David Wilkinson of Storetec examines the issues – and potential benefits – involved in moving towards a ‘paper-lite’ HR function
More and more HR departments are joining the digital revolution and going paperless. HR is at the heart of all businesses: recruiting, training, assessing and managing staff is all done through this essential department. The daily processes of the HR team have seen large amounts of paperwork being kept for many years.
Traditionally, this paperwork has been in the form of hard copy paper documentation. From initial interview of potential employees the paper files are created, expanded and filed in an organised, indexed manner for easy future access. However the space this requires means that after a time large swathes of the office are being used to store confidential records. As the archive grows, finding the right file and having easy access to the information can become an issue. Some HR teams run out of available space and often send older files to offsite storage or less accessible corners of the building.
THE RECORDS BURDEN
The HR department is resource heavy; it requires a lot of staff time to manage employees, the records, potential employees and past staff members. With records being kept for the entire employment period of the employee and beyond, or in some cases where company pensions are involved, the lifetime of the employee, it’s easy to see the issue of record storage becoming burdensome for the HR team.
Taking all of this into consideration it’s easy to see why many businesses today are using specialist HR software products. The use of these packages has allowed the HR team to stop or dramatically reduce the amount of paper being added to the physical paper record. Instant access to information – and the ability to share information quickly across the organisation – has seen these systems becoming an integral part of the modern HR department.
Implementing the HR software system only goes so far to alleviate the burden of paper files as most organisations still have the older physical paper record. Some HR departments have considered or started the laborious task of digitising these records but soon come to realise that the job is far bigger and too time consuming to be completed. The space needed and potential compliance implications often serve to kill an in-house scanning project before it’s begun.
It is at this point that many organisations give up on the process of archive scanning and conclude that, although not ideal, running a half-and-half filing system is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
The alternative if you don’t want to be restricted to outdated paper records is clear. You need to bring in the experts and outsource your problem.
A professional document scanning provider will be able to advise on your digitisation project, in many cases showing the HR department how outsourcing can in fact be more cost-effective and certainly more efficient than the DIY approach.
The scanning provider will remove the hassle from the project and deliver peace of mind that the records will be scanned and images returned in a timely fashion. Once the paper files have been digitised the images can, in most cases, be uploaded to the HR department’s software. This allows the organisation to hold all employee information in the same place, with all of the benefits of instant access, security and information sharing.
There are a number of additional benefits in using an outsourced service provider like Storetec. A fully managed service will see your paper files taken offsite quickly without you having to make complex plans for removal, boxing or temporary storage. In many cases there is no need to dedicate your HR staff to organising the files or adding any additional file index information. Your files will be scanned by a dedicated, professional team, backed by the latest technology to provide you with high quality images.
You can rest assured that there are no data protection issues if you’re using a professional scanning partner. But it is worth checking that the company you choose has fully compliant processes which meet or exceed legal standards.
The images and indexing data produced can be provided in a file format that can easily be imported into your existing software – but make sure your service provider can deliver on this. You don’t want the task of importing one file at a time into your HR software.
One of the biggest advantages of going paperless is the freedom it offers the HR department. Traditional HR departments with paper based filing systems have been tied to operating at the physical location where the paper files are stored. This limits the department’s ability to offer flexible working arrangements such as working from home or smaller regional offices.
Going ‘paper-lite’ in your HR department is the sensible approach for any organisation looking to become more efficient, streamline their processes and help their staff be more productive.
More info: www.storetec.net
Human Resourceful (2016, May), Retrieved from http://www.btc.co.uk/Articles/index.php?mag=Document&page=compDetails&link=6708