3 Steps to Improve Employee Records Management

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3 Steps to Improve Employee Records Management

By Wendy Wolk Ryan - 07/17/2019

Spending less administrative time managing employee records is something any retailer can get behind, but the reality is that many businesses make it more challenging than it needs to be.  The problems start with the fact that many retailers have much of their employee documentation still located in clunky paper file folders that are not in an easily accessible central location, and the processes for digitizing and securely storing those documents seems overwhelming.

For retailers ready to step up their records management game, here are three ways they can start evolving how employee records are managed to be more efficient, effective and compliant with federal, state, local and company HR regulations and policies.

Before getting started with digital transformation, retailers first need to determine a retention schedule.  There are a number of legal requirements for recordkeeping and they differ from state to state and by the number of employees. As retailers transition to digital documents, they must keep in mind the proper retention period for employee-related documents and consult with their attorney for specifics. With this knowledge in hand, it is now time to get started.

1. Understand Your Current Paper Processes First

The journey to improved employee records management starts with assessing what documents a retailer has, what they need and how they use them.  Active employee documents living in folders, drawers and file cabinets create potential security issues and workflow inefficiencies.


To achieve a fully digitized, centrally accessible system of HR records management, retailers must start by identifying where their paper records are being stored now and how they are being generated and make a plan for how they’ll transition them to a digital format and a centralized digital platform. The first step is to scan or capture paper documents, but it is essential that it be done the right way.

2.  Create systems for naming and organizing documents


Before physically scanning documents, retailers need to take the time to establish a single, agreed-upon structure to guide how documents will be indexed and classified. Regardless of the ultimate digital solution that is selected, it is necessary to upload files in a consistent way that complies with pre-defined information governance policies. Following these information governance policies and procedures upfront will greatly benefit the retailer during the digitization process and going forward.

While some retailers begin the scanning process without a specific document management software solution in mind, many choose to incorporate a technology solution at the start of the process to help automate assigning unique identities/naming for documents early on.

3. While in the digitization process, keep important items accessible


The document digitization process doesn’t happen overnight, and managers and business leaders will still need access to records during the transformation process. To avoid problems if a quick response is needed for immigration audits, legal actions or other inquiries, retailers need to plan ahead for how paper and/or digital records will remain accessible during the digital transition.   

As a next step, retailers need to move employee records to a central digital cloud-based solution where they can be easily stored, searched and retrieved by the appropriate staff members.  Moving employee records to a central, cloud-based solution brings a range of benefits including improved information security, reduced work time spent on physically locating particular files, and less exposure risk from audits and legal actions.  

Embarking on a digital transformation process is a major undertaking for HR, IT and other related teams and is particularly challenging for companies without fully digital HR departments.  Fortunately, technology solutions can help automate the effort and make it easier for HR teams to efficiently address these issues.  Many retailers are having success using employee document management software in concert with scanning and offsite storage services to make employee records easier to manage, access, and monitor for compliance and retention.  With a solid game plan, including workable steps like these, retailers can start realizing the benefits that improved employee records management will bring to their business.

-Wendy Wolk Ryan, senior product manager, Access

Wendy Ryan has 11 years of experience delivering industry leading HR software. Before joining the Access CartaHR team as Senior Product Manager, Wendy managed HR software solutions for companies including IBM, Kenexa, Salary.com and Vitals Solutions. At Access, Wendy has been working on ways to let HR professionals spend more time on people and strategy through transforming the CartaHR document management platform into command central for critical HR documents and processes. Her work on rich integrations, security and audit trails, and compliance features benefit HR teams by saving them time and money.