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Human resources going paperless: e-signature of the employment contract

Electronic signature employment contract
Matthieu Duault

Matthieu Duault

Content Manager @Yousign

Illustration: Mélusine Vilars

Human resources started their digital transition several years ago thanks to a favourable technological and legal framework. Many companies now have HRMS software for managing their teams or an ATS enabling them to better organise their recruitment in an increasingly complex labour market. The electronic signature of the employment contract between employee and employer completes this range of tools and makes it possible to finalise the dematerialisation process while simplifying the life of human resources departments and recruiters.

It is finally time to say goodbye to paper!

A change in working methods

The labour market is becoming more diverse and the options available to recruiters and human resources more generally are expanding. The employment contract comes in different forms - fixed-term, permanent, temporary, freelance - and opens up greater opportunities for employers and their teams.

At the same time, the needs of future employees are changing and can easily be reconciled with those of their employers. The exponential development of remote working in the tertiary sector is a clear example of this and necessarily requires the employment contract to evolve.

This evolution of the labour market has pushed human resources to modify their organisation and allowed the development of new tools able to meet their new needs.

Human resources: a sector undergoing technological change

A very large majority of companies are nowadays equipped with HRMS software, mainly for all aspects of payroll, administrative management and time and activity management. Training and performance management are also beginning to naturally integrate these new tools, allowing them to gradually move away from the paper format.

Some evolution in the law has also made it possible to further develop the use of electronic payslips by companies, paving the way for ever more dematerialisation of HR documents.

Recruitment is not to be outdone. The development of new job search platforms and the multiplication of the ATS offer in SaaS enables recruiters to better organise the search for new profiles, and even to automate beforehand the sorting of profiles.

Despite end-to-end digitised HR processes and the lack of an alternative solution, paper has long remained the norm for all contractual relations between employer and employee. The deployment of the electronic signature makes it possible to extend dematerialisation to all human resources activities while providing greater security and confidentiality in exchanges.

Can I sign the employment contract online?

Of course !

Official regulations are meant to set boundaries to the uses of the digital signature. In Europe,  eIDAS regulation mainly concerns public sector bodies and trusted service providers like Yousign which are established in the European Union. It establishes a European framework for electronic identification and trust services to facilitate the emergence of the digital market. For a work personalised experience, and according to the types of contracts you want to sign, we strongly advise you to first check with your own country’s regulations and framework before setting up e-signature processes for a specific contract. 

For an electronic signature process to be recognised, it must comply with certain rules:

  • It must respect the integrity of the document
  • It must include a signatory identification system
  • It must attach an electronic certificate to the document

The certification authorities and trusted third parties are able to offer you electronic signature solutions that have real legal value for your electronic signatures on employment contracts.

The electronic signature of the employment contract: what use cases?

The electronic signature of the employment contract applies to all forms of employment contracts in the labour market.

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

The electronic signature meets the specific needs of the various tasks present in human resources. Signing a fixed-term or permanent contract and all the accompanying documents (health insurance, confidentiality clause, etc.) beforehand will make it easier to prepare the employee's arrival in the company and facilitate their first steps in the company. The first day will not revolve around administrative management, but will  rather be about discovering the company and the missions assigned to it.

As the electronic signature of the employment contract can be carried out remotely, it is also a valuable solution for employees working from home  or companies with offices that are geographically distant from each other. Finally, validation workflows like those you can find in Yousign allow you to set up a process for proofreading and validating employment contracts before sending them to the signatories.

Temporary employment agencies will be able to take advantage of the immediacy of the electronic signature process and thus be more responsive in finding and recruiting temporary workers for their clients. A signature tracking dashboard will also provide a global view of all contracts awaiting validation and signature.

Similarly, for one-off or longer-term needs, electronic signatures will make it possible to hire freelancers much more quickly, while respecting the protocol and legal value of traditional assignment contracts.

The use of online signatures obviously does not stop with the signing of the employment contract. The digital signature can be applied to all documents managed by human resources. It makes it possible to secure exchanges with your teams and to better organise your personnel management.

It is thus possible to use the electronic signature for your job descriptions, confidentiality clauses, annual interviews, holiday requests and validation…

Automating your human resources processes

The electronic signature, often available as an application, can also be easily integrated into your existing tools (HRMS, ATS, etc.) by means of an API. You can thus manage all your human resources processes from a single software application and automate all or part of your tasks according to your needs: document validation workflow, automated electronic signature reminders, employee training follow-up, holiday management...

For each signature, all signatories will receive a copy of the document in digital format and access to an audit trail of the signature.

If your platform is connected to an electronic archiving system, you will be able to securely store all your HR documents.

Yousign electronically archives the proof files for 10 years, renewable at Arkhineo, a third-party archiver certified at European level.

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The electronic signature of the employment contract will therefore not only allow you to digitise all your HR processes but will also considerably simplify your human resources management while making your contractual processes more secure. It is extremely simple to use and has a wide scope of application. It is therefore time to take the plunge and bring a new modern touch to your company.

Discover the electronic signature during a demonstration!

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