How to Improve HR Record Retention

Out of everything you must worry about in your daily business dealings, HR record retention shouldn’t be one of them, especially not with the federal guidelines and electronic-automation technology available today. Together these two systems outline and facilitate the proper handling of sensitive HR related documents.

Presently, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has reported that over half a billion private records have been exposed to the public in the past decade due to inefficient handling and negligence. Since this exposes personal information, any business caught, could be liable to lawsuits and fines. Below, you’ll find tips on how to bolster your HR record retention and other confidential files.

Security Begins in the Office

If the records-keeping in your office is still paper-based, the best way to improve security and efficiency is to switch to an automated document management system. The electronic nature of this storage format significantly cuts down storage space, while also adding levels of security to private information.

HR record retention can be kept safe by putting the documents behind a firewall and securing the documents with a password or authorization codes when being accessed. Additionally, when it comes time to destroy files, after the federally and company-mandated time periods, it is much easier to delete electronic files compared to physically shredding the files and hard copy documents. It is also much less expensive to destroy a hard drive vs. paying for rooms full of documents to shred and destroy.

How Long Should You Preserve Your HR Records?

If you visit the office buildings of older companies, you’ll see numerous file cabinets that can hold years or decades of files. Companies often hold on to files much longer than needed, despite the fact that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that most records can be discarded after a maximum of two to three years. The exact nature of the file dictates how long a company is responsible for maintaining access to records.

As these federal guidelines establish a minimum timeline for HR record retention, many companies often keep them for much longer than needed. This reason also tends to lead to the question: what if you need this file later? This is the most common reason why it’s imperative to move to an electronic document management format that minimizes the space required to store documents. Not only does this provide greater data security, but it makes disaster recovery and business continuity a more simplified process in the event of a catastrophe.

Cleaning House of Obsolete Files

This is something that should occur during the transition from hard copy to electronic format. Any files not required to be kept needs to be destroyed or scanned and moved to electronic format. If litigation is ever an issue, ensure your records are kept until after the issue has been resolved.

The Transition to Electronic Records

When transitioning your business to paperless files, a document management workflow will be required. Start by locating all your records so they’re all in one place. Then, implement policies to ensure all employees follow the steps in place for compliant and process efficiency, from there start the conversion.

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