Paperless Employee Onboarding – How To Make It Work for Your Business

Updated: May 9, 2024 | Published Nov 10, 2022

You’ve heard about paperless HR processes, but what does that mean? And why should you care?

Paperless HR means using technology to streamline the process of hiring new employees. It saves time for both employers and applicants, and helps ensure that all information is accurate.

What is Paperless Employee Onboarding?

The future of work is digital. And with digitalization comes a paperless workplace.

All aspects of a paperless workplace will shift online through the use of digital tools and platforms to optimize workflow for leaders, HR managers, and – especially – employees.

Paperless onboarding is the first step on a paperless employee’s journey

Transitioning to Paperless Onboarding

Every organization is at a different stage in their digital transformation. Wherever you stand, your paperless onboarding system can be implemented bit by bit. 

In the guide below, we’ll cover each aspect of paperless onboarding from pre-onboarding to the employee’s first days and weeks. 

Phases of New Hire Onboarding

New hires go through a few phases. Whether traditional hiring or paperless – the stages are generally as follows:

  • Phase 1: Pre-onboarding as soon as the candidate accepts the offer.
  • Phase 2: First days at work where the new employee and team get to know each other. 
  • Phase 3: Role-specific training to get the new team member up to speed as quickly as possible.
  • Phase 4: Majority of training is complete and the new hire has developed a level of autonomy in their role. 

The Benefits of Paperless Onboarding

Moving to paperless onboarding is an important part of workplace digital transformation and there are many benefits, as it:

  • Eliminates the need for employees to fill out paper forms by hand
  • Reduces the number of errors made during the application process
  • Saves time with employee self-onboarding
  • Increases employee satisfaction
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How Does Paperless Onboarding Work?

In order to make paperless onboarding work for your business, you’ll need to set up an online system that allows new hires to complete necessary paperwork electronically. This will eliminate the need for paper applications and save time and money.

Digital Reference Checks

If your hiring process requires reference checks, moving to digital ensures the most accurate and robust verification system.

Traditional reference checking leaves gaps in the process in which dishonest candidates can potentially expose. They might use friends as references or ask non-managers to pose as their former boss. With a digital system, where references are automatically verified and vetted, these types of issues can be avoided. 

Offer Letters

Sending a job offer is exciting for both the organization and the new hire. Digital contracts make it quick and easy for the paperless employee to sign. Digital signatures offer a more efficient and more secure solution compared to signing by hand.

HR professionals can take advantage of digital signature software so candidates can easily sign, approve, send, and digitally store their offer letter.

Online New Hire Paperwork

Paperless employees can complete all onboarding related paperwork digitally. Some examples of common online new hire paperwork include:

  • Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)
  • ​​Non-compete agreements
  • Employee handbook related forms
  • Drug and/or alcohol test consent forms
  • Confidentiality and security agreements
  • IT policy forms
  • Direct deposit and payroll information forms
  • Tax and social security number information forms
  • Health insurance and benefit agreements

HR Onboarding Automation

Onboarding paperless employees can be optimized using automation. Because everything is online and digital, HR teams can harness the power of automation and AI to streamline the onboarding process.

Automation during onboarding can help distribute documents and training material at specified times, or after specific training milestones have been reached. Onboarding software can also automatically gather employee data and store it in a centralized employee database.

Welcoming a New Employee to the Team

First days at the office can be awkward. Walking into an unfamiliar place, new faces, new responsibilities… For paperless employees, digital first days also can have a similar experience.

Here are a few ideas to help welcome a paperless employee and make a great first impression:

  • Short introduction videos from each member of the team
  • Videos or presentations that highlight company culture and work environment
  • Ensuring the new hire is included in digital workplace rituals

Training and Orientation

Digital solutions are the future of employee training and skilling. A comprehensive employee experience platform and LMS is crucial for paperless employee onboarding. 

From a paperless employee’s very first day, they’ll have access to complete training material, online forms, reference documents, and checklists – all in the palm of their hand. Accessed from anywhere, anytime, a digital employee experience platform gives new hires all of the tools they need to succeed from day one.

Why Should I Care About Paperless Onboarding?

Paperless onboarding saves both time and money. If you’re using a paperless process, you’ll eliminate the need to print out documents, scan them into a database, and mail them back to applicants. 

Going paperless means less printing costs, fewer scanning fees, and less postage. In addition, paperless onboarding also reduces the chance of human error when filling out paperwork.

How to Make Paperless Onboarding A Reality

As we mentioned, every organization is at a different stage of their digital transformation. For companies who are already fully or near-fully digital, paperless onboarding might already be a reality or close to it. 

For companies at the start of their shift towards digital, paperless onboarding is a fantastic and easy-to-implement step in the right direction.

Why Invest in Online Employee Onboarding Software?

Both digital and traditional workplaces will benefit greatly from online employee onboarding software. Making the hiring process smoother for both the organization and the new hires will save time, money, and help get the employee engaged as soon as they start.

Once onboarded, an employee experience platform streamlines all onboarding documentation including forms, checklists, and contracts. It also directly connects the new employee with all training material, reference documents, and employee handbooks.

Best Practices of Paperless Onboarding

Being transparent and open with a new paperless employee is paramount to a successful onboarding process. It can be difficult to quickly build genuine relationships digitally – but there are many tools to help make the process feel human. 

Paperless onboarding should always include:

  • Regular video calls with HR, managers, and team members
  • Comprehensive digital employee handbook and video introductions
  • Digital training that is accessible from anywhere, anytime on a mobile device
  • Direct digital communication tools to managers and colleagues

Employee Onboarding Processes

HR managers and team leaders have many processes to consider when onboarding. For paperless employee onboarding, we can streamline these processes using online and digital tools.

Other Tools to Enhance Employee Onboarding

Along with a digital employee platform, there are many other digital tools to optimize the paperless employee onboarding experience. For example, a modern and functional ERP will give the new hire immediate access to critical business information (depending on their function). Workplace communication tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack keep teams connected.

For any workplace tool, comprehensive training should be included and available within their employee experience platform and LMS.

Digital Employee Handbooks

Employee handbooks are documents that highlight an organization’s values, vision, and culture. They can also review workplace regulations, codes of conduct, and important information.

Having an employee handbook available through a digital platform serves as an excellent reference for new workers. Being digital, keywords can be searched and the exact information is easy to find.

OSHA and Safety Programs

Workplace health and safety and United States OSHA requirements keep employees and the public safe. Especially for front-line workers, safety certifications are mandatory for them to do their jobs.

For paperless employees using a digital employee platform, safety documentation, certifications, and training can be completed (and updated) anywhere, anytime.

Recruiting and Applicant Tracking

For HR teams, onboarding through an employee experience platform starts from the recruitment process. A digital platform will help find, rank, and match candidates for positions based on their profiles and skills. 

Employee eLearning

Training is more efficient online. Employees can have best in class job training using a digital employee learning management system (LMS). Instead of costly in-person training sessions, an employee platform moves training online, offering eLearning when and where the employee wants to complete it.

Digitalization for Paperless Employee Onboarding

Having best-in-class digital tools streamlines paperless employee onboarding. An end-to-end employee experience platform will give your new hires the best chance to be engaged even before their first day. 

To learn more, talk to an iTacit expert about paperless onboarding.

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Teri Maltais
Teri Maltais

Specializing in digital marketing programs for industrial and commercial technology solutions.

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