Best practices in human resources


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HR technology is estimated to be an $8.1 billion industry in 2015. The HR Tech conference enjoyed record-breaking attendance last fall. DocuSign and electronic signature transaction management are identified as best practices for human resources management.

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Best practices in human resources

  1. 1. 1owers Watson projects that HR technology will be an $8.1 billionindustry in 2015. The HR Tech conference enjoyed record-breakingattendance last fall, and HR tech startups abound. Josh Bersin of Deloitteby Bersin predicts that technology will play a much larger role in HR in2013 and cites the rapid growth in HR vendors as evidence. Providers arereinventing the applicant tracking system (ATS) to accommodate socialmedia integration, and mergers & acquisitions continue at a rapid pace asvendors seek well-rounded solutions to help HR do its demanding, multi-faceted job.The HR department has moved well beyond its traditional role ofcompliance to embrace a more strategic role within the organization.HR heads are garnering more respect as the C-suite recognizes thatwithout the right talent in place, a company can’t hope to achieve itsbusiness goals. With this newfound respect comes a greater responsibility,however. HR is expected to strategically acquire, engage and retain thebest employees out there.The SHRM Research Spotlight: Future HR Challenges and TalentManagement Tactics lists “creating smooth and efficient HR processesthat ensure a good employee experience” among the top challenges HRexecutives will face in the decade ahead. Poorly thought-out or poorlyexecuted processes create a negative impression and can hurt engagementand retention levels. In today’s talent-scarce job market, that’s a risk youcan’t afford to take.THR pros must manage multiplepoints of contact with currentand future employees regarding avariety of important issues. HumanResources has an entire industrydevoted to serving its many needsand functions.Which solutions are worthwhile?We will explore four tools andtechnologies that empower HR tocreate positive interactions thatlead to greater engagement whileenhancing workflow processes.Best Practices in HR Technology:Creating a Better Experience While Improving Efficiency
  2. 2. 2With the profusion of technology solutions available today, HR professionalsdon’t have to take that risk. Thanks to enterprising minds, it’s easier thanever to streamline workflows, increase efficiencies and help employees helpthemselves to a better work experience. This article will highlight four of thebest tools and technologies designed to improve the necessary transactionsof today’s work life.Social media-enabled applicant tracking systemsHR technology thought leader and analyst Jessica Miller-Merrill recentlydiscussed the evolution of applicant tracking systems from compliance anddatabase tools to search and engagement tools for job seekers and forbuilding talent networks. Whereas these systems were originally conceivedto automate recruiting processes, some now have the capability to managecandidate relationships and facilitate collaborative hiring. These technologyadvances are a much-needed boon to both sides of the hiring process, ascandidate interaction has historically left much to be desired. The newbreed of ATS also seamlessly interfaces with the organization’s HumanResources Management System (HRMS), creating a well-organizedcommunication and tracking platform throughout the employee lifecycle.According to the Jobvite 2012 Social Recruiting Survey, 70% of companiesnow use social networking or social media to support their recruiting efforts.Without a social media-enabled ATS, you face untold complexity andheadaches as you post jobs across multiple social networks and managecandidate communication from separate systems. Fortunately, manysystems, often cloud-based, now exist to streamline expanded talentsourcing and create an engaged talent community.A social media-enabled ATS allows users to automatically broadcast openjobs to multiple social networks and candidates. Some providers offermatching technology that suggests candidates for a given job basedon their social profile information, and some offer mobile access to acompany’s career portal. That is a feature not to be discounted, asComscore research reveals that 77% of jobseekers use mobile jobsearch apps.Employee referral remains the number one source of new hires, and asocial media-enabled ATS enables workers to easily and quickly push jobWithout a socialmedia-enabled ATS,you face untoldcomplexity andheadaches...
  3. 3. 3postings out to their networks. The system automatically tracks socialrecruiting referrals and recognizes employee contributions. This creates acollaborative atmosphere in which employees feel vested in the recruitingprocess—and, therefore, in the organization—and are rewarded for theirparticipation.Video interviewingMany companies now use virtual interviewing, both live and recorded,as part of their recruiting process. Sarah White & Associates, in their2012 Video Interviewing Usage Survey, revealed that more than 38%of respondents used video at some stage of the hiring process. Thispercentage is expected to rise over the next three years as usage movesinto the Early Majority phase. A 2012 video usage trends study by vendorGreenJobInterview noted that for larger companies, that figure goes from58% (1,001–5,000 employees) video usage to 80% (more than 10,000).Companies both large and small—and the candidates they engage with—can benefit from the convenience and cost reductions of video interviews.Candidates appreciate the any time, anywhere nature of video interviewing.It means they don’t have to take time off work to travel across town (oracross the country) to interview for a new position. They can now look intonew job possibilities during their lunch break, or after work. With just awebcam and an Internet connection, candidates can meet prospectiveemployers face-to-face or record answers to interview questions. Somevendors even offer mobile interview apps.Candidates also appreciate the “green” aspect of video interviewing.This technology cuts out travel, at least in the earlier stages of thehiring process, which reduces a company’s carbon footprint. In a cultureincreasingly aware of the impact human choices have on the environment,any tool that fosters a green image is valuable to an employer’s brand.Organizations that use virtual interviewing technology not only provide apositive candidate experience, but they enjoy cost savings, faster time-to-hire, and a larger candidate pool to draw from. Additionally, some videointerview platforms can be used for virtual meetings as well. This makesremote workers feel included and considered, since you’ve made a way forthem to participate without having to travel.Candidatesappreciate the anytime, anywherenature of videointerviewing.
