change is not easy, but it is well worth it. There’s an abundance of opportunities that come with automating mundane tasks, which in turn will allow for improved approaches to capturing information using both structured and unstructured information to drive insights and inform the HR and employee journey ahead.