Seeking to minimize costs and use fewer resources—while improving efficiency—many K-12 districts are taking a closer look at how “going paperless” will streamline their processes for creating, distributing and managing teacher contracts.

Either your district has already begun incorporating technology into these yearly procedures, or you’re approaching contracts as you always have—with paper-based, manual processes, and likely feeling apprehensive about getting things done as quickly and accurately as possible.

Let’s examine exactly how technology can turn your teacher contract processes into a true competitive advantage for your district:

Electronic Contracts Save Time

Without software assistance, current paper-based workflows for creating, printing, and distributing teacher contracts generally take about six to eight weeks—that is, if nothing goes wrong.

What if we told you that there is a much simpler way to complete this process – would that feel like a dream come true? Consider using business process automation. Electronic contracts are sent out in batches and, upon completion, archive for later access. If an agreement contains any errors, correction can take just minutes on a desktop or mobile device, instead of hours spent to reprint and resend the paper contract via courier all over the district. Furthermore, this automated process is repeatable, year over year.

Automation Increases Process Efficiency

The greatest benefit of electronic contract management is the increased efficiency and ability to reallocate existing resources. HR no longer needs to spend weeks entering data manually to create contracts – goodbye mail merge! Instead, automation captures the necessary information and prepopulates data directly from your districts existing ERP/HRIS and it into the electronic contract.

Teachers receive notification of an available contract via email. Once reviewed, an electronic signature can be added or the contract rejected. The contract is then automatically sent back to the supervisor or HR department for final approval before being converted into a PDF document and archived within the teacher’s electronic file. When an HR department is inundated with hundreds of contracts all at once, having the ability to quickly edit a contract and return it to the employee easily is critical.

Technology Improves Data Safety and Traceability

Once HR generates a contract, the route a paper-based contract takes to the teacher can needlessly complex, exposing it to unnecessary risk of personal data. The use of e-forms increases the security of the personal information within the contract. Gone are the days of confidential contracts with important personal information placed in unsecured teacher mailboxes in the school mailroom or teacher’s lounge.

E-forms also have a more easily auditable trail than their paper counterparts. One school district official summed up the effect of this type of workflow by saying that district personnel no longer need to worry about whether a contract was delivered or received, because the contract is tracked from the time it is issued to the time it is returned and archived.

The speed of this electronic automated process enables the district to focus on recruiting new teachers earlier than other schools while ensuring current teachers can be retained. This is a necessity now more than ever in such a competitive teacher marketplace.

Ready to Improve Teacher Contracts with Softdocs?

In the past, manual, paper-based workflows were not easily accessible for teachers or HR departments. A mobile, technology-based system, like Softdocs’ Etrieve platform, is far more convenient for teachers and staff to receive, complete, review, and return documents.

Etrieve provides teachers, staff and parents with a mobile, self-service portal where they can log in remotely and submit electronic forms from anywhere, as well as have access to digital employee documentation. And best of all, does so without ANY per transaction, signature or submission costs.

Of course, the system is not limited just to contracts. Once a school district starts using Etrieve and creates a database of employees, it opens the door to managing any mass-distributed documentation for the entire school district. The solution can be used to automatically fill out documents from a spreadsheet, to archive and secure electronic employee records, and to automate common business processes throughout the district. Business process automation can be used for other school-related workflows, such as new employee, midyear, and substitute hires, as well as financial and vendor data management.

Digital contracts and Etrieve—available across desktop and mobile devices—have dramatically reduced the need for paper and have improved employee productivity by giving educational institutions complete control over how content is captured, processed, distributed, stored, and archived.