Riverhead Building Supply is a provider of premium building materials and services. Their Human Resources department is currently converting all employee files to an online format in order to eliminate paper and waste, which connects to Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and Goal 12 Responsible Consumption & Production.
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When you become an employee at any company, there is loads of paperwork that needs to be completed before you can start. The minute you accept an offer, the Human Resources department begins your employee file. This file grows and grows the longer you stay with the company. Riverhead Building Supply has decided to make the change of eliminating a paper file for each and every employee. With over 750 employees to date and a company that has been around for over 70 years, you can only imagine how much paper has been collected over the years. The human resources department of RBS has been converting all employee files to an online format. Each employee has multiple folders in their files which include, 401k/Pension, Benefits, FMLA, Health, Worker’s Comp, Vehicle/Property Damage, and their White Folder which is comprised of general paperwork that doesn’t fall into one of the other categories. Some folders are less than 100 pages while others have over 500. Any employee that has been hired after June 15th has no paper file and all paperwork that needs to be completed is done online and sent straight into their folder.
Not only do companies have current employee folders when one terminates, but it is also required to keep their folder with all their paperwork for six years until they can shred it. This, in turn, takes up a lot of unnecessary space. You may think that it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to simply scan a file and place it in a folder. However, HR departments have to ensure that they are keeping up with compliance laws and regulations. Certain policy acknowledgments that used to be in effect back in 2011 are no longer allowed to be used today. Certain documents must be shredded or completely deleted such as I9s. Careful consideration comes into play when dealing with employee files, as all paperwork is kept confidential within HR.
A change like this one has been in the works for quite some time. The accounts payable/receivable department at RBS converted to an online format a few years back, completely eliminating all paper. The HR department started to see how much paper they were using and how quickly the company was growing in size. Tammy Luby, Director of HR, decided to first switch to a paperless payroll system. ADP makes this easy and all employees are required to have direct deposit. There are only a few expectations when dealing with paying vendors for benefits or if an employee needs an immediate check. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly pushed the innovation to begin. The Human Resource department was required to work from home for months which denied them access to employee files. With the innovation, and no idea how the future of work will change with new standards and laws, with regards to work from home conditions, turning to an online filing system has more pros than cons. Luby stated, “We were finding since we still had hard copy files and we had switched to paperless payroll and paperless performance system, my employees were still printing paperwork and putting them into the files even though we didn’t have it which defeated the whole purpose, this is where I knew we had to make a change quickly.”
When an entire company goes through a major transition, such as shifting to paperless, it has the potential to cause quite an impact on the business and the surrounding environment. Riverhead Building Supply is not the first business to go paperless and it certainly will not be the last. The more often businesses go paperless, the more often other businesses will look to them and may decide to make that paperless transition themselves.
When businesses go paperless, they are going to be operating more harmoniously by eliminating the time and energy employees spend on searching for and organizing extensive paper files. When employees can spend their time and energy on other tasks, the business will be able to increase their productivity. When businesses increase their productivity, they will increase their level of output. This will be more convenient to the customers and incentivize them to spend more of their money with the business and will ultimately benefit the economy.
Not only is a business helping themselves when they go paperless, but they are helping the environment as well. Riverhead Building Supply’s Human Resources department currently holds 64 drawers worth of employee files. Imagine how much paper the whole company holds, as well as businesses in the surrounding areas. One ream of paper is approximately 500 sheets of paper out of 10,000 sheets that could come from 1 tree. If Riverhead Building Supply alone goes paperless, there is a potential to save tens of thousands of sheets of paper, which will save hundreds of trees in just a couple of years. Environmentally, saving trees will help reduce deforestation and reduce climate change.
With Tammy Luby leading the operations, there is no limit to what positive impacts could be made for the company and for the environment. Luby is a dedicated member of the company and has everyone’s best interest at heart when it comes to executing this shift from paper files to a paperless platform.
Converting all employee files within HR to an online format has proven to yield many benefits for the company. With all files now stored online, Riverhead Building Supply has been able to eliminate excess cabinets creating optimal space for employee comfortability. Not only has the elimination of file cabinets made the workplace employee friendly but it has made the filing system of the human resources department simple and efficient. The previous filing method of Riverhead Building Supply was to store all files in 16 four-draw filing cabinets essentially taking up half the office space creating an environment where mishaps were likely. Pages are misplaced in wrong files, accidentally shredding, etc. are mishaps that are likely to happen and have happened in the past. The new online format saves all files of employees, both terminated and active, in one space. After the six years of a terminated employee, their file can be shredded, however, they must still keep the Worker's Comp folder as well as the Vehicle and Property Damage folder for DOT legal reasons. The benefit to this innovation is a much more efficient and time-saving file finding process. In fact, since the project has been implemented, Riverhead Building Supply has reported no cases of accidental document shreddings or document misplacements.
HR’s new online format has also saved Riverhead Building Supply thousands of dollars by avoiding costs usually accrued when buying paper and printing supplies. This new cash surplus allows the company to allocate time and resources that were previously spent on hard copy files towards other projects that need funds. By finally getting this project off the ground within HR was a great idea because their success proves that an online format is viable and can be done on a greater scale. It provides a solid blueprint to guide similar future company projects. Without knowing what the future of this pandemic holds, this innovation elevates the stress of the human resource employees with the possibility of another work-from-home mandate.
Implementing the new online format has shown mutual benefits towards Riverhead Building Supply business as well as both social and environmental factors. With climate change becoming a serious threat companies need to start taking the environment into consideration and Riverhead Building Supply has begun to do so by committing to going paperless. As of now, only the Human Resources department is using the online format but it has the potential to be used throughout the whole company, which is a goal they plan to achieve in the future. Going paperless shows evidence of reducing CO2 emissions and will lessen the company's carbon footprint if fully embedded throughout. The Human Resources department going paperless is a great start for the Riverhead Building Supply company because it is here where they can make an impact. The Human Resources department handles over 750 employee files resulting in a tremendous amount of paper and material waste. With the new online format, Riverhead Building Supply saves hundreds of trees and limits the emission of harmful pollutants in the process. Riverhead Building Supply's logo is "Build Smarter, Build Better", this does not just apply to the customer. This is used throughout the whole company, internally and externally. Each and every employee works harder to continue to build this successful and growing business.
Tammy Luby, Director of Human Resources
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Calverton, NY, US
Business Website: https://www.rbscorp.com
Year Founded: 1948
Number of Employees: 501 to 1000
Riverhead Building Supply is a third-generation, family-owned company that was founded over 70 years ago. They provide premium building materials and services that range from flooring to roofing to windows to millwork. There are over 22 locations across Long Island and the New England area, including retail stores, manufactures, and showrooms. Services include installation, specialized delivery, estimating & design, custom molding & millwork, and consultation and support whenever needed.