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Part Two: Important HR Workflows Negatively Impacted by Paper and Manual Processes

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Here we take an in-depth look at common HR workflows and the negative impact of paper and manual processes upon them.

In part one of our three part series on the impact of paper and manual processes on HR departments, we examined the costs—in dollars and cents, risk and inefficiencies—of an over reliance on paper and manual processes. In part two, we look at the impact on HR workflows in greater detail.

As an HR leader, you’re responsible for the efficiency and effectiveness of your department, and as such, are always on the lookout for areas of improvement. Below we take an in-depth look at common HR workflows and the negative impact of paper and manual processes upon them.

Recruiting and selection

As you’re all too aware, there’s a lot of documentation that goes into the hiring process: resumes and cover letters, applicant correspondence, references and recommendations, interview notes, and any potential offer letters; to name just a few. With a reliance on paper and manual processes, keeping it all together in one neat folder—and then accessing it when needed—can be laborious and time consuming at best, an invitation for lost or misplaced paperwork at worst. Incomplete candidate files can then lead to ill-informed hiring decisions and the unintended passing over of well-qualified applicants.

And even if everything paper-based goes to plan, nothing goes missing, nothing takes too long, and you find the ideal candidate. Well, then there’s….


Even more information goes into completing the onboarding process—emergency contacts, W-4/tax forms, a direct deposit form, EEO information, technology requests, an employment contract, and an I-9 form. Not only is keeping that information in-line critical to an employee’s successful start, it is also highly sensitive.

With paper and manual processes, you have little to no visibility into the onboarding process, including delays in new hire task completion. Ask yourself:

  • Can you easily coordinate the arrival of a new hire with all relevant departments?
  • Can you ensure necessary paper work completed or tracked as “to be completed?”
  • Does the employee have everything they need to start on day one (i.e. the necessary equipment, software, security access, etc.) or will they be sitting around unable to perform their job, possibly thinking that they made a mistake joining your company?

Employee File Management

And it doesn’t get any easier once a new hire is a full-fledged employee. What about leave/vacation tracking, employee status change notifications, employee referrals, and travel requests to name just a few?

Can you be sure that all necessary documents are stored in one centralized location? Or could they be scattered in different places? Would you be able to easily find them? Are you confident that manual data entry is error free? Information is not at risk? Would you even know if documents were missing until you went manually searching for them?

Policies and procedures administration

You may disseminate changes to policies and procedures by email. You may do so by paper. But can you be confident that changes are actually, you know, read and acknowledged by employees?

Workflow automation takes the guess work out. Not only do you eliminate the spread of important information through easily missed emails and paper memos, but can guarantee that changes to company policies and procedures are seen and acknowledged by all necessary employees.

Employee Separation

If not handled properly, an employee’s departure can bring serious risk to an organization. What happens if paperwork is not correctly filed, or if an employee still has access—either virtually (program logins) or physically (key cards)—to sensitive information?

There’s a lot of boxes to check during employee offboarding—supervising the return of access and equipment, conducting an exit interview, handling the necessary paperwork—which can all too easily be missed when relying on manual processes.

In part three, we’ll discuss how to move to a more digital way of working.


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