How I reduced working time in our HR department with Docage by 18%

I am HR, replace the “R” by resources, relationships or wealth, it does not matter to me, I am the “H” that has always motivated me. I’m not saying it’s the easiest letter, but it’s a damn living ground and it’s good because I like change. This is my fifth company in my 20-year career. When I took up my new position, I had to respond to the needs, problems and well-being of employees, from hiring and firing, to payroll and contract management. Having a strong taste for optimizing processes, whatever they are, I mean that in my personal life I have the same flaw, I quickly felt the loss of time and energy that reigned in the service. Mainly due to the management of paperwork, yes it seems incredible in a company like ours that has its own IT department, collaboration solution in the cloud and the whole array of modern tools.

Woman electronically signing a smartphone contract with Docage Signature

So I looked for a solution to remove this paper, which often had only one purpose: the need to keep an original. And what is an original? It is a document with a signature. So if I summarize the situation: all our contracts, hourly statements, briefing notes to employees were all the basis of digital documents and all ended up being… materialized and in several copies please. All to keep a signature. A heresy when you think about it, but the rule in all the companies where I worked so nothing abnormal at first glance.

The click came to me by signing my new insurance contract by electronic signature. But yes, that’s the solution. Not that I had ever used the electronic signature as such, I also had my certificate on my small USB stick that I used to sign our documents in-house, but I had never thought of using it externally, and it changes everything.

So I looked for a unique solution to sign internally and externally and I selected Docage for the simplicity of the process and the fact that anyone can sign our documents without the need to create an account. Being able to sign with an SMS code makes handling accessible to everyone, including people outside the company and our applicants. A good first phone contact also confirmed my choice.

So what has changed in our HR department? If I say everything you will think that I am exaggerating, and well I too in your place, but it is true.

That is after three months where we are and where I am. The paper is finished for good. Documents are digitally born, live digitally and die (almost) digitally. Our documents are created from our business software, word processing or spreadshee. We consult them, consult them and modify them as before and then sign them and have them signed without printing. The people affected by the document are notified by Docage, which means that we call more such or such to find out where the signature is. It’s so fluid.

Another interest, the automatic classification of documents in a system of multiple filing cabinets developed by Docage, I explain: before a document had to be labeled in our old GED system for each keyword by which we wanted to find it. It worked but took time, today it is done automatically from the creation of the document because we use the models of Docage. However, these models are already categorized into several filing cabinets, which means that each document created from these models is automatically linked to the same filing cabinets. Farewell to digital labelling and of course farewell to paper archiving. Archive which, as often in HR or accounting, was done in two phases: in a binder accessible in our department for a year, then every end of the month moving filing cabinets from the same month last year in the archives room. Docage archives our documents for at least 10 years and here too it is automatic for all signed documents. If I like the Docage filing system so much it’s not entirely for nothing, I participated at my humble level as a reference user. Indeed Stéphane, our advisor at Docage, asked me how we imagined the ideal classification system, well believe it or not but the result is exactly what I had described, to a detail I called it files. It made me funny because it was the first time I gave my opinion to a software publisher and something concrete came out of it. Usually, especially with payroll software, your customer service remarks have as much effect as an anti-wrinkle cream. I hope this happens to you, it reconciles you with this species apart from “computer scientists”.

So yes all this automation, necessarily it frees up time, and I’ll even give it to you precisely since we raised it scrupulously with my service for 15 days after 1 month when everything was in place. We felt that we were more relaxed, that we had more time to spend with the candidates, the employees of the company that calls us for their holidays, their stops, their questions on their pay slips. In short we felt it but the figure left us a moment speechless when in Excel we pressed the sigma to display the total: 63 hours! Yes we had spent 63 hours less on processing our documents. We are 5 people, so that’s about 18 of our added work time. That is, almost the working time of one of us.

Suffice to say that it allowed us to bring out all the projects we had and to think that now we had time to implement them. Projects that we had defined in a joint meeting and that management and employees wanted to see implemented for several years for some. The kind of project that gives meaning to our job and helps us to support the less pleasant but necessary sides.

When I presented this time saving to our boss, he was not surprised, he simply said, “I understand better.” He said he had had several positive feedback that our colleagues found us more relaxed on the phone. An indirect effect of having time to do things without a doubt.

Now, after being a pioneer in the company, our IT department is connecting other services to Docage. I am proud of it I must say.

So yes it means that you can always improve an organization that seems immutable, you only have to look if there is not a grain of sand that once removed reveals a new fluidity.

Personally, while the initial changes were essentially internal and related to the pleasure of changing habits and seeing the results. These are now deeper effects that are manifested thanks to a novelty in my life: I now go on time at night. Yes it holds in a few words and could almost seem anecdotal but this is the big turning point in my life: the time available in a day. The one outside of work and the commute to work. It means time for my daughter, to discuss her day, to pick her up after basketball. Time to go to sports on Tuesdays and Thursdays, whereas before I go once every two weeks even if at the time I did not admit it.

So, yes, you too, whatever your job, be attentive and open to changes, those that germinate in your mind, or in those of your colleagues. Listen to the proposals or get even better by asking them open questions about their daily activities and listening to them. This done may do a little advice out of a number of “Management” but when it works a good advice remains good advice. That was my example, if you are still here, it is because you are interested in it and may inspire you. I thank Stéphane de Docage who after hearing me 20 times on the phone say “But it’s great your thing!” offered to write this text.