Tips for Getting the Paper Out of Your Onboarding

Can you really go completely paperless in your onboarding process? That’s a question that depends on a number of factors. One of the most important is whether the government will permit you to forgo the use of paper forms. Currently, at the federal level electronic forms are accepted as equivalent to physical documents. The E-Sign Act of 2000 and the recent regulatory clarifications from the DHS both clearly show that the government is committed to making it easier for employers to go fully virtual.

Do Employees Need Paper Copies?

Another issue that faces employers is the requirement to provide new hires with copies of all the documents they sign. This includes (by law) a receipt for their I-9 form…if requested. In some states, there are additional requirements for items such as wage/hour policy statements to be provided in writing to new hires.

However, it may be possible to avoid wasting paper in these situations by providing such documents in electronic format. For example, a PDF that is generated and emailed to the new hire’s work email address might fulfill this requirement. Employee forms often contain personal identifying information such as SS#s that could create a risk of ID theft. So, emailing the information directly to the recipient who must log in to the work email account to access it may be more secure than simply having forms printed out.

New hires should always have the option of accessing printed versions of their onboarding forms. The policy acknowledgements they are signing are legally binding documents. This means they have the right to keep a copy for their personal records and to refer to if a dispute arises. However, this doesn’t mean that new hires should be required or even encouraged to print everything out. It’s just an option to offer.

Acculturate New Hires to Use Less Paper

Employees need to feel comfortable working in a virtual environment. This means they must see that it is easy to navigate and that documents are securely stored/readily available. Using Universal Onboarding is the first step in getting new hires in the right mindset to work in a paperless environment. From there, it is easier to train them to take further paperwork reduction steps such as using your company’s ESS portal.

Get Rid of Old Paper Forms

On the storage side, going paperless doesn’t just mean not creating new documents. It also includes getting rid of the old ones. Scanning files into your data management system and shredding forms you are no longer required by law to keep on file are two important steps you should consider taking. This limits not only your storage costs, but also your exposure in the event of an audit. With Emerald Software Group’s workforce management solutions, everything from the application process through onboarding, action requests, personnel files, and all other employee documentation can be handled electronically.

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