The department of human resources is the first to take the leap to go paperless at Loyola University Maryland. HR’s paperless initiatives include the new hire process, benefits enrollment, performance management, and the increase in electronic form availability and processing. Helen Aberle, Loyola’s director of human resources information systems is excited about the paperless initiatives and comments, “Going paperless is going to increase efficiency in locating and working with personnel files.” Let’s look at some of the paperless initiatives in more detail.
New Hire Process
With the implementation of ImageNow, an enterprise content management product from Perceptive Software , the new hire process has gone paperless by scanning employment forms and capturing information electronically. This means physical personnel folder for each employee is no longer necessary. With the information stored electronically the communication between human resources and payroll is now electronic, automated, and much quicker. In addition to storing employee records electronically, form I-9, the employment eligibility verification form that each new employee must fill out, is now completely electronic. Keep in mind that both student employees as well as full-time employees fill out the 1-9 form. What does this mean for our carbon footprint?
About 560 I-9 forms per year = 65 pounds CO2
While environmental impacts are fairly simple to calculate, time savings are not. As the human resources staff becomes more acquainted with the electronic files, we will continue to check in with them and post their stories on the Paperless University website.
Each year Loyola University Maryland employees undergo an annual evaluation documenting his or her performance over the last year. Each of these evaluations is approximately 10 pages in length and has to be reviewed and approved by the employee, his or her supervisor, and the vice president of the division. This year, performance evaluations were completed entirely electronically with the help of Halogen, a performance and talent management software. Maryalice Burnham, program coordinator for employee relations, compensation & professional development, has affectionately coined Halogen her “baby.” She started working on implementing Halogen in June 2010. Since then she has conducted numerous training sessions and spent hours doing one-on-one troubleshooting with users. All of her hard work has paid off and the online evaluation response rate this year was exceptional. With 615 evaluations done electronically, the carbon footprint reduction was vast.
615 evaluations x 10 sheets each x 3 copies = 2,214 pounds CO2**
The environmental benefits alone speak for themselves, but again one cannot forget the time saving benefits. Each step to the performance evaluation process was automated so the employee and the supervisor(s) would know where the evaluation was each step of the way. Halogen also includes tools that allow employees to log in throughout the year to document their performance and development goals
Online Benefits Enrollment
Employee benefits open enrollment occurs every year. This gives employees the opportunity to make changes and adjust information as needed. Previously, benefits eligible employees were sent a packet with benefits information. For the past three years, open enrollment has been conducted completely online. Now, employees can log into the Benelogic software and amend his or her personal benefits information.
10 page packet x 1075 employees = 1290 pounds of CO2**
What if an employee has a question about adjusting benefits or needs assistance with the online log in and navigation? Human Resources hosts an annual benefits fair where human resources staff members are available to help walk employees through the benefits enrollment process. Representatives from Loyola’s insurance plans are also present at the fair and available to answer questions about Loyola’s benefits.
In the last few years multiple forms have become available online including:
- Address and telephone changes
- Emergency contact information
715 forms = 85 pounds CO2**
While the increase in electronic forms may not have a huge environmental impact, they still help efficiency. Going paperless is a lesson in personal organization habits and behavioral change. The more we can get the Loyola community to perform tasks electronically the more we reduce our dependency on paper copies.
The department of human resources has made great strides in going paperless but they aren’t finished yet. Some other paperless initiatives to be completed in the near future include:
- Human Resources Policy Manual will go exclusively online. Each manual is about 250 pages.
- Administrative leave reports will become electronic. These account for about 8,650 sheets of paper per year.
- Staff employee timesheets will become electronic in the next year. These account for 21,450 sheets of paper per year.
- Provisional period performance evaluations will be conducted through the Halogen system in the next year. Amount of paper saved will vary.
If changing your habits to go paperless seems daunting, consider the success of the department of human resources. Change takes time and commitment. There are many challenges with going paperless, including getting buy-in and the need for increased communication that comes along with any change. Helen Aberle recognizes these challenges but stresses the benefits that going paperless has for each individual employees. Aberle says, “With going paperless, the once extremely time consuming processes are more efficient and more accurate. The less time human resources employees spend shuffling through paper, the more time they have to serve the employees.”
* For more information on ImageNow and Perceptive Software please visit www.perceptivesoftware.com
** Paper/Carbon conversions based on information from www.papercalculator.org, 2011