How Electronic Signatures Help HR Teams in Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is in a state of constant change and was met with numerous challenges in 2021 including supply chain disruption, labor shortages and the push for digital transformation. With that said, HR teams and plant managers in manufacturing have their own unique set of challenges when it comes to recruiting, retaining and managing a workforce at the plant. Labor unions and strikes, worker safety, skill shortage gaps, communication challenges on the plant floor–these are just some examples of the facets that HR in manufacturing have to deal with. This is not to mention the ongoing labor shortage and challenge to recruit the next generation of employees that have a different set of expectations in an employer.

If you’re in HR, it’s likely that you’re already familiar with the electronic signature tools out there that can support your HR processes. However, if you want to successfully navigate these challenges, you’ll want to leverage smarter tools and automation that take electronic signatures to the next level. We’ve put together this list of Docusign eSignature features to inspire you to think about how you can meet the top current challenges you may be facing this year.

Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce

The new infrastructure bill is expected to create half a million more manufacturing jobs by 2024. However, according to a recent study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, there will be 2.1 million jobs unfilled by 2030 in the manufacturing industry. This is due to new entrants with different expectations for jobs and careers, a lack of attraction or interest in the industry, and the retirement of baby boomers. In fact, 77% of manufacturers say they will have ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond. Growing and retaining the manufacturing workforce is more difficult than ever in today’s economic climate. Manufacturing companies need to create a seamless modern experience for candidates in order to attract them but also to onboard them swiftly.

Here are some eSignature features that help create a seamless experience for candidates:

  • Pre-built templates: Recruiters can leverage pre-built templates for common candidate documents like offer letters, I-9 and W-4 forms. Templates can save you time and increase accuracy by ensuring certain fields are marked as required to reduce back and forth communications with candidates on incomplete forms.
  • SMS delivery: In many manufacturing plants, plant worker applicants do not necessarily have easy access to a desktop or laptop computer. SMS Delivery for Docusign eSignature enables you to send real-time notifications for candidates to sign from their mobile device. 
  • ID Verification:  Automatically verify government-issued IDs digitally to make it even easier to onboard employees remotely. 
  • Signing Insights: Recruiting a worker is half the battle. Many candidates drop off mid-way through the recruiting process due to laborious onboarding documents. Signing Insights is a data visualization tool that helps admins understand signer behavior and where candidates may be dropping off in the onboarding process.

Returning to factories safely

As the world returns back to the office, workers are also returning back to manufacturing facilities. While manufacturing plants have historically had to maintain strict compliance with OSHA guidelines, including posting health-related notices or maintaining records of workplace injuries and illnesses, more recently, some have also begun implementing COVID-related protocols such as daily screening questionnaires to determine whether or not employees should report to work on-site. You can learn how to prepare your organization for the return to work here.

These features will help streamline HR operations around agreements:

  • Clickwrap agreements: Getting workers to consent to new or updated safety codes in the workplace can be done with a single click while allowing HR staff to manage versioning of the policy. Not only does this offer a positive user experience for employees, but you can also keep track of who has consented.
  • Bulk send: Share a standardized document such as COVID-19 policy agreements with many recipients at the same time using bulk send in Docusign eSignature. When documents are signed, they are automatically centralized for tracking and filing. 
  • Signer attachments: If collecting files from employees, like vaccination cards, the signer can upload an attachment to the document they’re signing. This keeps all the employee information in one central location.

Managing employees in union contracts

The manufacturing industry is one of the most unionized industries in the U.S. with more than half of the companies in Industry Week’s 50 best U.S. Manufacturers claiming union membership. Working with union contracts adds another level of complexity to managing workers as companies need to comply with each union’s collective bargaining agreement. Below are some features that can make managing documents for unionized employees easier:

  • PowerForms: This feature allows you to generate on-demand, self-service documents for signature. With PowerForms, employees can easily access and sign forms with no extra work from HR, such as workers compensation, grievance procedures, accident reporting and leave of absence requests. 
  • Conditional routing and advanced workflows: Grievance procedures often require multiple steps with several reviewers including the immediate supervisor and union representative. With conditional routing, you can use smart steps and logic to ensure a grievance report form will automatically be routed to the appropriate parties for review and approval.

HR teams across manufacturing organizations are tasked with finding ways to put the workforce at the center of everything they do. Docusign eSignature was built with HR teams in mind to make this easier. And with more than 350+ integrations, teams can work faster in software they already use - some include Greenhouse, Workday, Microsoft. Docusign APIs also allows developers and admins to build custom integrations for their homegrown solutions or specific needs, so that all systems work together.

Learn more about our integrations here and our APIs here.