Paper pain: How electronic onboarding can be your cure

Oct. 16, 2013 | by Jason Hamilton
Paper pain: How electronic onboarding can be your cure

Nobody likes forms, piles of paperwork or filing cabinets.

But in the world of restaurant operations, documentation is often a necessary evil of the hiring process: required forms are often incomplete, illegible and ultimately need a home within a space-constrained restaurant amid burgers and fries. Paperwork has been seen as a side effect of hiring employees, and put simply, it's a pain point for quick-service operations. Says one regional director of a franchise group regarding the annoyance and abundance of hiring paperwork: "There was no filing system. Every GM of every restaurant would keep the applications in different locations."

That's not an isolated sentiment. A Snagajob poll of hourly employers recently found that 25 percent of hiring managers report "paper applications and other hiring paperwork" as their biggest hiring challenge. Thankfully, there is a better way.

Switching to electronic onboarding can eliminate paperwork frustrations and produce numerous benefits:

1. Time equals money: Nobody has the power to create hours in the day. But, change to electronic onboarding and hours that were previously spent on employee paperwork can be re-allocated to things that help increase a restaurant's profits such as employee training, food safety and employee culture. Snagajob has found that an Applebee's franchise used to take 60 minutes per employee to complete onboarding paperwork. After switching to an electronic system, it expects to save 2,000 hours in one year.

2. Organization and convenience: "The dog ate my homework" is an excuse heard in school classrooms, but it's not that far from reality at a restaurant. Who knows where a paper application went or where a completed tax form has landed? Certainly not me. Maybe it's in a new employee's car — that he didn't drive today. It was in that desk drawer, the last time a manager looked, anyway. Not only does paper lead to misplaced documents, but there are potential security issues when an employee's personal information is not handled properly. Electronic onboarding can eliminate those hassles because key documents such as Federal and state tax forms can be safely stored in the cloud. And new employees can benefit from completing new hire paperwork on their mobile device, something they find convenient and an extension of other personal tasks they prefer to complete on their phones. Snagajob has found that more than 25 percent of new hire paperwork is now completed on mobile devices.

3. Peace of mind:When you simplify a process to gain time to use in other areas and also experience organization and convenience, there's an overall weight lifted — an albatross disappears. (Phew, it's not so painful to hire a new employee and get them on the payroll). Says one restaurant chief operating officer, "If [electronic onboarding] were to go away, I would just have withdrawl. It's just really made it so simple for us."

When you're ready to ditch the copy machine, the filing cabinets and the potential security issues related to hiring paperwork in exchange for time gained, convenience and peace of mind, make electronic onboarding a priority. Vendors like Snagajob and others can simplify quick-service hiring so that your focus can be on more important things like your employees themselves, your food and your customers' experience.

Topics: Operations Management, Staffing & Training, Systems / Technology

Jason Hamilton
Jason Hamilton serves as Snagajob’s vice president of product and marketing. In this role, he is responsible for creating products that instantly connect workers and employers. He also leads Snagajob's marketing strategies – from customer acquisition and retention to marketplace development and growth. Oh, and he had a cameo in a Bollywood film. www

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