Of the many things you can say about human resources, one that resonates with HR professionals is, “It’s complicated.”

Whether the task at hand is recruiting, retention, learning, benefits, regulatory compliance or other critical employee-focused processes, HR today manages more complexity than it ever has.

Additionally, even in today’s high-tech world, that growing complexity continues to generate difficult-to manage paper content and employee files.

“For HR today, managing content remains an overwhelming challenge,” says Katie Alberti, a solution marketing specialist for administrative solutions at Westlake, Ohio-based Hyland, creator of OnBase®, an enterprise content management (ECM) solution provider. “While there are many great technology options for recruiting talent or learning, those solutions are not set up to manage content across the entire HR spectrum.”

Alberti says that to meet employment regulations and drive internal processes, HR departments must manage hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of employee files and supporting documents, depending on company size. Paper-based information also poses security risks: Not only is it often unsecured and susceptible to natural disasters, it also makes it difficult to support compliance efforts, such as retention guidelines.

“Manually processing information via paper is extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive for HR staff, prohibiting it from focusing on the job—improving HR’s level of service to employees,” she says.

Despite those ongoing paper avalanches, HR leaders do have an option, says Jim Kohan, solutions architect at Hyland.

“HR leaders should take a good look at the available technology and tools to simplify the content conundrum,” Kohan says, adding that many current Hyland clients seem to be heading in that direction. “I’ve found that, quite often, an existing client would come to us because it was using ECM in one area of its business, but wanted to expand it for HR.”

Onboarding Perfect for ECM

When it comes to bringing on new employees, HR is always looking to better manage the onboarding process and provide new employees with as smooth a transition as possible. By providing HR with a holistic view of all related information in a single location, ECM can enable HR staff to easily track the entire onboarding process and monitor tasks across departments, says Alberti.

Craig LeClair, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester, specializes in enterprise architecture. He says there are a number of areas in which ECM can have a positive impact on a business, but calls ECM a “killer app” for handling onboarding.

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