HR Hacks: Five tips to reduce your paper trail.

Sustainability, it’s a bit of a buzz word at the moment, making headlines throughout a number of industries as the UK business community starts to move towards more sustainable business models. For many this might be consolidating deliveries to reduce CO2 emissions or planting a certain number of trees for each carbon tonne used by a business, or it could be a simple as pledging to not print out each email. No matter whether the gesture is grand and small, each will have a positive contribution towards building a more sustainable business model.

The link between HR and sustainability might seem intangible to some, however, there are a few ways in which HR teams can also positively contribute towards their company’s sustainability goals, not only reducing the ever mounting inbox tray on their desks, but also doing their bit for the planet too. So how can HR managers do their bit for the planet? We’ve listed our five top HR hacks on just that.

Surf the intranet

Any HR manager, will tell you, with a groan, how many edits and amendments are required to firstly get a workplace policy approved, and then in ensuring it remains up-to-date. The newly updated policy must then be circulated to ensure all staff are aware of any changes, and before you know it you have a printer that’s overheating trying to keep up with your excessive request and hands that hold more papercuts than you care to count, trying to collate the documents – what a nightmare.

However by hosting all policies and procedures online as a .pdf not only do you save your hands, but you also do your bit for the environment. It’s simple to make amends to one single document, which can then be emailed to all departments within the business via an internal intranet system that every employee has access to. Its’s also easy to redirect curious staff to documents which are held in one central location, so they can access a policy when they need to.

Get Appy!

Within any organisation there will undoubtedly be an element of on-the-job learning, from anything as simple as how to process a purchase order with a new supplier to annual mandatory updates on health and safety, or work place wellbeing. Traditionally, these learning sessions involve sitting in a stuffy room listening to Bob, the company Health and Safety Officer, mumble on for hours before asking a room full of half-asleep employees to take a paper based assessment- not exactly active learning.

However, by using apps, or even gamification, which has recently made its way onto many HR manager’s radars over the recent months, not only are you eliminating the needless paper trail, but you can really engage with your workforce. Suddenly, that mandatory learning session becomes interactive- submersing your employees into real life situations they need to navigate, and before you know it you have fully informed staff that have a drive to learn.

Digital destinations

Often the bug bear of any HR manager’s workload is the abundance of holiday request forms they deal with on a weekly basis, and that’s before they’ve even opened the calendar to see if they can be actioned. But putting candidates in charge of their own holiday leave can get rid of this headache once and for all, and the fact it also eliminates another paper trail is just an added bonus.

The Equator HR Employee Portal gives employees access to their own records, so should there be a change to their details, such as a new address, they are able to update their record. It also enables your employees to electronically request annual leave, freeing you up to get on with other tasks.

Implementing an integrated human resource management solution such as Equator HR, can free up significant resources by eliminating much of the paper work entailed in comprehensive personnel administration. Find out how one leading healthcare company has significantly reduced its paper trail, here.

The payroll paper trail

An arm of HR that’s also synonymous with a heavy paper trail is payroll, especially within larger organisations where the end of the month payroll can be enough to send any HR team into a frenzy, and that’s before you even take into account agency or temporary staff who require a different payroll function altogether. For businesses that employs tens of thousands of people, it’s not abnormal to have a payroll department that needs to start work on the first of the month to ensure everyone is paid on the last working day, leaving precious little time for other tasks.

By supplying your employees with electronic pay slips you can effectively save the hours you previously spent collating pay slips into department order, as well as a fair few trees for your efforts too.

Hiring in the digital sphere

As HR managers are up against a constant battle to attract talent, moving your recruitment processes online not only eradicates the realms of paper applications, but your recruitment practices will become much more responsive. Candidates are able to apply for a position within minutes of it going live, instead of placing all their career aspirations in the hands of a (hopefully) diligent Royal Mail worker.

And it’s not just online job adverts and applications which can reduce your paper trail, taking your entire recruitment process online can further streamline your recruitment processes by automating everything from acceptance letters to reference checks, all of which further reduces your paper trail.

Making a concerted effort to make your HR processes more sustainable means you won’t only be doing your bit for your company’s sustainability goals, but also for the environment too; and that’s before you even consider the cost savings from reducing paper usage. But sustainability is about more than cost saving it’s about safeguarding your business as it grows, seamlessly intertwined with company values, which can not only help you attract the hottest candidates, but can also be the deciding factor for potential new customers and suppliers too.

So why not start going green today? Despite what one famous green frog says, it’s not as difficult as you might think!