Documentation. A Universal Challenge for HR

Documentation A universal challenge for HR

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Travel log from Anaheim’s Employment Law Conference

At the 8th Annual Employment Law Seminar September 13th in Anaheim, there was one message consistent across all the speakers’ presentations.  HR Documentation.

Of course, we all know how important documentation is, especially for HR.  However, there were several details presented I thought interesting to share.

Organizing the HR paper trail

For interactions with employees, especially when there are issues that need to be addressed, it’s important to document what happened and when, including any details, any conversation notes, and who else may have been involved.  Pretty much anything you can think of.  But then, also send a confirmation to the employee summarizing.  Not necessarily with all the detail, but just the basics so there is agreement of what just transpired.  And, you need to do this process consistently.  We know this for corrective action, but it also applies long before you get to that stage in the process.  Having documentation to share once you get to those later stages with a solid history of communication about an issue will go a long way to prove your case.  Having an easy and consistent way to capture those notes as records, and even communicate to the employee with workflow, is where an HR document management system can help.  Especially with reminders for follow up that can be set automatically, taking a burden off your mind.

Finding HR files when you need them

In California, employees can request their entire personnel folder 45 times in a month! I can only imagine what kind of challenge that imposes for a company with paper records.  Even if you only need to do it once.  For this, or for any legal discovery request, being able to do a virtual search of everything related to an employee, quickly preview documents to make sure what should be included, and then saving to a storage device to ease transfer would certainly be faster than copying page after page out of a folder – or multiple folders.  Here too, a digital system for employee file management will help.

Keeping HR records for the needed length of time

Providing records from years ago was another challenge discussed in Anaheim.  It’s extremely important to keep documents related to any incidents from the past that may become a legal issue in the future.  Being able to find those documents if they are archived in off site storage, and when you may or may not know what box they reside in, adds an extra layer of difficulty.  In order to insure records are not destroyed that might be needed in future, some companies simply keep everything.  But that multiplies the challenge of finding what you need in a timely manner.  Not to mention the costs.  Searching on the content of digital records – and having automatic record retention policies determined by the type of record can make this headache disappear.

The Anaheim conference offered a full-day’s agenda with speakers on a range of topics in Human Resources, and HR documentation was a recurring theme. I was thrilled with the conversations I had about HR file management and ways to securely manage employee records while at the same time easing the filing and retrieval of HR files. I’m looking forward to the 9th Annual Employment Law Seminar in Anaheim in 2020!



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