6 Paperless Procedures for HR Admins

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1.     I-9 Form Retention Policy

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has updated the familiar I-9 form to a two page form. They’ve made the job of filling out the form easier, and provided employers with ample excuse to review our I-9’s. Here at ColumbiaSoft, it also means reviewing our automated retention policy. If you haven’t updated your forms yet you can get it here – https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

Retention policy that automatically deletes the I-9 for any terminated employee three years after the employee was hired or one year after the date of termination.

2.     On-Boarding Process

Does it feel like the process of hiring a new employee means a ton of paperwork and herding cats? I remember being hired and only filling out the one W-4. Nowadays, it’s multiple government forms, health insurance, direct deposit, life insurance and investments. Inc. magazine had an article regarding the process of building your Onboarding Plan. They point out how technology can help you herd cats (it doesn’t decrease the forms, sorry). The neat factor here is having that checklist automated into a workflow. As Inc. says, “Automated systems are especially useful because onboarding requires the involvement of multiple departments within a company.”

After the offer letter has been signed, the hiring manager kicks off the workflow. It automatically creates an employee folder structure with sub folders for personnel and confidential documents. It simultaneously sends notifications to the payroll, benefits, accounting and IT departments to set up their desk and credentials.  Tasks are marked off, documents are collected, and a welcome letter is sent along with the employee handbook with its own workflow.

 3.     Handbook, Time Cards and Expense Reports

Each year (and sometimes in the middle) we do a full update to the employee handbook. It is sent around by electronic workflow to the employees who must acknowledge that they have read and understand the document. In fact all of our approvals, including timecards and expense reports, use a workflow. It gives employees specific deadlines, escalates with reminders, and will notify the manager when the deadline is reached.  HR is still responsible for receiving the documents, but people tend to move a little faster when they know their manager will be notified, versus just hearing from the HR hounds.

Workflow for timecard and expense report approvals, as well as Handbook distribution and acknowledgement.

4.     The one and only current version

Picture this: you have multiple people editing one document, and then emailing it around the office.  The current version can become multiple versions that will need to be compiled. Consider how many documents you need to edit each year for open enrollment, that you then save as a PDF, creating an additional document. Then next year you have to track down the editable version and repeat the process, creating more versions. Now, imagine ONE document, with one name, and all your versions are saved, everyone can edit it from the same location, and there is no confusion on which is THE current version. (cheers here)

All documents stored in one accessible area, with version control maintaining order and keeping your files clutter free.

5.     Security and Privacy.

Are your cabinets unlocked during the day? While a filing cabinet provides one level of protection, keeping your files in a secure system provides multiple levels of security. Additionally, unlike a filing cabinet, you’ll know who did what and when. Security levels will prevent anyone from accessing what they shouldn’t, and you can also be notified if anyone ventures somewhere unnecessary for their current tasks. In fact, if you take a step back and consider the printing/faxing/paper shuffling that goes on, how often does a document sit open on a desk longer than it should, and risk being read? The paperless method skips the printing, processing and shuffling of documentation, and avoids the risk of a document sitting on someone’s desk or being lost.

All documents saved directly from email or fax, accruing security rights, and never placing privacy or security in question.

6.     Assessments and Investigations – No experience? Knock on wood.

Audits may seem like a distant threat, or they may be right in your face every day, depending on the industry and state you are in. Two things to remember about audits – One, they come in many forms (workers compensation, unemployment, I-9s, FMLA, OFLA, exempt classification, benefit questionnaires, taxes and employment verifications) and two, they can be painless. Documents are already electronic, there will be no “pulling of a file” and the searchable text and metadata information can be pulled as fast as you can type. The Society for Human Resource Management has a quick and dirty audit checklist which covers some of the basics – https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/tools-and-samples/hr-forms/Pages/personnelfileaudit.aspx

All documents at your fingertips, easy to search on, easy to pull and easy to send off if requested by lawyers or government agencies.

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