Deploying the electronic signature in human resources: a must-have tool?

The health crisis has encouraged companies to accelerate their digitalisation, particularly by deploying the electronic signature. So, how does this apply to human resources? Discover our overview of the benefits of the electronic signature for Human Resources Departments.

The health crisis and its impact on companies, with wide-scale teleworking, remote meetings and reduced business trips, has encouraged such organisations to accelerate their digitalisation, particularly by deploying the electronic signature. So, how does this apply to human resources? While digitalisation was one of three priorities for Human Resources Departments in 2021, the digital signature gradually became the go-to tool to digitalise all human resources-specific processes. Indeed, the e-signature is a simple way to make exchanges more fluid, to save time and to secure documents as well as to refocus HR on the human aspects of their work and to transform a company’s image. Read on for our overview of the benefits of the electronic signature for Human Resources Departments.

Deploying the electronic signature to accelerate HR processes

Unsurprisingly, dematerialisation solutions serve to accelerate exchanges, which is synonymous with time-saving. On top of this, it’s one of its features. However, the electronic signature goes a step further by digitalizing strategic processes such as contracts and document approvals linked to employees’ professional lives. The fact is that digital signatures apply to all managed Human Resources documentation, which includes:

  • Recruitment and onboarding: official job offers, permanent and temporary work contracts, and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs);
  • Professional life: payslips, timesheets, expense reports, equipment delivery certificates, annual performance evaluations, sign-off sheets, additional contractual clauses, final settlements, and work certificates;
  • Internal communication: company policy, employee memos, invitations, minutes of meetings, etc.

As such, e-signature solutions reduce the time spent viewing, signing and sending documents, even when such content is confidential and/or strategic. Whether they’re colleagues or job applicants, signatories no longer need to go to the office or undergo the time-consuming process of downloading, printing and returning a contract. Signatories may also sign on-the-go from their smartphones or tablets. For HR Departments, this ensures that collaborators who are teleworking or on a business trip abroad have safely received and read through specific documents.

Some solutions, such as Oodrive Sign, provide more advanced features, making it possible to sign offline and automatically synchronising the electronic signature as soon as a connection is re-established for a device. Benefit from our offline electronic signature solution.

Securing electronically signed documents

The time saved is accompanied by increased security of exchanges, which is a key factor for human resources given the sensitivity of certain documents. The electronic signature delivers on security since it is not simply a digitised version of an “autograph”, but also a signatory authentication, thereby guaranteeing the integrity of the document.

To fully grasp both these points, we need to understand exactly how the electronic signature works. Each individual has their own electronic signature, which is protected by a digital certificate that seals the document at the time of signing. This leaves a permanent “trace” of the document. The signatory’s identity is validated by the certificate and the official stamping of this “trace” helps to identify any subsequent document edits as well as any potential changes. Lastly, e-signatures authorise full traceability. In practice, this provides an overview of all the signatories and the times of signing at any given moment.

This means that the electronic signature has the same probative value as a handwritten signature and is also much more secure. What’s more, documents and related data are stored online on servers which are also secure. At the same time, though, be sure to check that your digital signature solution publisher hosts your data in France or the European Union, as is the case with Oodrive Sign.

<Titre H2> Improving productivity with an effective e-signature solution

When a solution saves time without compromising security, it drives significant improvement in productivity. This scenario applies to electronic signature deployment for human resources. In administrative-heavy positions, the acceleration and smooth running of processes contribute to reducing the time required to complete repetitive, low value-added tasks such as printing and digitalising documents.

This is even more the case for automation, supported by an e-signature solution. A case in point is recurring documents where it is possible to create templates, automate sending, monitoring and archiving, and even to add Smartfields® custom fields to contracts in order to collect data within the HRIS (an innovation provided by Oodrive solutions). Human resources employees can then use the time saved on value-added jobs which include recruitment and training. In addition, automation reduces the risk of mistakes and the loss of data.

<Titre H2> Fully enhancing a company’s image through digital signatures

The electronic signature offers HR Directors another significant benefit, namely the undeniably positive impact on a company’s image by deploying such technology. First, collaborators save time by electronically signing documents and limiting the paper chase (e.g., sending out expense reports). This, in turn, boosts their satisfaction.

Second, when it comes to future employees, digital signatures represent a key standout feature for organisations. And whilst electronic signature solutions are becoming more widespread, this technology is still to be considered the standard bearer. By deploying this kind of tool, companies not only demonstrate their modern and innovative corporate culture, but also their environmental awareness. Young employees are especially sensitive to environmental challenges with a third of them prioritising a company’s eco-friendliness when they choose their employer (source).

The increased use of the electronic signature in human resources is not a new phenomenon. Many HR Directors single out the “efficiency and speed” of dematerialisation solutions in HR processes, coupled with the “validity” and the “legal enforceability” of the e-signature, as discussed in a recent article in the Les Échos newspaper. Nevertheless, digital signatures are gradually exerting their influence on security, time-saving, productivity and brand image. These are precisely the reasons why the electronic signature is a must-have tool in human resources!

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