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How to Move Off Paper-based Forms and Records

Obviously it starts with strong HR software technology.  But after that, how do you make it happen?  A system by itself will not bring success.  Remember the saying “You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”?   The same goes for employees, managers and even HR administrators.  If you don’t focus on the human factors in your organization, the best HR software will not make you successful.

Moving from paper-based to electronic processes is CHANGE.  Don’t assume everyone is going to jump on the technology bandwagon.  It is human nature to be change-averse and comfortable knowing the current methods.  Implementing a new system will take many hours of planning, configuration and testing.  It would be wise to spend a similar amount of time on the human side of communication, selling and training.

If your intended users won’t use it, then the best paperless system will end up being a waste of time and money.  Determine who your supporters and stakeholders will be.  Communicate the benefits of the new system early and often.  These include fewer errors, easier retrieval, self-service from office or home, better privacy and security, better compliance, timely alerts and communication and “fewer trees killed.”

When forms require employee signatures or acknowledgement, this can be accomplished through electronic signature and electronic forms.  This has been tested, proven and in the market for years.  Storing and recall of these documents is now easy and effective.

Of course you’ll still have some employees that are uncomfortable or inexperienced with new technology.  Don’t let this slow or stop you.  In the year 2016, these same employees are probably doing their banking online and shopping on Amazon.  Offer “classes” to train employees.  For a period of time, offer personal help in the HR Department to assist employees with questions or enrollments.  Establish shared PC’s or kiosks for workers to use in general meeting areas or break rooms.  Ask these same employees what they need to make the new system work.

A major HR system change is likely to occur only once every five years.  So take your time to do it right.  Bottom line, get your users to embrace the new system and clearly communicate the WIIFM - “What’s In It For Them.”  No implementation is perfect but these tips will go a long way toward user acceptance and success in forever eliminating paper forms and records.


Note: Some content was based on a recent article by Dave Foxall as published by HRMS World.