HR & RM; Odd Couple or Business Partners

12/3/2014 in Human Resources
Odd CoupleI spend most of my time each day talking to Human Resource (HR) and Records Management (RM) professionals. More and more I’m meeting with HR and RM professionals jointly and it’s refreshing to hear the alignment between these departments. I suppose you could consider HR and RM an odd couple, but when it comes to document management it’s clear these groups should be working together. RM professionals have expertise in information governance and implementing solutions that drive paper out of processes and HR is one of the groups frequently managing paper files and often not appropriately following corporate and regulatory retention requirements. 
There are three challenges faced by both HR and RM that further confirm why these groups need to work together to deploy a digital document management solution.
Compliance - Research from ADP confirms compliance is the number one challenge for more than half of HR leaders. In the past year there have been nearly 20,000 new pieces of legislation affecting companies. An increase in employment legislation and a shorter time frame to respond to audits combined with an increase in fines being handed down by a variety of government agencies makes it easy to understand why HR is so concerned about compliance. If we look at compliance from a RM perspective the story is the same, improving compliance is a top concern. The complexity and volume of rules and regulations combined with the growth of digital documents will continue to put a strain on RM professionals. Maintaining a compliant recordkeeping program if employee files are paper-based is almost impossible. When compliance is not addressed organizations are faced with fines, excessive litigation costs and damage to their reputation.
Integration - Another challenge for HR and RM that can be addressed with document management technologies is integration. According to Bersin’s by Deloitte a large HR organization could have as many as 7 systems; onboarding, applicant tracking, learning management, benefits and the list goes on. These systems help HR in specific areas but without integration, silos are created which increases administrative costs around re-entering information and searching for it. In addition most of the HR technologies are not designed to manage retention and don’t have features such as legal hold. Let’s not forget about all those paper files, which is another silo. A lack of integration is also a problem for RM. According to another study 68% of organizations have 5 or more storage repositories and this does not include those 7 HR systems. File shares, ECM, SharePoint and cloud solutions might all be storing documents and with no integration to create a secure, central repository quickly and efficiently finding information will be a challenge that can have a negative impact on the entire organization.
Cost Control - Every business is focused on the bottom line and controlling costs is critical for success. Research shows some HR departments spend as much as 58% of their time on administrative tasks. No surprise if you have paper employee files. There are the acknowledgement documents for things like employee handbooks, annual training and benefits. Consider the time devoted to distributing these documents, receiving them back from employees, filing them away and tracking that everything has been completed. Let’s not forget about the time wasted searching through technology silos and paper files when you need to access a document. Research from AIIM identifies paper-based processes as a major pain point for businesses. 46% of those surveyed consider that the biggest single productivity improvement for most of their business processes is to remove the paper. Gartner’s 2014 Hype Cycle for Human Capital Management Software indicates moving to a digital document management solution for HR can result in productivity savings of 15% or greater.  Across our clients and here at Archive Systems the productivity savings are actually closer to 30%. Consider all the important tasks that HR team members could focus on if the time devoted to administrative tasks was drastically reduced.
As we consider how compliance, integration and cost control impact both HR and RM it becomes more obvious why these two groups should work together in selecting a digital document management solution for HR. Through collaboration and mutual learning a solution can be implemented that helps both departments, however it is important to understand how both groups approach document management. Using the wrong approach for HR document management is like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole, it just doesn’t work. Attaching documents to an employee record in a HRIS or some other HR technology will lead to compliance problems around retention. Quick, secure access to documents and secure document sharing are also not found in HR technologies. Using file shares will lead to security problems and difficulty finding documents because maintaining a naming convention will be problematic. ECM and SharePoint are expensive and don’t provide the tools HR professionals need. All of these technologies ignore the paper and don’t have an efficient way to bridge the gap between paper and digital documents.
The digital document management solution selected for HR should address the three areas we mentioned earlier; compliance, integration and cost control.
Compliance - FileBRIDGE for HR continually monitors employee files for missing or expired documents. The compliance monitor ensures that up to date versions of the required documents are in each employee file. The compliance monitor combined with tools to securely share information takes the time and pain out of audits. One of our clients is a public company with around 100,000 employees and audits are nothing unusual, they actually deal with audits almost every quarter. During one of their audits they brought in 3-4 temps and after about 5 days of pulling and scanning documents the audit preparation would be complete. After implementing FileBRIDGE for HR preparation for a similar audit and the audit itself only took a few hours. FileBRIDGE has secure data rooms that allow auditors to only review the documents required for the audit. FileBRIDGE also has the features to apply retention policies and administer legal holds which meets the needs of both RM. Retention can be based on document types and trigger events such as termination. After the policy and disposition rules have been set up, FileBRIDGE will continue to apply policy as new documents enter the system.
Integration - FileBRIDGE for HR can integrate with almost any technology allowing it to manage any document, paper or digital, no matter where or how it originated. We work with our clients to automate an information bridge between their HRIS or ERP and FileBRIDGE. This ensures metadata in your employee system of record is always in sync with FileBRIDGE. This is an important step because keying the same information into more than one system is time consuming and creates opportunities for error. Documents can be ingested by upload, scanning, email, fax or secure FTP. If digital documents reside in other HR technologies a bridge can also be put in place between those systems and FileBRIDGE. Through auto classification documents are consistently named and filed with very little human intervention.
Cost Control – FileBRIDGE for HR has configurable workflows to automate administrative tasks such as document distribution, receipt and filing. Searching for documents can be completed in seconds and not minutes. The features I mentioned earlier that support compliance and integration will also improve efficiency and drive down costs. Think about my audit example earlier, no temps and audits completed in hours versus days, those are real cost savings. Auto classification and an automated import of information from the employee system of record and other HR technologies eliminates time consuming and error prone work such as indexing documents.
The right document management technology will benefit HR, RIM & the entire organization. It will give HR more time to devote to important projects such as increasing employee engagement. Record managers will have the peace of mind that the retention of employee documents is being applied consistently according to corporate governance and disposition occurs when it should. Challenges related to compliance, integration and cost control can be overcome through the right document management technology. By eliminating administrative work both HR and RIM will have more time to focus on those tasks that add value to the organization and align with their strategic goals.

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