Somewhat surprisingly, pulling and reviewing employee files might look the same today as it did 25 years ago for a lot of companies. Whenever an employee has an issue or is up for review, a manila file folder with the employee’s name on the tab is pulled out of a file drawer in the Human Resources (HR) department. Tax and legal documents as well as any paper records regarding work performance, notable accomplishments, disciplinary and termination issues are supposed to go into and remain in the file. That paper HR file is a disconnected silo of information until it’s manually pulled – sometimes unfortunately, for litigation purposes when employee and company have had a falling out.
What if some vital piece of information is neglected, left out, lost or worse; stolen from the file? With a paper system, you risk leaving all of your vital employee information incomplete, insecure and potentially corruptible. Further complicating matters, companies with multiple locations and satellite offices can have various bits of employee information in separate locations making records retrieval a time-consuming hassle. The bottom line here is that you need to digitize your employee files and bring your HR department forward into the digital age along with marketing, sales, accounting and other business operations.
In 2016, any company that employs people can benefit greatly by converting from a paper based employee file system to an all-digital human resources department. Digitizing your HR records and workflows gives you much better managerial insight into your teams and stronger protections against the occasional “bad apple” employee. There are many other good reasons to move from paper to secure, backed-up digital files so you can better manage the most valuable asset your company has – your people.
The HR department of today needs to embrace a digital-first strategy when it comes to employee documentation and it all starts with HR document scanning. You can dramatically improve the efficiency, not only of record keeping, but also the processing of information that can inform better decisions about hiring, retention, promotion, discipline and, if necessary, litigation.
Attorneys Daniel A. Schwartz and Ashley L. Marshall in their presentation at the 2016 Tri-State SHRM Conference “Building a Sustainable HR Legacy” provide a fine overview of what exactly constitute HR documents in most organizations. Essentially, everything related to hiring, the employment relationship and termination belong in the “personnel file.” Schwartz and Marshall break these documents down further for us as follows:
- Contact information
- Employment application
- Reference letters
- Job descriptions
- Compensation information
- Employment contract
- Signed acknowledgements
- Any signed agreements
- Non-compete, restrictive covenants, confidentiality, non-solicitation, etc.
- Performance reviews
- Discipline documentation
- Documentation of changes (contact info, salary, etc.)
- Training records
- New or amended agreements
- Periodic acknowledgments
- Insurance and benefits
- Payroll and tax status
- Letter of resignation
- Notice of termination or layoff
- Documentation of reasons for termination or layoff
- Exit interview notes
- Severance/separation agreement
- Trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements
- Continuing obligation letters
- COBRA benefits continuation notice
In the event of an audit, whether for performance, accounting, legal or any other reason, all required documentation is available within seconds or minutes instead of days. If for some unfortunate reason a disgruntled employee decides to sue your company, having a complete, accurate and detailed performance history will lower your exposure and give you a much stronger case if it must go to court.
Every executive and manager worth his or her salt will acknowledge the critical nature of keeping accurate and up-to-date records for every employee. With so many kinds of documents, many of them required for federal and state compliance, even small businesses have no choice but to digitize their HR information these days. Those who fail to digitize thoroughly risk losing their market positions to more electronically savvy competitors.
Show more respect for your team!
A company-wide approach to digitizing documentation offers your employees a better work experience by speeding up information flow as well as improving accuracy in record-keeping of job performance. Employees appreciate it when they are properly recognized for achievements. They also respond better to performance reviews when their company is paying close attention to their important role in the firm, made evident by a commitment to thoroughness and accuracy of all employee records.
Now can you see how dramatically your HR department and entire company can improve its records keeping, retention and information processing by going all digital? New England Document Systems provides complete Electronic Employee Records scanning, storage, information access and management solutions to make paper-to-digital conversion easy and fast.
We invite you to visit our HR Scanning – Electronic Employee Records page or simply give us a call if you have questions about dramatically improving your HR function through complete digitization at (603) 625-1171.