How HR leaders can implement paperless contracts

Updated: Jan 5

HR TECHNOLOGY: The use of electronic signatures and paperless contracts is gaining wide attraction within the HR profession in Southeast Asia, with many countries now legalising their use.

Increasing efficiency, decreasing administration burden, and reducing carbon footprint are some factors that HR teams are always looking to achieve, and one way this can be done is by implementing paperless contracts.

Although it is not a new method and the process has already been adopted by many firms, it is useful to know what paperless contracts are and how it can be optimized in your firm.

While employee contracts are traditionally done on printed paper or hard copy and require an in-person interaction to obtain a signature, paperless contracts are done online using an electronic signature instead. Hence, rather than having to print each contract, employers can send and store them online. At the same time, contracts on soft copy minimise the risk of making mistakes, which is one of many reasons it is gaining traction in firms.

According to Chief of Staff Asia's Technology Editor, Vandana Nanwani, there are three main factors to consider before implementing electronic contracts: online storage space and enabling online signatures. Migrating from physically storing paper contracts in filing cabinets to computers requires online storage which can be assisted using cloud tech. Not only does it make it easier for employers to access them anytime from anywhere, but storing them online will also increase efficiency for the exchange of contracts to potential employees and clients. At the same time, paperless documentation can help organisations cut costs on things like paper, printers, and other office supplies, thus reducing their carbon footprint across a range of measures.

To enable online signatures, firms can look into tech offerings from DocuSign, Adobe EcoSign and Right Signature that specialise in electronic signature for contracts and agreements.

One firm that has already implemented paperless contracts using the technology mention above is the Singapore franchise of Guzman y Gomez. The Mexican restaurant chain primarily uses DocuSign which not only facilitate electronic signatures but also helps store and manage electronic contracts. DocuSign is also able to capture key information related to specific documents, such as IP addresses and timestamps off when the document was sent, viewed, and signed. This provides a safety blanket for both parties and minimises the risks of forgery.

One may ask what about the legality and security of using electronic signatures. DocuSign is backed up by the Electronic Transactions Act in Singapore, which provides the legal framework for all of its contracts. Electronic signatures are also legally recognised in Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Indonesia, however, still needs to create a law to fully legalise electronic signatures.

Hear more from Vandana Nanwani in the clip below, or see the full episode of The HR Agenda, featuring Paul Howell and Laurence Smith, at this Youtube link

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