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Digitising HR: eSignature of employment contracts

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Matthieu Duault

Matthieu Duault

Brand Manager @Yousign

Illustration: Mélusine Vilars

Thanks to a favourable technological and legislative climate, Human Resources has been pursuing a digital transition for several years now. Many companies now have HRIS software to manage their teams or an ATS to better organize their recruitment on an increasingly complex job market. Electronic signature of employment contracts between employer and employee is the latest addition to this array of tools, completing the digitization process while making life simpler for HR departments and recruiters.

It is finally time to say goodbye to paper for good!

A change in working methods

The job market is becoming ever more diverse, and recruiters and Human Resources professionals have ever more options. The employment contract can take different forms – fixed-term, permanent, temporary, freelance – and offers extensive possibilities for employers and their teams.

At the same time, the needs of future employees are changing, and can easily find themselves in sync with those of their employers. The exponential growth of remote working in the services sector is a clear example of this, and will necessarily require a new approach to the employment contract.

These changes in the job market have prompted Human Resources professionals to adapt their organizational structures and enabled the development of new tools better able to meet their new needs.

Human Resources: a sector in the midst of a technological transformation

Today, the vast majority of companies are equipped with HRIS software, mainly for payroll, administrative management and time and activity tracking. Naturally enough, training and performance management are also starting to be incorporated in these new tools, which are gradually making paper redundant.

French Labour Law No. 2016-1088 of 8 August 2016 has also made it possible to further develop companies’ use of electronic pay slips, paving the way for even greater digitization of HR documents.

Recruiting has not been left out. The development of new job search platforms and an ever-growing SaaS ATS offer is enabling recruiters to better organize their search for new profiles, and even automate the early stages of applicant screening.

Despite the fact that HR processes are now digitized end to end, paper has, for want of a better solution, remained the norm for all contractual matters between employer and employees. Using eSignature extends digitization to all human resources processes, while also providing greater security and confidentiality.

Can I sign my employment contracts online?

Absolutely!

Electronic signature is governed at European level by the eIDAS Regulation (Regulation No 910/2014 of 23 July 2014). This Regulation, transposed in Articles 1366 and 1367 French Civil Code, allows for employment contracts to be signed electronically under certain conditions.

However, you should check the specific legislation applicable in your country, which may differ from contract to contract.

In order for an electronic signature to be recognized as legitimate, it must follow certain rules. Specifically, it must:

  • Not compromise the integrity of the document
  • Include a signatory identification system
  • Associate a digital certificate with the document

Certification authorities and trusted third parties, including Yousign, can offer you electronic signature solutions with real legal value for your employment contracts.

eSignature of employment contracts: what can it be used for?

eSignature is possible with all forms of employment contract used on today's labour market.

  • Fixed-term contracts
  • Permanent contracts
  • Freelance assignment contracts
  • Temporary contracts

eSignature meets the specific needs of various HR professionals. Companies can prepare better for the arrival of new employees and help them integrate more seamlessly by signing a fixed-term or permanent contract and all the related documents (health insurance, NDA, etc.) in advance. Instead of spending their first day on administrative tasks, new hires can concentrate on getting to know the company and familiarising themselves with the duties entrusted to them.

eSignature of the employment contract can be performed remotely. It is also a useful solution for employees working from home or companies with offices in different locations. Finally, validation workflows such as those found in the Yousign app can be used to set up a process for checking and validating employment contracts before they are sent to the signatories.

The instant nature of the eSignature process will also benefit temp agencies, enabling them to search for and recruit temporary staff for their clients more quickly. A signature tracking dashboard will provide an overview of all contracts awaiting validation and signature.

In addition, when one-off or recurring needs arise, eSignature will make hiring freelancers much quicker, while preserving the formalities and legal value of conventional assignment contracts.

Clearly, the potential uses of eSignature do not stop at signing employment contracts. eSignature can be used for all Human Resources documents. It allows for more secure communication with your teams, while enabling you to better organize your workforce.

You can use eSignature for your job descriptions, non-disclosure agreements, annual performance reviews, and leave request and approval forms.

Automating your HR processes

eSignature, often available in the form of an application, can also be simply integrated in your existing tools (HRIS, ATS, etc.) via an API. You can thus manage all human resources processes from a single software program and automate some or all of your tasks according to your needs: document validation, automated reminders to sign documents, tracking of employee training, leave management, etc.

Each time a document is signed, all signatories will receive a copy of said document in digital format, as well as access to an audit trail for the signature.

If you link your platform to an electronic archiving system, you can store all your HR documents securely.

Yousign electronically archives the audit trail for a renewable period of 10 years with Arkhineo, a certified European third-party archiver.

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Signing your employment contracts electronically will therefore enable you not only to digitize all your HR processes, but also to significantly simplify your HR management while adopting more secure contract processes. It is extremely simple to use and has a vast range of applications. So, it’s time to take the plunge and bring a touch of modernity to your business!

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