HR e-signatures take off.
Airbus streamlines HR document workflows using Adobe Acrobat Sign within Workday.
Increase HR efficiency and speed while improving the employee and candidate experience
Reduce the number of document templates being managed
Integrate seamlessly with Workday and other existing HR tools and processes
Address compliance with GDPR regulations and other local requirements
Reduces signing time for onboarding documents to 15 minutes instead of hours or days
Reduces number of templates to a manageable set of 20 per country, from a high of 400
Streamlines 45K signatures annually through Adobe Acrobat Sign and Workday integration
Ensures global compliance through tamper-evident audit trails and secure storage
Simplifying complex international operations
Airbus Group is an aerospace giant, and scale and complexity are part of its DNA. It operates in seven countries with 134,000 employees, building some of the most advanced machinery on the planet — commercial aircraft, defense systems, satellites, and helicopters.
Amidst all that complexity, Antoine Durand is introducing some simplicity and ease. As Workday HCM System Architect at Airbus Group, he has been helping the company’s Human Resource (HR) departments go digital and standardize on a single e-signature tool to manage employment documents.
“As a large, international company, we have many tools being used across regions and departments,” Durand says. “But we are always looking for ways to work more efficiently, and it’s better to get the job done with one tool rather than several.”
Efficiency is especially important as HR teams need to be able to work remotely and do more with fewer resources. Though some teams had the ability to sign documents electronically, most were doing everything manually — with ink and paper. It was a slow, expensive process. They filled data into templates, piece by piece, and sent the document to multiple recipients for their signatures, who then had to print, sign, scan, and send them back. With no way to track workflows, HR teams sometimes lost track of documents.
And there were a lot of templates to manage. “When we inventoried all the documents, we found that each country had around 400 templates to accommodate all their regional requirements,” says Durand. “My goal was to make the whole process faster and easier for HR, while creating a better experience for employees and candidates.”
Airbus needed an e-signature solution that would integrate seamlessly with Workday — so seamlessly that users would never have to leave the Workday interface. He needed to reduce the number of templates and make them more manageable. And he had to help ensure compliance with GDPR regulations and regional works council requirements.
“Adobe Acrobat Sign integrated fully into our existing human resources processes and could be used with 100% transparency within the Workday ecosystem.”
Workday HCM System Architect, Airbus Group
Launching e-signatures in four countries
Durand found his solution in Adobe Acrobat Sign and jumped straight into the project.
“Adobe Acrobat Sign integrated fully into our existing human resources processes and could be used with 100% transparency within the Workday ecosystem,” he says. "We set out on a ‘big bang’ deployment, simultaneously deploying the tool in our four main production countries — France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.”
One of the biggest challenges came right at the beginning. There were multiple variations of employment documents, customized with local headers and footers, company-specific logos, and regional clauses. Durand worked with the HR teams to consolidate 400 versions into just 20 templates for each country — which can be easily managed and customized through Adobe Acrobat Sign and Workday.
“By making it easy to accommodate each country’s legal requirements, we have decreased HR costs and simplified recruiting, especially during the pandemic,” says Durand. “The teams no longer have to update hundreds of documents individually whenever content changes.”
With the templates in order, HR departments were free to start using Adobe Acrobat Sign. When preparing to send employment agreements to candidates, for example, they simply choose the right template within Workday and allow the system to automatically populate all the right data. That includes candidate information and any content specific to the country and business unit. They then send out the documents to be signed—all without leaving the Workday interface. The signed version is automatically stored in Workday and can be accessed by HR partners, managers, and employees.
“The integration between Adobe Acrobat Sign and Workday streamlines HR processes and protects documents, creating a single source of truth for everything from recruiting forms to performance assessments,” says Durand. “It also makes for a much better experience for candidates and employees.”
That’s good for the Airbus brand and its reputation as a technology leader—and good for its ability to recruit and retain talent. With the ability to sign HR documents electronically, anywhere and on any device, employees and candidates know they are working for a company that invests in efficiency and productivity.
“Over the course of a year, we handle 15,000 HR documents with a total of 45,000 e-signatures. Adobe Acrobat Sign gives us the speed and efficiency to process everything more quickly, with a modern, fluid way of managing signatures.”
Workday HCM System Architect, Airbus Group
A global standard brings speed, efficiency, and fluidity to HR
Today, more than a third of Airbus employees in France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom use the HR e-signature solution. On any given day, an average of 100 documents are signed and processed through Adobe Acrobat Sign and Workday, involving between 200 and 500 employees.
“Over the course of a year, we handle 15,000 HR documents with a total of 45,000 e-signatures,” says Durand. “Adobe Acrobat Sign gives us the speed and efficiency to process everything more quickly, with a modern, fluid way of managing signatures.”
Now, HR teams can send electronic documents to candidates and get signatures in just 15 minutes — rather than spending hours or days waiting for all parties to print, sign, scan, and return the agreements. They can track the status of documents and keep them moving, which means greater security and no more lost documents. And a full audit trail helps keep Airbus compliant with regulations.
The journey isn’t over for Durand, however. Next, he’s looking at deploying e-signatures for even more HR processes, including forms for long leaves of absence, employment termination, and reference letters. That will allow Airbus to decommission other isolated document workflows and digital signature tools scattered across the HR department. At the same time, he has set his sights across the ocean, aiming to deploy Adobe Acrobat Sign for operations in Canada. His work will make more processes digital and further improve the employee experience worldwide.
And though he has no plans to slow down, Durand looks at his work with satisfaction. “Standardizing on a single enterprise e-signature solution for HR across four countries is a big accomplishment,” he says. “Given our size and scale, this is something that really benefits Airbus.”