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How to Create a Successful Paperless Onboarding Process

How to Create a Successful Paperless Onboarding Process
Alexandre Diard
How to Create a Successful Paperless Onboarding Process

What does having a paperless onboarding mean exactly?

When you think of onboarding, do you often picture filing loads of documents, scanning them to email to your human resources department, or even mailing these said important documents through snail mail? What if I told you there was a better, easier way? It is called paperless onboarding. Paperless onboarding means all important documents could be stored online in a secure, easy location. This would eliminate important documents getting lost because businesses are only keeping paper copies. Paperless onboarding makes finding records faster because you’d simply type in a keyword instead of rummaging through lots of different papers by hand.

We will see in this article what are the key benefits of paperless onboarding and how to set it up.

Related articles:

7 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Onboarding Process
The Ultimate Guide to Start Automating Business Processes Today


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Paperless Onboarding: The Benefits



Most businesses currently use the standard onboarding documents- W-4 Employee’s Withholding Certificate, I-9 Employment Eligibility Confirmation, Employment Contract, Confidentiality Agreement, Non-Compete Agreement, employee information forms, employee payroll details, etc.

If you make the switch to paperless onboarding, you’d have the power to customize forms to better fit your business needs and make filling out tedious documents easier and more fun. For example, you could add a form to better get to know your new hire (favorite food, favorite hobby, favorite color, etc.

Environmentally conscious

Paperless onboarding could help pave the way to assist businesses in taking better care of our planet. Paperless onboarding virtually eliminates any waste of paper and therefore saves more trees. Also, if new hires could fill out their paperwork in the comfort of their own home, there’d be no need to hop in the car and spend more gas.

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Improves consistency and accuracy

Paperless onboarding can ensure that all new-hires’ information is inputted correctly. Using a simple pen and paper is subject to human error, and usually requires another set of eyes to look it over and confirm that the new hire didn’t forget anything or make a mistake. Imagine technology that would alert a new-hire immediately once something was forgotten or inputted incorrectly. Paperless onboarding would eliminate the need for a second set of eyes altogether.

Saves time

It can take a considerable amount of time to have a new hire complete all of their new hire paperwork in addition to receiving and reading their employee handbook, filling out their direct deposit form, and going through orientation. Not to mention, scheduling a time to meet with the new hire and double-check everything was completed correctly. Paperless onboarding lets new hires do everything on their own time. Businesses could even start holding their employee orientation online as well.

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Increased Security

Traditional new hire paperwork is unreliable, messy, and can take up a lot of resources. New hire paperwork also contains lots of sensitive information which can put businesses at risk. Especially with I-9s, if someone’s social security number ends up in the wrong hands, it could lead to identity theft. Paperless onboarding greatly reduces risk because employees would only have access to their own documents, besides other authorized personnel.


Boosts Employee Retention

Paperless onboarding makes it easier for new hires to track their progress. Receiving stacks of papers to fill out can seem endless but with paperless onboarding, new hires could see exactly what step of the process they were on and how much percentage is left to complete with this automated paperless onboarding lets new hires know exactly what areas they are required to fill out, and if they made any mistakes. This gives new hires a great first impression and establishes trust within the company which would ultimately lead to a higher employee retention rate.

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How to Set Up Paperless Onboarding

Take all forms you would usually print out on paper and digitalize them. Don’t limit yourself to just the mandatory state and federal new hire paperwork. Digitalize all payroll forms, employee handbooks, confidentiality agreements, acknowledgement forms, etc.

Start using an applicant tracking system. This will make the onboarding process much more efficient. It’ll help you and new hires keep track of new hire paperwork deadlines and make sure all sensitive information is secure.

Create an electronic onboarding checklist for each new hire. This will keep new hires engaged in their onboarding process and help them stay organized.


Equip your Business with the Right Software

It’s important to use the same new hire onboarding process for everyone. Especially if your business has multiple locations or is even international. That way all employees across the board could be consistent and makes moving and transitioning within the company a seamless process.

Use software that is compliant with I-9 forms. This compliance is only applicable to the United States. But if you are a US-based business or have offices in the United States it is something important to note. New hires are allowed to fill out their I-9 form digitally, but an HR professional is still required to physically check a new hire’s identification.

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Create Forms Online

You should first take a look at your current new hire onboarding process. Delete any steps that seem redundant or unnecessary. You can then create a template that is easy to follow, flows, and is customized to your specific business and new hire. Once it’s automated, it will make the new hire onboarding process clean and easy to understand.

Remember after launching your new paperless onboarding process, test it! Have an HR professional pretend to be a new hire and see if it really flows and is easy to understand. Make the necessary changes until you are satisfied and confident.


Launch Onboarding Workflows 

Once you launch, keep getting feedback from users! Even if you think it’s perfect, there is always room for improvement. Companies lose about 25% of new hires due to a bad onboarding experience. Think about how much lower that number could get if new hires felt heard throughout the process. This would also contribute to the company culture because new hires could easily engage with HR professionals, ultimately raising employee retention levels and decreasing turnover.

Do you use multiple systems to complete your hiring and onboarding processes? PeopleSpheres is an HR platform able to unify all your HR tools and software and create a harmonious workflow throughout the employee experience.

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