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Case study: Gaining a competitive edge through digital

15/08 2017Posted by: 4mat 4mat, 4mat Subscribe to this blog


Energy for the future


When many people think of an established energy company, a traditional, slow-moving business often comes to mind. Innogy, an RWE AG company, is anything but. Innogy sees the winds of change and works to deliver inventive, green, and renewable energy capable of powering a digital world.
This forward-thinking mindset is evident at all levels of the company. The human resources administration team in the United Kingdom, which handles employee contracts, onboarding, and other HR activities, identified an opportunity to provide better experiences to internal and external customers by digitizing processes.

“It’s the digital age, and people want simple, instantaneous communications,” says Sam Marlow, Lead Administrator at Innogy. “But when we needed a document signed, we were still sending paper. Not only was this slow and inefficient, it didn’t fit with our business values. To improve the experience for both administrators and signers, we decided to implement an electronic signature solution.”

Innogy turned to Adobe for its reputation as a leader in electronic documentation. With Adobe Sign, the electronic signature solution within Adobe Document Cloud, the HR administrative team could improve efficiency and usability. Adopting Adobe Sign required approval from multiple departments in both the United Kingdom and the group headquarters in Germany, and every party was enthusiastic about implementation when they saw how simple using Adobe Sign could be.

“Adobe Sign helps us reduce costs, boost productivity, and most importantly, improve experiences across the board,” says Marlow.

Signed contracts in five minutes

The document packet sent to new employees could be lengthy—up to 20 pages long. In addition to the nine-page new employee contracts, the resourcing team sent a welcome packet that included documents such as competition and compliance forms, tax declarations forms, and confirmation of start date letters.

Previously, members of the HR administrative team would prepare and print two copies of the paperwork and mail the copies to the candidate. After signing for the package, the candidate would have to fill out the paperwork, sign, and mail back the documents. Delays could add up quickly, and as a result, it could take up to two weeks for Innogy to receive signed documents.
“With Adobe Sign, contracts are delivered directly to the candidate’s email inbox,” says Sam Houghton, HR Administrator at Innogy. “We’ve received signed and completed documents in as little as five minutes.”

Competition for recruitment of quality, specialized employees can be fierce, but Adobe Sign helps Innogy gain an advantage. The agile, digital workflow better represents Innogy’s commitment to innovation, providing candidates with a more attractive view of the company. Faster response times also encourage candidates to respond quickly, rather than continue interviewing at other companies.
Achieving strong returns

In addition to new employee contracts and onboarding, the HR administrative team handles promotions and other internal movement contracts. Previously, employees would print, sign, and scan contracts received by email. Now, with Adobe Sign, employees return documents with just a few clicks, saving time and resources.

The HR administrative team is looking at MegaSign, a feature within Adobe Sign, to handle batch signatures. Some Innogy contracts can affect up to 24 employees at once. MegaSign will reduce repetitive work and improve productivity even further.

Between internal and external contracts, the HR administrative team processes 425 contracts a month. Eliminating printing saves the company significant amounts of paper, contributing to the brand’s commitment to sustainability. “With Adobe Sign, we eliminated the costs associated with printing and postage and have achieved strong returns on our investment as a result,” says Marlow. “By digitalizing contracts using Adobe Sign, each month we are also saving over 2,800 gallons of water, over 230 pounds of waste, and over 920 pounds of wood associated with the production and disposal of paper.* Adobe Sign enabled us to make a significant impact on the environment, and supports Innogy as a sustainable brand.”

“We also save about 10% of the time we previously spent each day preparing documents, allowing us to be more productive. Adobe Sign pays for itself,” adds Marlow.

Improving accuracy and productivity

The HR administrative team has seen tremendous workflow improvements with Adobe Sign. Forms are created in Microsoft Word and stored in a central library in Adobe Sign, making it easier to add the correct documents to every email. Setting mandatory fields helps prevent signers from returning incomplete or partial documents—errors that can delay next steps.

“We don’t need to scan documents,” says Houghton. “Completed forms can be uploaded and sent straight to the payroll team. By eliminating delays we can get people started in their new positions faster.”

Adobe Sign also provides essential contract tracking. In the past, once a contract was dropped off at the post office, Innogy had little control over where the documents were or insights into whether they were viewed by the recipients. The Adobe Sign dashboard clearly informs resourcing team members whether candidates have received or viewed documents.

The improvements to management and visibility have allowed the HR administrative team to improve work-life balance for its team as well. People now have the flexibility to work from home one day a week because they no longer have to handle physical documents. “Adobe Sign allows us to spend less time on administrative work and more time on refining processes and providing better services,” says Houghton.

Becoming company leaders

The HR administrative team’s success with Adobe Sign is spreading across Innogy and RWE Group. The payroll team has started to use Adobe Sign to receive signatures on documents, while sales is looking into Adobe Sign for sales contracts. Moreover, international branches of Innogy are watching. The company’s office in Germany is looking to the HR services in the United Kingdom for best practices that could lead to a wider adoption of Adobe Sign.

“Technology moves fast, and so does our business,” says Mark Bass, HR Operations Contact Centre Manager at Innogy. “Adobe Sign enables us to become more agile so that we can attract the talent to support company growth now and in the future.”

Find out more about what Innogy is doing to innovate the energy industry on their website here.
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