HR Challenges, HR Solutions and Records Management
Managing employees requires skill -- managing employee records requires time.
Employee record keeping is one of the most cumbersome processes in your organization – especially if you’re trying to maintain all of your employee records in paper form. Even small businesses are required to comply with Federal, state and local requirements for maintaining personnel records, which means a lot of paper.
Here are some examples:
- The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations require that employers keep all personnel or employment records for one year. If an employee is involuntarily terminated, his/her personnel records must be retained for one year from the date of termination.
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) record-keeping requirements, employers must also keep all payroll records for three years. Additionally, employers must keep on file any employee benefit plan (such as pension and insurance plans) and any written seniority or merit system for the full period the plan or system is in effect and for at least one year after its termination.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must keep payroll records for at least three years. In addition, employers must keep at least two years all records (including wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements) that explain the basis for paying different wages to employees of opposite sexes in the same establishment.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) also imposes privacy obligations on many employers who provide group health plans. Under HIPAA, employers are required to protect the privacy of employees' personal health-related information by designating an in-house privacy official, adopting policies and procedures to keep this information private, and notifying employees of their privacy rights, among other things.
In addition, employers will keep employment tax records, leave records, training and development records and schedules, employee appraisal and review records, health and safety records and service records that contain bio-data such as: residential and family information, academic qualifications, marital status, past address and employment records. Some state laws also require special protections for employee medical records. These laws may limit the way such records can be used or the people who can view them.
Add to this cumbersome list of paper records the fact that you should treat all personnel files as private records belonging to you and your individual employees. Just anyone in your company should not be allowed to sift through the files containing performance evaluations, salaries, and job applications of coworkers.
As digital technologies have advanced, many HR departments have turned to digital solutions for management of their HR records. Initially, this meant creating employee databases, which, while digital, were nearly as cumbersome to use and maintain as paper records. Anyone who has ever had to do “data entry” will understand.
The challenge has been use technology efficiently. The complexities of HR require more than just information storage. Automation of the processes surrounding the information and assurance of timely compliance with all legal issues and reporting requirements is highly required.
Digital and Automated
By scanning your paper HR files to digital images and incorporating any existing digital records into a single information management system, you can ensure that all of your Human Resource records are safe and easy to access.
An Electronic Content Management (ECM) system can track document access, enable quick document searches, ensure timely compliance with regulations and automate workflows. The end result brings your business tightly controlled HR processes, assured compliance and records privacy with fewer internal resources. Easily measured metrics allow you to track the results.
Take it to the Cloud
Go one step further and take your ECM to the Cloud. Cloud-based data access means 24/7 access, no additional hardware, software or IT personnel, and disaster recovery protection, so your HR records are safe, accessible and backed-up. Most companies find that the monthly subscription fee for a SaaS/Cloud HR ECM system, more than pays for itself in savings over the use of an internally hosted ECM or an outdated paper system.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November, 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.