Your Guide To Digitalizing HR Forms

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Vlad Shvets

HR departments across the globe deal with thousands of forms every single year. Could the transition from paper forms to online HR forms be the right decision for your business?

Given the presence of forms on a daily basis in virtually every aspect of running the business, it’s imperative that you give this aspect o admin the attention it deserves. Whether you’re an HR manager, employer, or director, here’s all you need to know about the prospective switch.

The Digitalisation Of The HR Industry

Computer technology plays a more central role in business operations than ever before. The world of Human resources is one of the greatest beneficiaries. It’s not difficult to appreciate the reasons for the ongoing digitalisation, especially as teams can now be split across several locations – in fact, the flexibility of the modern working world means some employees conduct their business from home.

As such, the digitalisation of HR can overcome a variety of logistical problems. Social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies can be leveraged to take the efficiency of Human Resources to a whole new level. Given that under 30% of employees believe HR helps them perform better, investing in the development of better facilities is essential.

Ultimately, HR is a pioneer for the ongoing digitalisation of modern business. Online forms are an integral feature.

The Problems With Traditional Forms

Paper forms have been the go-to solution for generations. Consequently, then, your HR department may have taken the “why fix something if it isn’t broken?” stand. While the procedure of using traditional paper forms might not be broken per se, it’s certainly becoming outdated.

Photo by Christa Dodoo on Unsplash

Traditional paper forms can cause several issues, including but not limited to;

  • Delaying important business activities, ranging from contract signatures to payments.
  • Difficulties with organizing files, creating clutter and running the risk of lost documents.
  • Failure to satisfy the brand’s desire to become a greener company.
  • Wasting time by sorting through the influx of mail received on a daily basis.
  • Difficulties for HR teams to manage different matters simultaneously.

Furthermore, employees expect to see technology in the workplace as a direct result of their increased reliance on tech features in their personal lives. Employee engagements have increased by one-third in recent times, and the digitalisation of the workplace is one of the chief reasons.

However, failure to comply with the need for digital HR and online forms can send mixed signals to halt the progress in other areas. For that reason, the negative impacts of persisting with paper forms transcends the realm of Human Resources and can actively damage the company as a whole.


Introducing Online Forms: The Advantages And Disadvantages

Online forms are designed to serve the same function as traditional forms, recording agreements between companies and employees to remove ambiguity and provide legal documentation. Online forms can be used to replace all types of conventional HR forms, such as:

  • Employment contracts,
  • Timesheets,
  • Expense sheet,
  • Bank detail request forms,
  • Personal reference forms,
  • Incident report forms,
  • Emergency contact detail forms,
  • Drug testing consent forms,
  • Holiday request forms,
  • Workplace safety forms.

Before even considering a potential switch, you’ll naturally want to weigh up the pros and cons. Here are the key features:

Advantages

Employing a paperless cloud-based filing system saves you the hassle of sorting through various boxes to find a document. Instead, you can quickly navigate to the appropriate file within seconds from your fingertips.

  • Using online forms makes the processes quicker, particularly as you won’t have to wait for traditional post. This is crucial in moments where deadlines are fast approaching.
  • Online forms can be easily edited. So, if an employee or recipient has any issue with a particular clause, it becomes easy to use a collaborative form builder and make the relevant changes.
  • Switching to online forms cuts down on paperwork, reducing the need or high levels of storage while also aiding your eco-friendly activities. It removes the need for commercial waste disposal too.
  • Online forms can be designed so that they cannot be submitted until completion, saving your HR team a lot of hassle and wasted efforts.
  • Analytics and AI can extract data and filter responses to speed up the processes. For example, job applications can be automated to only show the candidates that meet the requirements.

Moreover, online forms suit the habits of jobseekers and existing employees. Almost 80% of jobseekers use social media in their search, for example, and online forms can be incorporated as CTAs from those social media job ads.

Disadvantages

  • Online forms instantly discriminate against those without computer access, although the vast majority have access and are computer literate while 74% of workers are actively prepared to learn skills.
  • The threat of computer crashes can cause temporary problems while cybersecurity concerns exist too.
  • It will take some time to incorporate new technologies and support staff development through continued training and skills upgrades.

How To Achieve a Smooth Transition To Online HR Forms

Any business looking to incorporate online HR forms will need to complete a smooth transition at the first attempt or else the knock-on effect will take months to rectify. Planning and preparation are vital, especially in regards to timings, which is why it’s important to avoid making the switch during document-heavy periods.

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

The following seven-point plan should allow you to complete the process in style:

  1. Manage the expectations of shareholders, providing clear explanations of the anticipated timeframes and rewards.
  2. Get employees enthused by the switch, promoting the benefits for the environment and their personal experiences of the workplace. The benefits to the company should be included too.
  3. Create video tutorials and educational materials to explain how the transition will be made, along with the reasons why.
  4. Embrace digital signatures. Online forms will struggle to save you time or remove the need for printing without digital signatures. Thankfully, they can now be captured on computers, smartphones, and tablets.
  5. Invest in the best technologies for smoother, faster implementations and ongoing success for the online form management strategies. The investments will usually pay for themselves within two years.
  6. Organise your paper documents into categories before scanning and storing them in the cloud. This will speed up the process through bulk labelling and support the waste management processes.
  7. Inform clients and suppliers of the switch you’ve made and encourage them to do the same. Otherwise, you’ll be left juggling both online and traditional forms.


The digitalisation of the modern workplace cannot be ignored and the Human Resources department should be the leader of embracing new technologies. After all, the success gained in this area will filter down throughout the business. Switching to online forms is the single biggest evolution you can incorporate. While it will require an initial outlay of time, money, and effort, the long-term rewards are huge.

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