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How to create a paperless HR department?

HR function involves all sorts of paperwork concerning the employees and clients.

This may include records of current and past employees, legal contracts, payroll details, and the like. However, paperwork comes with a lot of inconveniences apart from being an unsustainable mode of working.

Keeping and organizing records can be quite a hassle since misplacing them is a common issue. And that can put you in a fix since administrative records are integral. This advocates for a paperless HR department, which is not only much more sustainable but hassle-free.

Research on the estimated expenditure on paper was also conducted. It showed that 3% of a company’s revenue is spent on buying paper and paper-based working.

According to a 2016 survey, 80% of small and mid-size businesses showed interest in eliminating paperwork from their business. They cited reasons such as money and time wastage, lack of security, and raised rates for employee turnover against paper-based work. And since the HR department is involved in the majority of the paperwork, it’s quite important to know how you can create a paperless HR department. Here is a rundown of how you can do so.


1. Opting for recruitment tools

The recruitment process involves a lot of paperwork since employees are just coming in. From their verification documents to contract with the company, everything involves the usage of paper.

However, with the advancement in technology, several recruitment software have also popped up, making the process more feasible and fast. The function of this software is to automate the whole process from job posting to keeping a talent pool on a digital medium. Not only that, but the onboarding paperwork can also be conducted via the same platform.

Application Tracking System (ATS) is the best technological approach to automating the hiring process.


2. Educating employees about the need for going green

Before putting the whole paperless idea in place, you need to educate your staff. This can be thought of as a process of conditioning. Herein the need for sustainability and the edge technology has over paper must be taught.

Rock Regan, director of Kronos, said- “People resist change.” A report by professional services firm Towers Watson advocated for the same. 79% of the HR department found technology more effective for core compensation activities. Irrespective, 47% of them still stick to paperwork. This suggests why education about the need for a paperless HR department is important.

Training can be conducted on why technology is needed and how to put it to use. And since it would be a new practice, you can offer positive reinforcements for those who use paper the least.


3. Lay emphasis on electronic tools

Quite often we encounter situations where after filing a form, we have to print it, sign it, and then scan and upload it. Not only is it time consuming, but also charges extra bucks every time. The HR department is loaded with such documents that need signatures, like the contract of an employee, appraisal, and so on.

To combat this issue, e-signatures have come as a convenient alternative, besides being more secure. Tools such as an electronic pad for signature are the way ahead. Signature Capture Device uses this technology for e-signatures.


4. Substitute paper with automated tools

Paper is needed almost at every step of an HR activity. However, in modern times, there is a technological substitute for every paper-based task. Earlier digitalization of forms required IT supervision, but with tools like Google Form and JotGorm, this is no more the case. Feedback, evaluation, application, everything can be filled via digital forms.

In addition, PDFs are a worthy solution for exhaustive documentation. The storage and searching of documents has also become better with the advent of cloud storage. Software like DropBox allows you to keep your documents safe and secure. You can also find these documents way easily with a digital medium.


5. Scan existing files

Apart from the motivation for adopting a paperless approach, it is important to know the software that you are working with. To get yourself acquainted and shift everything online, you should scan and upload the existing files on an online portal. This will not only help you in catching up with the old documents, but also pave the way for everything that is going to come next.

While scanning everything, in the beginning, may look like a troublesome deal, it is worth it in the longer run. Heather Neisen, HR manager at TechnologyAdvice said- “I had to scan every single document. Still, the benefits are clear.”

However, once this process is done, there is no looking back. The HR department shouldn’t be catching up with the same old details again and again. The paperless approach must only move forward. Compatibility with the technology in use is vital to make the process smoother.



A paperless HR department not only vouches for sustainability but also safety and security. According to a report, large organizations tend to lose one document every twelve seconds. This is not the case with paperless documents. Not only are they securely fed in cloud storage, but it is also way easier to locate them using a keyword.

Besides, the Evolving Workforce Project conducted research on whether or not technology enhances productivity. 83% of workers agreed upon the positive impact of technology on productivity. This provides an additional reason for going paperless. It makes the work faster, efficient, and sustainable. 

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