The future of government: Modernizing HR teams in a watershed moment

By Craig Peasley

Posted on 12-17-2020

In recent years, government agencies have been working to modernize human resources (HR). Agencies recognize that digital processes are more efficient and allow them to attract and retain better talent.

The transition to digital workflows was slow until the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, when suddenly staff needed to work remotely. Agencies across federal, state, and local governments quickly responded by implementing digital plans that had been discussed for months, or even years, practically overnight.

HR executives are often the strongest advocates — and benefactors — of digital-first solutions. However, research from Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Adobe, finds that more than 57 percent of government HR workflows and approvals are still not fully automated, hindering their ability to keep employees productive and engaged. Plus, HR executives are discovering how out-of-date agency tools limit their ability to attract millennials.

Forrester study: How Digital Document Processes Are Shifting From Best Practice To Business Necessity

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The pandemic accelerated HR document process transformation

In 2020, government HR teams were catapulted into the digital age. Processes that were considered cumbersome in everyday office settings became impossible in a remote environment. No one was in the office to conduct interviews or even check the mail. A new era of digital HR had begun — and it started with making document processes all digital and adopting e-signatures. Wet signatures instantly became a relic of the past.

Transitioning to working from home

HR teams were integral to getting employees prepared for remote work. With Adobe Document Cloud PDF tools and e-signatures, HR teams were able to quickly transition paper-based documents and forms into digital versions. From issuing equipment to setting guidelines about work-from-home policies, e-signatures make sending, tracking, and approving documents easy and secure. With Adobe Sign, employees had the resources and support to be productive while working remotely plus they were able to maintain the security and privacy standards required by the agency.

The Sign integration with the agency’s existing tools fast-tracked the transition to remote work. Posting employee request web forms on internal portals provided 24x7 access with automated workflows while maintaining a complete audit trail. With Sign, agencies can create professional-quality communications using templates and send them individually or in bulk to multiple recipients. Using a centralized dashboard, HR can track where documents are in the routing process and intervene at any time.

Finding top talent

In addition to keeping agency business moving, Document Cloud can help HR teams modernize their processes, from hiring to onboarding to retirement plans. Using Adobe Acrobat DC and Sign, document packets can be assembled, personalized, routed, tracked, and securely stored in days instead of weeks. Offer letters and background check request forms can be created quickly and sent to candidates for signature.

Digital document workflow case study: State of Hawaii

The State of Hawaii adopted e-signatures in 2015. Hawaii’s agencies are currently using Document Cloud solutions for everything from employee onboarding to signing common documents. Approval processes that typically took 30 days are now being completed in just three days. Employee onboarding time dropped from two hours to 20 minutes. By delivering documents electronically, the State of Hawaii saves printing of 24,000 pages of paper daily. Other agencies are looking to Hawaii as a model of digital adoption success.

Using the cloud for rapid time to value

Historically, one of the biggest barriers to adopting technology is the time and effort it takes to move from legacy systems and transition to new platforms. Thanks to FedRAMP authorized cloud-based solutions from Adobe, digital solutions can be integrated seamlessly with existing systems and implemented in a matter of days, not months. Employees work in the applications they use every day, like Workday or other human capital management (HCM) systems. Adobe also natively integrates with Microsoft 365 and Google G Suite for secure document sharing and storage.

HR agencies are challenged to recruit top talent and provide employee benefits while supporting a remote workforce. With Sign, recipients can legally sign agreements from any device in just a few minutes. Job candidates can verify their identity using knowledge-based authentication or by sharing a photo of their government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport. When employee signatures are required, the signer’s identity can be authenticated with sign sign-on or government IDs like PIV or CAC cards. The audit trail tracks authorization and follows the digital asset until it is stored in a secure content repository.

To begin the transition to all-digital workflows, most agencies start with the forms they already use, digitize them, and then post them on a website or employee portal. Sign forms include error checking and automated routing, reducing friction and getting approvals completed 28x faster.

Wow them from the start with all-digital HR documents

Connect every step of the employee lifecycle with Adobe Document Cloud solutions. Create and send important HR packages with Acrobat DC, and get files signed instantly with Adobe Sign.

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Topics: Government, Productivity, Document Cloud, Future of Work, HR, Forms and electronic signatures for government

Products: Document Cloud, Acrobat, Sign,