"Paperless" HR paperwork

I'd love to hear from folks who have gone to a fully electronic employee file for all new hire paperwork. Here are a few questions we have (so far):

  • How has it worked?
  • How did you make the transition? Did you keep paper versions from existing employees?
  • How did you handle I-9's and viewing employee ID's?
  • If you have multiple locations, do you have files at your Corporate Office in HR, or are they at your various locations?

Thanks for any feedback and insight !! - Steve 

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    • Kate Legters
    • Organizational Psychologist. HR/OD Leader.
    • Kate_Legters
    • 5 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi Steve!

    We went completely paperless while I was at Amazon. It worked very well. I wasn't involved as the project lead, but I did have to manage it at the local site level (as it was a company wide initiative pushed down from Corporate). After the transition, virtually nothing was done via paper.

    • The vendor they selected came in and scanned all current files and aggregated them appropriately (personal, medical, investigation files). The electronic file system connected directly with our HRIS system, so any updates there synced with the employee file. New hire paperwork was then filled out online and directly sent to their employee file virtually. 
    • I believe all paper was moved to a centralized location and eventually destroyed. No paper versions were kept onsite after the transition. 
    • I9s were handled through Hire Right electronically. New employees received a prompt to complete section 1 of their I9, as part of their other electronic paperwork. On day 1, we verified IDs and entered directly into Hire Right (during orientation). No copies of IDs were kept, and HireRight will prompt you for which IDs need scans in to the systems. 
    • Before the transition, files were at the local site level. After the transition, only the site and corporate could view the file. If an employee transferred, the file followed them electronically in the system.

    I will say the only downside to e-files is the amount of paperwork you have to scan, versus just dropping in a file. But, if you encourage most of your paperwork to be submitted electronically, it's really not that bad! Hope that helps - let me know there any questions I can help with. :)

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  • A couple years ago I transitioned from paper to electronic forms for new hires. Our applicant tracking system (thru Frontline Technology) has the capability of creating form packets and to email the packet to applicants. I am notified when they complete the forms and I still print them, mainly because payroll prefers that process. 

    - it works well and saves a lot of time

    -yes, continued to keep the paper version and continue to print the forms

    -I-9s - I still do it by hand and collect the documents myself


    Hope you find something that works for you. 

  • GREAT question!  I am a huge fan of electronic processes - primarily because I really hate to see paper waste, but I digress.


    We are not fully electronic just yet, but working in that direction. I LOVE it!  In answer to your questions:

    * It has been working very well. Onboarding new hires has been streamlined, and it makes the completion of all that awful new hire paperwork a breeze.  

    * We started with baby steps. First, I looked at what information we really needed to collect for new hires.  There was some missing info, but a lot of redundant info. So I developed forms that could easily collect information in one spot, and made the forms fillable so that they could be completed online or via Acrobat pdf forms with an electronic signature. Whatever I can keep electronically, I do. The only exception to this is that I do keep a hard copy of Forms I-9 in a binder for easy access - audit, retention, etc.

    * We complete the online Form I-9, and I still inspect ID documents, print and sign. At some point, we will move this to a fully electronic completion and filing, but ... the time it takes to complete is really minute, so I'm not too stressed about this particular sticking point at the moment. 

    * All original copies of everything (no matter what it is) come through corporate. The beauty of many HRIS is that you can give your managers/supervisors access to specific folders. So gone are the days of having to keep multiple files - or worry that one file is obsolete, or doesn't contain the most current info, etc.  We can keep everything electronically, regardless of from where it originates. The biggest hurdle is training the managers/supervisors to use the HRIS properly - and to remember to upload documents (such as write-ups, or kudos, or copies of jury summons, etc.) to the employee's electronic file. Within the system itself, you can keep different folders with different permissions. So I can keep a confidential medical file, for example, that only HR and the immediate supervisor has access to. (Although, in my company it's HR and the CFO.)  We have another folder for performance management that the manager/supervisor, HR, and Dept. Lead have access to. AND the employee has access to this folder, as well, so he/she can easily view performance evals or other related supporting documents. (Transparency!)


    Hope this helps!! 

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  • Hi Steve!


    We are going through this right now. We are currently transitioning to Paycom, which will allow us to go paperless with our onboarding paperwork and eventually out HR files in general. 

    We will be moving all of our paper files into the appropriate segmented sections within Paycom. We haven't decided if we are bringing in someone outside to do this or handling internally at this point. 

    From my understanding (it launches for us October 1), employees will sign digitally for the I9, take photos of their IDs and still bring them in on day 1-3 for us to confirm and finalize the I9 on our side. It also handles E-Verify for us, so we'll no longer have to do the second step. 

    All of our files (24 total locations) are currently physically held at our corporate office. We'll soon be rid of 3 filing cabinets of employee files. 

    I'd be happy to chat further offline once the process is complete! 



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  • Amy Goodman - We currently have Paycom and are looking to backscan employee files.  For new documents (offer letters, background checks, etc.), we can do right in the system.  How did you end up incorporating your older documents?

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    • Donna Orlando
    • Director of Human Resources
    • Donna_Orlando.1
    • 5 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    We are in process right now of going electronic. For existing EEs we scanned all of their paper files. The only paper we still collect is an I9 which is then scanned into an electronic I9 folder on our SharePoint site.  Our HCM is a web portal that is self service for our employees to log in and make name, W4 and DD changes and then we get an email notification when they do! So nice not having all that paper on our desks

  • Amy Goodman We are transitioning to Paycom for our first check in January.   Do you have any tips or suggestions for the onboarding paperwork process?  

    • Lauren Stockton
    • Talent Acquisition Manager
    • Lauren_stockton
    • 5 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi Steve,

    We just implemented Paylocity for hr/payroll and plan to use it for all employee file information for our 75 person firm. We so far have kept the paper versions for those employees who were here prior to the implementation but have the ability to scan and upload documents to the Paylocity system and house there under individual employee profiles.

    For I-9, Paylocity allows us to complete it in their system and the employee uploads a picture of their document, which I then verify in person and electronically sign it. They link to e-verify.

    We do have 3 sites and house all files at the headquarters.

    We also are just now wrapping up our first online benefits enrollment event in the system.

    Feedback from new hires and the benefits enrollment have been that the process was quick and easy and preferred over filling out a bunch of paper forms. 

    I'm glad to share our experience so far with anyone who's interested in hearing about it!

    -Lauren Lonce

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