Go Paperless in Your Human Resources Department

Woman typing on her computer
HR professionals that rely on paper processes are often stuck in task-driven roles. By going paperless, you can free your HR department to engage with your employees and affect your operations in more meaningful ways.


Key Points about paperless offices:

  • Many paper-based processes take up unnecessary time and space. Using automated workflows instead can save time and money while making your business more sustainable.
  • HR solutions and cloud-based technology are essential to making HR departments paperless.

Did you know that a single filing cabinet can:

  • Cost anywhere from $150 to $2,000,
  • Contain up to 20,000 sheets of paper, and
  • Take up 17 square feet of office space (including the amount of space required to access the files)?

Relying on filing cabinets and paper processes can create unnecessary costs for your business, especially when you consider the time spent managing paper records. According to Gartner, Human Resource professionals spend 20-30% of the workweek managing physical documents or document-based information. That adds up to roughly 12 hours per week. 

Because managing physical documents takes so much time, HR professionals that rely on paper processes are often stuck in task-driven roles. This prevents them from playing a more strategic role in your organization. By going paperless, you can free your HR department to engage with your employees and affect your operations in more meaningful ways.

Why Your HR Department Should Go 100% Paperless

With the right software, a paperless, compliant HR department is more than achievable. A paperless HR solution is worth considering if you want to increase your organization’s: 


Wood products (such as paper) contribute heavily to the world’s tropical deforestation. According to the Dogwood Alliance, up to six million acres of forest in the southern portion of the United States alone are cut down each year to manufacture paper and wood products.

Most companies try to minimize their carbon footprint, but many still use a lot of paper. In fact, Wakefield Research found that 73% of decision-makers at businesses with fewer than 500 employees print up to four times a day. When you reduce your business’s paper consumption, you create a more sustainable workplace and have a positive impact on the environment.


According to Software Advice, employees spend at least six hours per week looking for paper documents. In contrast, employees who work in digital workplaces spend almost no time searching for records.

Electronic document management systems make your employees more productive by allowing them to complete their tasks faster.. They don’t have to waste time looking through filing cabinets. If they aren’t sure where something is, they can search your digital records and find the result they need in seconds.

Return on Investment (ROI)

From the cost of paper products themselves to the time spent searching for lost or misplaced documents, it’s no secret that paper processes are costly. While investing in an HRIS can be a large out-of-pocket expense, creating paperless processes can save you money in the long run. You eliminate paper-related expenses, and your employees have more time in their day to be productive.

Information security & disaster recovery

Employee documentation often contain sensitive data, including:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security Number

In other words, it has all of the information needed to steal their identity. If this data is stored in paper files and misplaced or left out, anyone can access it. Likewise, in the event of a disaster or security breach, all of your physical records are at risk. However, if you rely on digital files, this information will be stored securely in the cloud no matter what happens.


Technology has fundamentally changed how every business, regardless of size or industry, operates. Some workers may be worried about this emerging digital world and the privacy and job-related concerns that come with it. However, technology ultimately helps us mold a more efficient and less wasteful future.

Paperless HR solutions are one way for businesses to embrace this digital transformation. As remote work becomes more prevalent, automating your processes will also help your business adapt to new environments with ease.

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How to Go Paperless in Your HR Department

Once you’ve decided to take your HR department paperless, you may be wondering how to make the transition. While you’ll need to lay some groundwork, an HR solution will be the key to going paperless, automating your processes, and helping you stay compliant. These solutions can also help you drive employee engagement and build an even better culture.

Digitize your processes

To prepare your organization for automation, revisit your current processes and existing documents to consider how they’ll benefit from a paperless environment. For example, many HR documents need an employee’s signature. By gathering digital signatures with a tool like SentricHR, you can quickly gather and process signatures for Forms W-4, direct deposit authorizations, handbooks, employment agreements, and more. Electronic signatures also make compliance easier.

Replace outdated technology

Once you have a basic idea of how to make your processes paperless, you need the technology to get you there. Replace your fax machines, printers, notebooks, and ledgers with digital tools like an HRIS. This can be a big step, but it’s a critical part of creating a paperless HR department. Once you choose an HR solution and a provider, they can help you implement the software and digitize your processes

Help employees get on board with new systems 

Going paperless will make daily tasks easier for your employees. To get the most out of any software, though, your employees need to understand how to use it. If you choose an HR solution that’s complicated or difficult to use, it won’t be as successful. 

Investing in an HRIS with an intuitive user interface will help your employees use your new HR software to its maximum potential. It’s also important to train your employees properly. That way, they’ll feel comfortable enough to use it throughout their day-to-day routines.

Use cloud-based technology

With cloud-based technology, you can store all of your data in one system instead of spreading it across filing cabinets. This makes it easier to access information and improves data security. To go paperless, an HRIS is often the most important piece of cloud-based technology. However, other tools can be just as helpful. 

A cloud-based document sharing platform like OneDrive, Dropbox, or GoogleDrive can help you share files. Likewise, a collaboration system like Slack, Glip, or Microsoft Teams will enable your employees to work together in real-time, regardless of where they are. These tools are even more important if you have remote workers. 

Invest in HR Software

When you go paperless, you eliminate paper-related expenses and your HR team has more time to focus on your employees. With access to digital tools that make work easier, your employees gain more time to focus on productivity and goal achievement, too. 

Going paperless may seem like a daunting task, but investing in an HRIS can make the paperless process easier. At Sentric, we make people management easier with our cloud-based HRIS SentricHR. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you go paperless.


The Sentric Team

The Sentric Team

At Sentric, we help businesses make people management easier with industry-leading technology and standout support.

Sentric HR & Payroll Insights

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