The process starts with an email notification to all professional staﬀ members directing them to the Softdocs’ Electronic Forms solution login page with options to select their intent for the upcoming year. To electronically sign the form, users type their full name and the date in the appropriate fields, press send, and the form goes directly to the Personnel department for review and automatic filing. “All of this was electronic,” said Partlow, “but the best part is that it goes to live in their Personnel file.”
“I’m probably archiving close to 50 documents a day which is unheard of with paper,” Horne added. “Every morning I check and there’s at least 30 or 40 in there to archive. It maybe takes 30 minutes to review and archive 50 of them. Probably less time than that.”
The second phase of the process involved the principals filling out a contract recommendation form for every teacher at their school. According to Partlow, this had been the hardest part since each recommendation was unique to the person.
She went on to describe a phone call she received from one of the middle school principals once they started filling out the new electronic contract recommendation form.
“She said ‘Beckye, this is beyond easy. I used to dread this with a passion. It would take me forever. I’m probably writing paragraphs where in the past I’d try to come up with a canned statement that would only take me two minutes to write on everyone’s.’ As the individual person who is being recommended, wouldn’t you rather have someone talk about you and why they recommended you instead of ‘person meets expectations’?” said Partlow.
Once the Personnel department obtains all the contract recommendations, the actual contract comes into play. Seeing the significant time savings with the first round of e-forms, Partlow decided to include letters of agreement as well.
“I thought, ‘that’s going to be enough to chew for one year’,” said Partlow. “Then I decided it would just be absolutely wonderful if we could do the whole thing and include the letter of agreement.”
Each of Rock Hill’s at-will professional employees receive letters of agreement. They range from retirees to new hires who don’t have their certificates in order at the time of employment.
The automatic routing of e-forms has eliminated the need to make duplicate copies and physical handling of contracts between the schools and district oﬀice.
“It used to take Sonya the better part of a month and a half, maybe two, to actually print contracts [and letters of agreement] because she had to print two copies,” said Partlow.
Another feature of having electronic forms Partlow found particularly useful was checking on pending documents. She could look at the Personnel folders in the content management solution to see who had something missing, or use the electronic forms solution if she wanted to monitor the e-form’s activity and view its status.
The workflow remained the same, but Softdocs’ Electronic Forms solution now routes everything seamlessly in the background rather than employees physically shifting mountains of files around the oﬀice.
“There was so much paperwork with 1,455 contracted or LOA employees and each one of them had at least three documents,” said Horne. “I would have that in stacks by locations on a roller cart and it would take months, on top of everything else, to scan into their Personnel file. It might take until August or September to get everything done.”
“There is no way to even describe the comparison and difference between the amount of paper that is no longer being dealt with,” said Partlow.
“Think about how many reams of paper that looks like if they were packaged. It is just an enormous amount of stuﬀ. We needed to save that kind of paper, and we’ve been able to do it.”
Horne mentioned an added benefit of having the contracts already in the system by the summer is that it will alleviate the time spent searching through stacks of packets when people call with questions about their employment status.
While the physical difference has been a noticeable change, productivity has increased so much the district is ahead of the deadline for submitting evaluations to the state.
The duo is already planning on converting other departmental forms into e-forms in the future.
“Now that this works, just about everything I would normally store in someone’s Personnel file, I’d love to see electronic,” said Partlow.