Continuing to rely on paper processes is a costly mistake for colleges and universities.
Higher education institutions have made huge leaps into digitization in the last several years. Like many other industries, HigherEd was spurred into embracing digital transformation by the impact of Covid. Digitization is a complex process, however, and institutions who have started to go online might still have pockets of campus that work solely on paper; for instance, nearly 50% of institutions still use paper processes for faculty. If your team, your faculty, or any administrative departments at your institution are still using paper, you’re wasting valuable time and resources. Take a look below at the pitfalls of paper processes.
Paper is Inefficient
Did you know that the average employee wastes 40% of their time looking for information in paper documents? Today, when higher education employees aren’t always on campus, shuttling paper documents from your office to your home might not just slow down your work, but prevent you from finishing it. One missing piece of paper with the single piece of information you need can interrupt or stop your workflow.
Consider the process of passing a physical faculty tenure portfolio among a review committee, or a hiring committee using email or paper forms to submit feedback on a candidate—the administrative burden of these activities is huge. Chapman University in Orange, CA, made the switch from paper hiring processes to PeopleAdmin’s Applicant Tracking System and saved hiring committees and HR teams up to 600 hours a month on paperwork.
At Morgan State University in Maryland, a switch from paper evaluations to digital evaluations for required reporting meant that a months-long manual paper collection and collation process was completely automated, giving countless hours back to the administrative team.
There are also increased costs associated with paper processes. 45% of printed paper ends up in the trash in a typical work day—a huge waste of resources. Storage costs are also a concern; paper that isn’t thrown away or recycled needs to be stored in large, costly file cabinets. Of course, if a document is misfiled in one of these many filing cabinets, that leads to even more wasted time and money.
Paper is Inaccurate
As soon as you print data, it becomes outdated. In today’s data-rich world, information is being constantly created, gathered, and updated—and things can shift quickly. If you’re using paper processes to analyze or report on your institution’s metrics, you’re not providing stakeholders with the accurate data they need to make informed strategic decisions. With an interconnected digital ecosystem, the right analytics solution can offer customizable visual dashboards and real-time insights, allowing you to drill down or take a broader view to answer the specific questions and challenges facing your institution.
Paper is a Liability
HR offices are the keepers of sensitive information, like employee SSNs, salary information, and performance reviews. Information like this kept on paper may not always be secure—what if a filing cabinet is left open or an employee record is left out on a desk? Digital systems offer security in a way that paper systems can’t. Paper-based records are also vulnerable. Many institutions saw this in 2020, when physical records had to be sanitized between usage or vital information was locked in inaccessible campus buildings. If your administrative buildings were hit by a flood, would your data be impacted? If the answer is yes, it’s time to migrate to a digital system.
It’s Time to Make the Switch
Paper processes are wasting your team’s time, costing your institution money, and risking your data security. It’s time to make sure every corner of your campus is engaged in the digital transformation. Your processes are complex and unique—a campus is a complicated ecosystem. Luckily, PeopleAdmin understands that HigherEd can’t force a corporate solution to work for them, and we’ve built a platform just for colleges and universities. Learn more about how PeopleAdmin’s HigherEd Platform can work for you!
Check out this webinar about the digital transformation in higher education to learn more!