Written by Kronos intern Amanda Martineau. Amanda is an intern working with the SMB product marketing team on outreach, content marketing, and content development. She will be returning to the University of Massachusetts Lowell this fall where she is majoring in marketing & management.

Happy Earth Day, readers! 

That’s right, Earth Day 2019 is here and to celebrate, I’m going to share some insights on how going paperless in the office is not only beneficial for the environment, but for HR professionals as well. Here are 5 benefits of going paperless that extend beyond Earth Day. 

Crumpled paper globe earth day concept

1.    Cost

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paper usage in the office comprises the largest category of paper product consumption and landfill waste. It’s estimated that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year and over 16% of landfill waste is made up of paper. Although the environmental benefits of going paperless may be obvious to most, what some businesses are still overlooking are the cost saving benefits. Industry research firm Gartner, Inc. estimates that as much as 3% of a company’s revenue is spent on paper, printing, filing and the costs to store and maintain files of information. So even though the physical reams of paper don’t seem that expensive, the hidden costs associated with managing and storing paper add up. Who says going green can’t save you some green? 

2.    Talent 

As environmental awareness continues to grow, it’s changing the way businesses attract and recruit talent. More businesses than ever are finding that if the eco-values of the organization align with those of candidates, they are more attracted to apply and many employers believe they are more likely to stay with the firm. This is becoming especially true of millennials, who now make up over half the workforce. In fact, a 2018 study done by Deloitte found that millennials are becoming increasingly sensitive to how their organizations address issues such as income inequality, hunger, and the environment; with 88% of millennials believing that employers should play a vital role in alleviating these concerns. However, only 18% of respondents felt these concerns were reflected as a top priority in organizational strategy. 

By implementing HCM technology that allows the business to go paperless, HR professionals can differentiate their organizations as more socially conscious than others, giving them a unique competitive advantage in the battle for talent. 

3.    Onboarding 

Perhaps one of the most paper-based parts of an HR professional’s job is onboarding. Employee handbooks, benefits information, I-9s, direct deposit details – all these things add up to form a pile of paperwork. Not to mention the potential for all these manual forms to overwhelm and confuse your new hires. By switching to an electronic employee onboarding process, you can save yourself time and effort while also improving the employee experience. 

Effective employee onboarding software should: 

•    Allow employees to access the system using any device, including mobile
•    Allow HR to review forms instantly, eliminating piles of paperwork
•    Enable employees to securely submit documents 
•    Allow employees to sign forms digitally 

4.    Productivity 

According to a recent survey done by SHRM, 77% of HR professionals report having gone paperless within the past two years. Of these professionals, 35% report spending less time on administrative tasks. If your HR department is still bogged down by manual HR processes,   they’re missing out on time they could be spending building strategic influence and focusing on employee experiences. Switching to paperless HR processes can save you and your organization substantial amounts of time and money, freeing you up to focus on what really matters. 

5.    Security 

In the age of cyber-hacking and data breaches, some may be skeptical of this next benefit, but hear me out. According to a state of the industry report by Shred-it, an information security company, hackers are no match for employee error and insider tampering. The report found that 47% of business leaders cited human error such as loss or mismanagement of documents as the cause of a data breach at their organization. Digital records are more secure than printed ones because they can be rendered unreadable through encryption and secured against printing and copying. Access controls can define viewing privileges and reveal who accessed what documents and when. Printed documents are only as secure as their proximity to a printer or filing cabinet. 

In Summary 

The benefits of going paperless reach far beyond environmental impact. By cutting down on paper and switching to HCM technology, HR departments have the power not only to greatly reduce their organization’s environmental footprint, but also to save themselves and their organizations time, money, and resources; further transforming themselves into strategic partners within business. Earth Day represents yet another day when HR professionals can affect positive change within their organizations. 

Published: Monday, April 22, 2019