Long gone are the days of paper invoices, rip away payslips, and sticky note vacation requests. Not only that, but the likelihood of finding filing cabinets, staplers, and hole punches (yes those did once exist) are rare commodities in offices. What has appeared in their stead? Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS). Whilst the name sounds fairly straightforward, looking a little bit deeper can be beneficial in understanding how to best use these efficient, paperless systems.
What is EDMS?
Firstly, let us be very clear about what exactly an EDMS system is. In its most basic form, it is software that retrieves, stores and manages documents, converting them into digital files. It may sound like a glorified copy and paste system at the surface level. However, it is in fact much more than that, bringing with it a host of benefits to any HR department looking to streamline its organization and up productivity.
Electronic Document Management – Benefits
Locate documents quicker
This electronic document system enables you to find documents automatically, thus much more rapidly. All this means that you don’t have to physically search through a seemingly endless number of file cabinets. Paper documents are forever at risk of being misplaced, being used by someone else four floors down, or simply lost. Dealing with these issues is one of the main causes of wasted time in HR departments. With EDMS this becomes a thing of the past. You can simply enter a keyword into the search system and the document you are looking for is at your fingertips within seconds.
Document security should be a high priority for any company. If all documents are physical, how secure can they be? Someone can easily tamper, edit, copy or even steal sensitive documents, fixing numbers or changing names.
Perhaps the most important benefit of electronic document management is that, should any inspectors come knocking, all paperwork and documentation is in one place and easily searchable. This makes these checks run much more smoothly and means maintaining auditable standards is a breeze.
How does an electronic document management system work?
The benefits of EDMS are indisputable, yet you may be asking, How does a document management system work?
Capturing documents from multiple sources
The system not only scans documents but indexes them too, making retrieval easier. Furthermore, it captures documents sent as email attachments in the moment. Due to the nature of business today, many important documents are attached to an email and can easily be overlooked. Not with EDMS.
Central document storage
Documents form an integral part of business today and as such need to be located immediately. EDMS stores digital documents in a central single location which is vital as it allows employees to easily access the documents they need in a heartbeat.
Document retrieval and distribution
Perhaps the most vital aspect of how the EDMS works is the automation system. Through its organizational patterns, it allows for the automatic paying of invoices and other costs. In terms of management tools, this saves huge amounts of time for companies, circumventing the need for lengthy invoice approval systems.
What characteristics do the best EDMS have?
To be truly useful to your company, you must be sure to choose an EDMS with these characteristics:
- It should be paired and synchronized with your digital software for managing absences. This way it can store employee sick days, holidays and other time off, enabling easy access for analysis.
- With a paper-based document storage system, maintaining employee privacy with payslips can be difficult. Therefore, your digital system must allow you to password protect payslips for greater security or house this information in your employee’s portal.
- You should have personalized spaces for each employee, in which they can store and access digital documents necessary for their work.
- In order to allow employees to access documents anywhere, the system should be compatible with any device without the necessity of downloading extra software.
- In order to truly replace filing cabinets and move away from paper-based systems, it should have a tool for sharing important announcements and documents with the entire company, from top to bottom.
- It must go without saying that any electronic document storage system which processes sensitive information must comply with GDPR regulations on matters of security and privacy.
- It should offer the ability to have multiple versions of the same document, meaning that changes can be quickly undone and rectified if necessary.
- For further security purposes, it must allow certain sensitive information to be placed behind passwords, stopping them from being taken or changed.
- Many electronic document management systems use indexing. This is a must as it allows you to locate files quickly so this precious time can be utilized elsewhere.
- A useful characteristic to look for is that the software allows you to record who opens and edits documents. This means that employees can be contacted and mistakes swiftly rectified.
Revolutionizing HR management
Document management software is redefining the way HR departments work. These systems allow HR to manage their time much more efficiently, which increases their productivity. Perhaps its simplest and most immediate effect is that it clears space in the office by removing the need for filing cabinets. Not only does using an electronic document storage system free up physical space, but headspace too. Jobs that used to require a lot of paperwork have been made much easier or disappeared completely.
Above all, using an EDMS is a key management tool for promoting greater collaboration and teamwork. It’s automation features have the ability to revolutionize the office workflow, allowing more time to be spent on important projects. Electronic document management systems are the future, so why not make the transition now, rather than having to continue to sift through huge stacks of paper for the rest of your working life.
Free up physical and mental space with Factorial’s HR Software, allowing you to manage documents with ease.
Contributed by Charlotte Stace; Edited by Tanya Lesiuk
This post is also available in: English UK