Research shows that roughly 66% of companies still use traditional, manual, pen and paper administrative processes for employee contracts and other onboarding documents. Even the 34% of companies that send these documents via email, as opposed to present a hard copy in person, still often require the documents to then be printed, have a written signature on the document and then either have them returned as a hard copy, or scanned and emailed back. For all the technological advancements made in the past 25 years, it amazes me that, so few companies have digitised this process. It is a typical pain point for job seekers when they accept an offer and an area often highlighted when discussing candidate experience, as job seekers know that it’s a process that is unnecessary with modern ways of working.

Boost the employer brand

In a world where everyone is speaking about the future of work and digital disruption, what kind of impression do you think your company makes when they require pieces of paper to be printed, signed, and returned? Is it one of a technologically savvy, environmentally conscious business that aims to make its processes as simple and convenient as possible for its employees and customers? Or do you think that the business will come across as very traditional, who takes an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality to how they do things? After all, the technology to facilitate an entire paperless, digitally enabled contracting process has been around for nearly 20 years. It is of course the latter. By embracing a modern way of working, you are also promoting the business as a great place to work and one that is conscious of the environment.

Save time and money

In addition to being able to show that the business is technologically savvy and conscious of environmental causes, there is an even better reason to embrace a digital contracting and onboarding process. It speeds up the process of issuing and returning contracts and other documentation and is significantly cheaper too. Research shows that on average, the entire contracting process usually takes about 10 days to complete when it requires this to be done manually. It takes a while for the contract to be prepared and often the recipient will not have a printer or scanner at home, so it takes a while to get everything printed off, signed, and returned. By contrast it has been showing that by using a digital platform to run the entire process from end to end, the entire process takes on average 36 minutes to complete.

There are also the obvious cost benefits. Most businesses will have at least one person who is responsible for managing the contracting process. When you factor in the cost of salary, overheads, plus any other costs such as postage, paper, running costs for printer and scanner, ink etc, it costs most businesses at least $17 per document. By digitising this process, that number falls significantly, and depending on the volume of work, makes a tangible difference to the bottom line of the function.

Increased security and compliance

Finally, the added advantage of moving to a digital process is that it is significantly more secure than the traditional process. Because everything is done online, there is a clear audit trail. There is also significantly less chance that a business will fall foul of data privacy regulations as only assigned individuals will be able to have access to the system. It also reduces the chances that a document is accepted without all the required information being recorded. The digital systems make it impossible for a person to move the document on to the next stage, without all the required information being completed.