  4. 4. 4Electronic signature transaction managementEvery stereotype has its roots in reality, which is why HR professionalswere seen for so long as merely “paper pushers.” The paper required justto fulfill legal requirements could fill a binder for each employee, and theburden seems to increase each year. That’s to say nothing of offer letters,onboarding packets, requests for vacation time, employee performanceplans, and on and on. All this paperwork is a necessary part of doingbusiness, but it’s time-consuming, detail-oriented and burdensome.And one missing signature or missing document could land you in legalhot water.Legislation such as The Electronic Signatures in Global and NationalCommerce Act (The E-SIGN Act), signed in 2000, opened the door toprocessing HR’s many transactions digitally. An electronic signature carriesthe same weight and legal effect as a traditional paper document signedusing pen and ink. A legally compliant eSignature service will include acomplete audit trail and tamper-proof virtual seal of the signed documents,as well as through a secure and encrypted Web page.In addition to being legally enforceable, eSignatures offer a host ofefficiencies and cost savings. Gartner’s 2012 eSignature study revealed twokey points:• Enterprises’ and consumers’ recognition of the benefits gained fromadopting eSignature software and services led to 48% growth in thismarket in 2011, with continued growth expected.• The ease of implementation of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deliverymodel will continue to drive adoption of eSignatures and will establishSaaS as the predominant global eSignature delivery model.HR professionals will immediately grasp the benefits of using eSignature,which mirror those of online benefits enrollment. They include savings onpaper, printing, and postage costs; faster and more efficient processes;and reduction in administrative burden. Which sections of a documentneed to be filled out and where users need to sign are tightly controlled,so documents are returned without errors. This reduces back-and-forth andenables faster turnaround. HR staff who have until now been tasked with“paper pushing” can be reassigned to more strategic tasks. Employees andOne missingsignature ormissing documentcould land you inlegal hot water.
  5. 5. 5candidates can sign once and go on their way; a smoother paperworkprocess improves satisfaction levels.eSignature is a great benefit to employees as well, who can also beoverwhelmed with paperwork. For instance, the entire onboarding process,including I-9 and tax forms, non-disclosure agreements and more, can bedelivered and signed electronically. This can even be done in advance of anemployee’s first day, allowing the employee the time to thoroughly read alldocuments instead of feeling rushed in that first-day frenzy of activity. Forcurrent employees, periodic notices can be received via email or an onlineemployee portal. It’s a process that shows respect for employees’ time withanywhere, any time access—and it fosters good communication. Solutionproviders, such as DocuSign (, provide the electronicsignature transaction management tools HR needs.Online benefits open enrollmentThe benefits open enrollment season is one that is met with bothanticipation and dread—anticipation from employees who want newor improved benefits coverage, and dread from not only those sameemployees, who have to wade through seemingly endless jargon-filledpaperwork, but also from the benefits administrators, who have to explainall that paperwork and then process it all. Health care coverage is indeed abenefit to employees, but this process can feel like an agonizing chore.Technology once again comes to the rescue, this time in the form of onlinebenefits open enrollment. Electronic delivery turns enrollment into apaperless process, saving time, money and confusion. Employees can login to their benefits system, compare their personalized benefit options andenroll with just a few clicks. The system can show them where their closestplan-approved providers and care facilities are, reducing the frustration ofdenied coverage. Instead of employees having to enroll on-site duringbusiness hours, they can discuss plan specifics with family members athome to determine what will work best. It’s even possible to uploaddocumentation for dependent eligibility verification.Online accessibility is good for benefit administrators as well. Gone are thepapers to copy, fax, mail and file; the spreadsheets; the missing forms; andthe errors due to semi-legible handwriting. Communicating with employeesElectronic deliveryturns enrollmentinto a paperlessprocess, savingtime, money andconfusion.
  6. 6. 6at multiple locations is easier—even automated in some cases. A financialinvestment is required, but it’s quickly offset by the money saved on paper,mailings and administrative effort. Benefit administrators become moreavailable to answer questions and resolve issues one-on-one, which furtherenhances the employee experience.HR Technology Serves Everyone in the OrganizationCedarCrestone’s 2012-2013 HR Systems Survey examined 1,246companies around the world and identified the 50 Top Performers. Amongtheir differentiators, Top Performers have more technology in place thanother organizations and “make an active effort to maximize the strategicvalue from each solution.” They ensure that “employees and managers aremaximizing self service options, taking the burden from the HR department,but more importantly empowering employees.” This group is also far morefinancially successful than its peers.The lesson of this study is that HR best practices include implementing toolsand technologies that streamline workflows and create efficiencies. Theseefficiencies include significant cost savings and better candidate andemployee interactions and experiences. Both of these results are strategic:• Money saved on materials and administration can be redirected fromtransactional to strategic initiatives.• HR is freed up to focus on keeping candidates and employees engagedand retained. Maintaining a talented workforce is a tremendous strategicadvantage that enables organizations to not only meet business goals butto innovate as well.About DocuSign Inc.: DocuSign®is the global standard for eSignature. DocuSignhelps customers accelerate transaction times to increase speed to revenue, reducecosts, and enhance customer satisfaction with the easiest, fastest, most secureglobal network for sending, signing, tracking, and storing documents in the cloud.For more information, visit or call 1.877.720.2040. Visit theDocuSign blog at and follow DocuSign on Twitter, LinkedInand Facebook.Top Performershave moretechnology inplace than otherorganizations.