Digitizing HR Paperwork Can Help Ease Staffing Shortages

In recent months, countless industries have suffered staffing shortages, leaving HR teams struggling to keep up. If you happen to be in healthcare, hospitality, retail or manufacturing, where talent is particularly scarce, it’s likely that your HR team is grappling with these challenges.

A variety of factors have contributed to the shortages, though there is slight variation across industries. In the restaurant, retail and hospitality industries, shortages are largely linked to a desire for remote work. After the pandemic, 91% of workers in the U.S. hoped to continue working some of their hours from home, and historically low-wage, in-person jobs like restaurant and retail saw many employees leave for more flexible prospects. These industries have seen higher-than-average quit rates as a result: the quit rate for accommodation and food services has consistently hovered above 4.9%, significantly higher than the national quit rate of 2.6%.

The story is a bit different in manufacturing, healthcare and education, where the quit rates are lower but there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill demand. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, if all unemployed people with durable goods manufacturing experience were employed, only 65% of vacant jobs would be filled. This puts competition for skilled talent at an all-time high, and places even more pressure on acquiring and  retaining employees.

The task ahead of HR teams is undoubtedly daunting. In addition to recruiting with a greater ferocity than before and finding ways to attract good candidates in a highly competitive market, HR teams are increasingly burdened by their routine, administrative to-do lists. Manual paperwork can get in the way of building an exceptional employee and candidate experience, but fortunately there are automation steps you can take to free up time and alleviate strain on your resources. 

How automating HR paperwork can help 

On average, HR leaders spend 17% of their time each week on administration and operations. That’s a lot of time producing very little ROI. Automating document processes can cut paperwork tasks down from hours to minutes, freeing your HR teams to focus on high-level functions while also saving your employees and candidates considerable time.

United Airlines was able to reduce the time required to complete employee background checks that used to take several weeks down to 15 days with Docusign eSignature.

Improve the new hire experience  

A staggering 20% of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment, which means it’s essential to keep employees happy from day one. An onboarding process filled with paperwork and manual processes can pose an immediate inconvenience for new hires and create the impression that your organization is stuck in the past. This is especially true for Millennials and Gen Zers who expect seamless, technology-forward, digital experiences in the workplace. 

Beyond making a strong first impression, a smooth onboarding process helps set new employees up for success. They should spend their first few days getting to know your company, their teammates and your expectations for them—not filling out paper forms and documents. In the quick service restaurant industry where workers are five times more likely to quit over miscommunications with management during the first 90 days than after, a comprehensive onboarding process is essential to eliminate confusion and maximize retention.

Consider replacing any paperwork or physical documents, like an employee handbook, with digital documents. With electronic signature tools, you can even have employees sign compliance documents like W-2 forms or complete laptop remote requisitions before their first day to free up time on day one. HR platforms like Workday allow you to automatically schedule and send onboarding forms after a candidate signs their offer letter, further expediting onboarding and creating those seamless digital experiences that employees appreciate. In Docusign eSignature you can also automate post-signature tasks like automatically storing W-2 forms in a central repository using Agreement Actions.

Enhance contingent workforce interactions   

If your organization relies on contractors and freelancers to fill labor gaps, quick hiring and onboarding through digital tools is a must. The faster you can bring these employees on, the faster they can assist your teams in need. While 58% of organizations say their onboarding processes are still based in paperwork and manual workflows, organizations with strong onboarding are 70% more productive.

Although often overlooked, the offboarding of your contingent workforce is important to consider, as well. Up to 15% of workers who leave an organization return in the future. By keeping former contractor paperwork in an easily accessible place, you can easily pull data from the completed paperwork and avoid manual re-entry later on, speeding up the rehiring process. This also saves time should you renew or extend your contractor’s agreement at the end of its term.

Boost HR team productivity 

Of course, automating paperwork comes with direct perks for your HR team, too. The Society for Human Resource Management found that 72% of HR professionals don’t have bandwidth to take on new initiatives. By automating paperwork, you empower your HR team to do the valuable work they were hired to do, boost job satisfaction, and create space for productive communication between managers and workers.

A study by McKinsey found that, among nurses who left their jobs, not feeling valued by their workplace was a leading factor in departure. 75% of nurses who left their jobs within the prior 18 months said this played a role in their decision to leave. But the study also identified an opportunity: 56% of surveyed nurses said recognition for their contributions is the most effective way to support well-being. By helping managers implement processes for recognizing employee contributions—as well as acknowledging the work of managers themselves—your team can make big strides in retention.

Make work easier for all teams 

When your company is short staffed, time-saving measures can ensure your organization stays productive, competitive and profitable. That’s where the automation of HR paperwork comes in. By implementing digital processes, you can expedite hiring and onboarding and get employees and contractors up to speed faster. This alleviates the toll on everyone.

Quick and seamless recruitment processes are easier than you may imagine. Using e-signature technology to digitize documents, you can:

  • Route agreements to the proper people in the proper order
  • Enable mobile signing from anywhere at any time 
  • Collect employee information to complete paperwork via a secure web portal
  • Digitally store signed documents for easy access in the future

It’s also a bonus for your HR department: all that time saved (and errors avoided) means your managers can focus on supporting their direct reports for better morale and retention.  

Streamline HR processes with Docusign  

Getting the talent you need when it’s needed, especially in a tight labor market, can be the difference between gaining traction and losing ground. If you’re interested in improving your candidate, contractor, and employee agreement processes, Docusign can help. Docusign helps HR provide a frictionless experience, and frees your team up for work that really matters. Additionally, with pre-built integrations for Workday, SAP and other platforms you already use, Docusign for HR helps eliminate redundant manual processes that take away from your first priority: your people. 

Ready to do staffing better? Learn how Docusign solutions for HR can help.

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