Electronic Document Management

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Published: 17th August 2014
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HR Departments are constantly looking to improve the quality and speed of access to information of Staff, and controlling the costs of the document management systems within departments is more vital than ever. An EDMS (Electronic Document Management Systems) can have significant impact to the running and budget of an HR department. From helping an employee with a Mortgage application through to dealing with downsizing, transferring staff or restructuring access to quality information can make the difference.

HR professionals can struggle to find employee records, sometimes dating back decades, when relying on paper archives and a variety of IT systems. European legislation, which now states that staff can ask to see their HR files at any time, has made things even more difficult especially if employees have left the company and material cannot easily be sent by post or email.
Secure corporate intranets can sometimes offer a solution, for example, allowing staff to manage their own expenses online, but even here there are dangers if becoming too dependent on IT systems means data confidentiality is compromised. Maintaining the balance between having ready access to up-to-date records while maintaining strict confidentiality can be a challenge.

The following examples show how three different organisations have tackled document management within their HR functions to overcome some of the issues outlined above.

Cleaning out the archives
Johnson Cleaners UK (JCUK ) is a high-profile laundry business in the UK. It also operates a central processing unit in Rugby, Warwickshire which supports the traditional dry cleaning services available in its branches with specialist services to do with equipment and cleaning solvents. The company also owns another respected dry cleaning brand, Jeeves of Belgravia.
With more than 500 properties around the UK and many field-based operatives and managers, JCUK relies on electronic document management for circulating and approving ‘paperwork’ quickly and efficiently. After applying the technology to its finance processes to handle purchase ledger invoice processing, the company expanded the capabilities to encompass other departments including HR.

Today the company’s HR department has a legally secure repository of all employee-related documentation for starters and leavers. After using a managed bureau service to scan all of its back files, the HR team now has its own scanning stations and is completely self-sufficient in capturing and managing documents electronically. Once paper documents have been imaged, the originals are put into ‘deep storage’ so that they are retained for legal purposes but otherwise never need to be seen again.

Easy co-operation
The Co-operative Group is another well-known retailer which has applied document and workflow management technology in HR as part of a broader EDM initiative across the organisation. With 85,000 employees, Co-op needed a more efficient way of ensuring HR personnel had staff records at their fingertips wherever they happened to be working at any given time. To this end, the company has implemented a browser-based system which ensures that all content is held centrally, and is never compromised because it is security-controlled and accessed according to strict user rights via a browser.

The Co-op’s HR document management application focused on content that needs to be retained for legal reasons. This encompasses 600,000 documents, each with multiple pages, amounting to over 1 million pieces of paper - documents that are vital for group compliance and which require a clear audit trail.

Like Johnson Cleaning, Co-op made use of an external bureau service to efficiently scan in all of the existing paper files, but now uses its own on-premise systems to capture new paper documentation electronically, numbering about 1,000 every day. Now HR staff have access to information at the touch of a button, and HR documents now have full audit trails, and cannot be deleted or mislaid.

Specialist solutions go furthest
As document management technology continues to evolve, HR-specific solutions can provide the ability to provide controlled, temporary ‘guest access’ to selected records. It is also possible to map a company’s organisational structure within some HR-specific document management systems, so that it becomes easier to move files as team structures and people change.
Specialist bureau services can help address existing and ongoing paper backlogs and with secure controls that keep the power in the hands of HR, and facilities to enable secure employee access to their own records, EDM is more of a solution to current business challenges today than ever before.

Document management should be easy. If it isn’t, it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board.

EASY SOFTWARE UK was founded over 10 years ago and is today Europe's foremost provider of integrated document management technologies with more than 11,000 customers worldwide. Solutions range from invoice automation to email management. Global and local companies rely on our comprehensive suite of scaleable document technologies to automate their businesses, improve productivity and efficiency and to meet increasing regulatory requirements.

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