Posted with permission taken from a conversation from the CALHR Forum
A*: My company is working toward the goal of becoming paperless. How have your HR departments accomplished this and how is it working out? I look forward to your responses. Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.
Tom: The biggest problem that I see online having undertaken the paperless route last year is that in our business, many/most times we need a live signature to verify past employment and with schools to prove consent for the release of transcripts, degree verification, etc.
- While Electronic Signatures for consent purposes for employment-related Consumer Reports (background checks) are still not yet strictly legal under the FCRA (no matter what the FTC says), many are tempting fate by executing consent through an eSignature and learning that when it comes time to verify past employ men, and education that they are having to go back to the candidate for a wet signature, which is a pain. We believe that it is just smarter to obtain the written consent at the outset supplementary to the eSignature that way we are in place and can move forward; faster once a signature is demanded by a prior employer or educational institution.
Other than that, an HR paperless process undertaking is best expedited through the use of a good HRIS and ATS system, such as Yardi, iCIMS etc.
Keep in mind, A* that going paperless is a fundamental change in the way one does daily business so be patient and take the time to ensure that each and every piece of paper you substitute for an electronic data bit is planned and that the data is backed up at least three times; that way your redundancy will ensure seamless and uninterrupted operational flow.
Imagine losing the only file you have where you once had paper and can’t put your hand on a critical document.
Not pretty. Hope that helps!
A*: This is extremely helpful, Tom. Thank you
Tom: My pleasure – I never realized what a fundamental change is effected when you get rid of paper; but the most direct upside benefit to doing that is the cost, space and time savings.
At APSCREEN, we have gone paperless gradually, which has been terrific for us – so my advice is to not be in a hurry to go paperless, do it gradually.
Looking just at the paper, toner cartridge (for printers and fax machines) and telephone time charges for faxing in and out, our costs associated with the processing of paper have been reduced by almost 80%! That translates to maintaining our ability to reduce prices rather than increase them and that is a big deal if you want to maintain fixed bid contracts like most of our Aerospace clients do.
File storage costs have also been reduced by 95% because we now store our files electronically (we shred after scanning) so we have eliminated all but a small percentage of square feet of floor space where file cabinets and Bankers Boxes once stood.
We did see a one-time cost increase – we shredded most of our paper files over the past two years after scanning those files so where we once stood in a sea of file cabinets in our lobby, I can add more cars! (For those on-clients who have not visited us, our lobby is full of collector and classic cars which is the only way to have a lobby in my view [Big Smile] with the only drawback being that when we get a visit, we rarely ever get around to talking about employment screening – everybody wants to look at the cars!)