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Still Using Paper Forms For New Hire Onboarding?

Old habits die hard.

As the leader of a technology company, I’ve been relatively slow to give up my paper habit. I still write in a journal each morning. I take notes in a bound notebook or on a yellow pad. I print out my weekly agenda and, until recently, even printed my daily calendar.

But, lately, I’ve changed the way I operate. More specifically, Evernote has changed the way I operate. I use it for just about everything I do: create to-do lists and agendas, take notes, and even bookmark articles I’ve read. In fact, I’m writing this in Evernote as we speak. For a while, I would create things in Evernote and then print them. I’ve kicked that habit too. And you know what? It’s refreshing not having stacks of paper everywhere in my office. Everything is stored in one central place, and it’s not going anywhere. My work bag is lighter, and I feel like I have more headspace to focus on what’s really important.

It’s hard to give up old habits and routines. You get used to doing things a certain way, and that feels comfortable to you—even if you know there’s a better way. I’ve seen this with some of our clients who have made the switch to our paperless New Hire Onboarding product. They knew all of the reasons why they should switch, but it was still hard—right up until the moment when they experienced the ease of use themselves. Once our clients go through the process of onboarding a new hire without printing a sheet of paper, they love it and don’t look back.

Are you still stuck with a paper habit when it comes to new hire onboarding? Do you have to have to reload the printer just to get through a couple of new hire packets? Is your file cabinet telling you “No mas!?” Consider what’s keeping you from making the change, and it’s probably not as much of a roadblock as you would expect.

Progress is impossible without change - George Bernard Shaw


Here are the most common objections and associated questions:


Is it compliant to complete federal and state forms electronically? Do electronic signatures have the same legal validity as a signature on paper?

Yes. The U.S. Government enacted the E-Sign Act of 2000 which clarifies that federal documents may be completed electronically, as long as protocols for valid electronic signatures are followed. An electronic signature is valid under U.S. law if these four conditions are met:

  • All parties have intent to sign the document
  • All parties have consented to do business electronically
  • The electronic signature must have an associated record that reflects the process by which the signature was created
  • Electronic signature records must be capable of retention and accurate reproduction by all parties

Our system ensures that all signers have the intent to sign and have given consent to sign electronically. All signers must be logged in as a user in order to complete an e-signature. We record a date stamp and the IP address of the user when our system records an e-signature. All completed electronic forms are converted to PDF files and stored in our system for future reference. It is easy for authorized users to export these as needed. You can even print these files if prefer to have a paper copy for your files.


Is it safe to store my sensitive data in the cloud? Am I at risk of losing this information?

Yes, but you need to make take the right steps to maximize this security. Do not store sensitive data in just any cloud storage drive. You need a system designed for storing sensitive data, which includes data encryption. Plus, you need to closely manage who has access to this data. Data backups are standard for cloud storage and minimize the risk of data loss, but not all systems are created equal. It’s important for you to ask questions about a company’s policies on data and security.

We take data and security seriously and are happy to provide you with documentation of our security policies.

Difficult to Change

Can all of our forms be converted into electronic forms? How difficult is this process and how much time will it take?

Yes. Any form can be converted into an electronic form. And we make that conversion easy by taking care of the form conversion process for you. This allows you to focus on getting your internal processes and communication ready for the switch to paperless onboarding.


Our sales leader taught me a simple lesson: People only make a change when there is a compelling reason to do so.

These are a few of the most compelling reasons that have encouraged our clients to switch to paperless onboarding:


Compliance is both a reason to switch and a common objection to digitizing the onboarding process. We work with a lot of decentralized organizations with multiple stores and offices. Many of them have expressed concerns about their ability to ensure compliance across their locations. They are not always confident about the way these forms are managed, and they don’t have a good process to oversee this at each location.

But, our New Hire Onboarding System helps simplify compliance with features that allow you to:

      • Create New Hire Checklists: Our system gives you the ability to create checklists that your new hires and their hiring managers must complete as part of the onboarding process. This includes a full list of every required form that must be completed. Administrators at decentralized organizations use this feature to ensure that each location is getting the right forms completed for every new hire.
      • Reduce Errors: Our electronic forms can be prefilled with a new hire’s contact information so that they do not need to retype this into each field. And form fields can include validation rules (like social security numbers requiring 9 digits). These features reduce errors and improve accuracy throughout the onboarding process.

Enforce Deadlines:

    • All new hire checklist items include deadlines for completion. This is particularly important for the federal I-9.
  • Establish Admin Control: Admins have the ability to review all forms that have been completed and see how new hires are progressing with their onboarding checklists. This gives administrators visibility, which helps them stay in control.


Like compliance, security is an objection by some and a compelling reason to automate processes for others. Many people have concerns about the security of their paper forms at their locations as well as who has access to them.

Our New Hire Onboarding System helps establish security with features like:

  • Secure, Centralized Storage: Everything is housed in one central place using secure cloud-based servers. All sensitive data is encrypted and regular backups are kept to minimize the risk of data loss.
  • Activity Logs: Our system keeps track of all actions taken by users in the system, so you know who did what and when.
  • User Access Controls: Administrators have full control over who does and does not have login access to sensitive files.


Some people come to us because they are tired of the stacks of paper and know there is a better way to do things. They recognize that their current process is inefficient and needs to change.

Going paperless provides countless clear benefits like:

  • Time Savings: When new hires and their managers can complete forms faster, it allows them to focus on preparing them to perform the job sooner. Plus administrators save time by having visibility into everyone’s actions.
  • Paper Savings: The cost of paper and printer toner adds up quickly. And if you have multiple locations with multiple hires each year, this number becomes substantial. (And who doesn’t feel good about saving some trees?)
  • Storage Savings: I think of storage in two ways: physical storage space and headspace. Imagine how nice it would be to not have file cabinets everywhere. Some companies have reclaimed entire areas of their office by going paperless. But the most important aspect for me is headspace. Not having papers everywhere clears my mind and allows me to focus on what’s most important. And it’s hard to place a value on this.


Finally, some people change because they see an opportunity to do something new—something beyond new hire forms that can have a real impact on their business.

Our clients have realized many other opportunities with our platform, too. Our features help achieve things like:

  • E-Verify & WOTC: – We offer integrations that allow clients to manage E-Verify and Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC) within our system. In the case of WOTC, clients have the potential to earn thousands of dollars in tax credits from the hires that they make each year.
  • Payroll Integration: Our system integrates with a growing number of payroll providers. This integration makes it easy to create a new employee record in your payroll system without any manual data entry or uploads.
  • New Hire Confidence: New hires benefit from much more than new hire forms when onboarding. They need the confidence in their new roles, as well as a connection with your company and their new team. New hire checklists give structure to these items and allow new hires to learn more on their own.


It can be tough to kick old habits, but it is the only way that you can grow as an organization. By taking these simple steps, you can begin improving your onboarding process today:

  • Take a step back and review your current process for new hire paperwork. Think about the possibilities with and the value of a paperless process.
  • Write down the objections and reasons that are keeping you from making the change. Examine each one to see how you can overcome it internally.
  • Speak with HR leaders at other companies who have gone paperless.

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