Rescue Your HR Department from Drowning in Paper Forms

By NE Docs | November 15, 2017

Drowning in Paper Forms

Human Resource professionals across America are buried in paper forms and documents. Whether its onboarding forms, such as I-9s, direct deposit documents, or benefits and administrative documents, such as Health insurance, 401Ks, PTO Requests, Disciplinary Forms or Annual Reviews, day-to-day management of paper forms has become unbearable. Ask any HR professional, “Did you enter this career to help people or push paper?” Going paperless presents an alternative work environment that is both productive and engaging.

Paper Problems and Pain

A 2015 survey revealed that, even with a plethora of available software technology tools, 47 percent of HR departments were still using paper for key compensation activities, with 42 percent continuing with paper documents for global grading or job leveling.

A simple risk assessment would show that the more employees and compliance regulations you have, without some sort of relief, there is a greater likelihood of HR document management failure and staff productivity decline. Simply put, paper documents and forms present a growing cost and burden on your staff for managing storage, access, and archiving. HR departments are reporting that they spend 2-3 days out of the week dealing with the sheer volume of documents.

Those people who chose HR as a career are finding that they are more “paper pushers” than advisors to those very people needing their services. They want a satisfying work environment with opportunities for employee engagement. Look at the statistics! Only 38 percent of employees stay with their current company because of their satisfaction with their career and their work-life balance (see The Pursuit of Employee Purpose – Cornerstone).

A Better Mousetrap

A better solution is one that your staff can wrap their enthusiasm around – in other words, one that helps them do what they see as their job of helping co-workers and new hires. But how do you replace all those paper documents and legacy processes?

The best way to go paperless is to never use paper in the first place. However, for most companies this is not a choice with all the document assets they already own. The next best solution is to move in the direction of going paperless by systematically replacing paper documents with electronic forms, or “e-forms.” This approach should also entail using software that simplifies and improves process efficiency for storage, retrieval, distribution, and archiving.


The trend is to apply technology for greater efficiencies. recently noted, “Improved technology and security are prompting HR departments to shift more functions to paperless processes,” even when there is lingering employee resistance. reports, “Digitalizing HR will change everything about the way we work, including the nature of our work, career structures, knowledge, workers, workers’ expectations, and the skills needed to do one’s job. Employees want an experience, not just a career, and they want to be engaged in their work and their company.” [From Translating the HR Digital Revolution to Everyday Work (]

Using e-forms will make your HR Department more productive and user engaging. It will run more efficiently. E-forms should be supported by software and processes that secure, retain, and retrieve documents and forms with less redundancy of effort and greater use of staff time. For example, the software should be able to scan existing paper documents; create new electronic e-forms; organize and index documents as HR-related for easier retrieval and compliance auditing; and secure all documents to prevent loss, misuse, and theft.

Consider how your documents are currently being used and how you would like them to be used. You will probably find that many of your documents may never need to be printed. Others may require being filled out and routed to people external to your organization. What about employment applications, tax forms, signature cards, and HIPAA privacy statements? The solution is simple – use electronic forms.

The key benefit of e-forms is that they make it possible to go paperless and streamline your HR processes at the same time. Consider these common HR applications for e-forms:

  • Disciplinary Forms
  • Direct Deposit Forms
  • Human Resources Onboarding
  • Annual Reviews
  • I-9s
  • Benefits
  • Questionnaires and Feedback Forms
  • W-4s
  • Time Sheets/Paid Time Off Requests

For further information about going paperless using e-forms technology and what it can do for your organization, call us at (603) 625-1171 or contact us and speak with one of our electronic document management specialists.

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