THE DIGITAL WORLD – The Great Paper Chase

When it comes to finding areas to cut down on a company’s paper use, the Human Resources (HR) department is typically one of the best places to start. Based on findings derived from analytics in our Managed Print Services (MPS) solution, HR is typically second only to finance in terms of departments that rely heaviest on paper-based processes, instead of embracing more efficient digital processes.

This holds especially true for legacy companies that have been in business for decades as opposed to start ups just entering the market, which tend to be digitally native and build their business processes around the latest technology and software. Consider the vast piles of paper HR departments across the country generate on an annual basis. The problem typically begins right at the very start of the employee recruiting process. A man- ager sends a requisition higher up the chain seeking approval to fill a position. Typically, the requisition begins as a web form which is filled in, printed, signed, scanned and then sent off via email for approval.

From there begins the mountain of paperwork that will follow an employee throughout their time with a company — offer sheets, onboarding documents, benefit forms, changes of address, changes of marital status, training certificates, offboarding documents, and on and on. Those reams of documents neatly gathered and organized in filing cabinets for years at a time represent more than just an unnecessary use of paper. They shine a light on something beneath the surface that can be even more troubling for companies of all sizes — inefficiency, information security threats, compliance risks and obstacles that may prevent a good employee experience.

Studies show that 33 per cent of new employees know whether they will stay at their company long term after just one week. Sixty three per cent know this within the first month. We all know retaining new hires is critical to maintaining productivity. On average, it takes eight months for a new employee to reach full productivity, and businesses can spend up to 20 per cent of an employee’s annual salary to fill an empty seat. Enhancing an employee’s experience through seamless digital and automated processes at the start of their new career journey provides businesses with a competitive advantage in not only attracting high value employees, but also retaining them.

Xerox — a company that made a name for itself by inventing the photocopier but today which is heavily invested in helping businesses of all sizes shed their ties to paper — sees excessive paper in the workplace as a concrete example of a missed opportunity to capture efficiencies, reduce hard costs, mitigate risk and improve overall employee, customer and supplier experiences.

Xerox’s three-step approach to helping clients move to digital-based processes is a proven model that can drive sustain- able benefits. The approach starts with getting familiar with the printed pages within the organization, utilizing Xerox’s MPS (Managed Print Services) solution.

The second step is the use of analytics and consulting to identify high paper-consuming departments and users, and sharing insights on why documents are printed, where they end up and which ones would benefit from digital processes.

The third step is to generate a baseline understanding of document-intensive processes and recommend the appropriate software and services to digitize and automate them, as part of an organization’s overall digital transformation roadmap.

Companies that make the investments to digitize their HR processes can realize enormous benefits that improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and mitigate risk, but also increase employee satisfaction and retention.Digitizing HR workflows improves the employee experience during onboarding by making it more convenient, easy and seamless for them to fill in and submit various forms and documents. The more satisfied an employee is early on — particularly during that first week and the first month — can play an important role in their decision to stick with a company long-term, or move on.

Going digital can also give managers and HR professionals the tools they need to get the right candidates into position as quickly as possible, shrinking the hiring period. Shifting from paper-based requisition forms for new hires to digital forms and electronic approvals leads to faster turnaround times to fill vacancies. It also gives HR managers the ability to quickly filter through resumes based on specific criteria to find the most suitable candidates for positions. Finally, automating the onboarding process improves the employee experience by utilizing digital workflows and approvals to ensure they’re equipped with everything they need on Day 1, including computers, mobile devices, network credentials, employee badges and parking passes.

In addition to reducing storage costs for paper files, automating HR processes can also enable companies to improve compliance on records retention and increase file security. While the idea of cutting ties with paper can be daunting, MPS can act as a springboard to begin the journey to digital transformation for day-to-day document processes that touch your device endpoints. This approach makes it easier to break digitization into bite- sized chunks and implement solutions based on data. A measured pace of change lets you transform at a manage- able rate.

About the Author: Mohan Mailvaganam is Director of Digital Process Automation at Xerox Canada. You can download a copy of Xerox’s print-to-digital workbook at com/en-us/managed-print-services/insights/advantages.