Many companies are increasingly turning to digital document management and automated workflows for their day-to-day operations. However, there's one department that may have a greater unrecognized need for these platforms than others, but which is all too often left out of these efforts.

Human resources professionals deal with so many files that adoption of even low-level efforts here can free up potentially hundreds of worker hours per year.

The fact is that many HR professionals deal with a lot of paper, and it may take them a lot of time to properly handle and file away every document they need to deal with in a given work day, according to SecurityBrief. One of the benefits of document management and setting up proper workflows is that a lot of this repetitive, time-consuming work vanishes almost overnight with the right implementation.

More than leaders realize
One estimate found that as much as 47% of an HR pro's job is spent using paper documents for things like processing compensation requests and so on, the report said. These inefficient methods are huge time wasters – even if the operations themselves are critical to business function – because technology enables better approaches, and many companies simply haven't adopted them.

Not only is this a boon for workers, but also for the companies themselves, not only because HR pros can then better devote their time to "value-add" tasks, but also because these platforms increase security around the critical, sensitive information many HR-related documents contain, the report said.

What's the issue?
Today, nearly three-quarters of HR departments say they mainly rely on a mix of paper documents and digital files for their everyday operations, creating potentially greater inefficiency, according to HR Technologist. Another 18% rely entirely on physical files, while 4% use digital files exclusively – and the same number keep inactive employee files on paper but use digital documents for active workers.

As a consequence, fewer than two-thirds of HR pros say they remain even somewhat confident their companies are properly set up to handle documents effectively, the report said. Meanwhile, 20% were not at all confident about these issues.

As a consequence, it may be wise for businesses of all sizes to carefully consult with their HR departments about what their needs around document management and workflows may be, and then collaborate to set up a workable system from there.