Six ways to cut waste with HR software

An HR software exec shares tips on how the tech can reduce paper and ink consumption, as well as mailing costs

As an advocate of the less-paper office, I was interested to read this article over on Changeboard by Richard Thomas director of product strategy and marketing at MidlandHR, a maker of HR software. In it, he points out several ways that HR software can be used to reduce paper and ink waste in the office -- not to mention the fuel costs associated with delivering paper documents hither and yon.

[For more ways to pursue a less-paper office, please read "Follow the paperless trail" and "Fight rising fuel surcharges with e-signatures."]

1. Online résumé database. Résumés (or CVs) tend to be delivered printed on paper, or else printed up upon arrival, Thomas notes. HR software enables HR admins to store résumés in online databases, both for current and future positions. "CV assessment can take place online as well as psychometric tests. These can provide additional recruitment resources," he writes.

2. E-payslips. Rather than wastefully printing and mailing out payslips to employees throughout an organization, you can use HR software to produce and distribute them electronically, Thomas writes.

3. Absence monitoring. Rather than using paper forms to log and track employee absenteeism, "line managers can enter data into the system directly," Thomas writes. Notes from doctors and reasons for absence can be similarly recorded.

4. Vacation requests. Rather than circulating paper documents, delivered from employees to managers to HR, you can manage the process paperlessly online with HR software, Thomas notes. "In addition to the paper saved in requesting holidays, it is also easy to authorize holidays," he writes.

5. Company expenses. Requesting expense reimbursements can be a time-consuming and wasteful practice as documents are printed up, filled out by handed, and passed around for authorization. As with the vacation requests, HR software eases the process while eliminating the paper waste, Thomas writes. Moreover, the approach can "provide a centralization of data, which can be referred to on request," he writes. "For example, when reviewing personal expenses forms, methods of travel can be identified with suggestions made e.g. to reduce expenditure on taxis."

6. Timesheets. Timesheets, whether for temporary employees or those working overtime, can be a headache to maintain and authorize, Thomas writes. "An online system simplifies this unnecessary burden greatly, reducing paper usage, speeding up the time it takes to honor payments and allowing employees to focus on their job," he writes.

Thomas's article on Changeboard includes some insights about green-washing and CSR (corporate social responsibility), as well as a case study about HR software in action. Check it out here.