When COVID-19 forced many companies to shutter their physical office space and ask their staff to work from home, it changed the way we all do business. In today's increasingly digital world, Human Resources teams are sometimes left behind in the technological landscape and this can significantly impact how effective we can be in our roles.
With a remote workplace now the new norm for many, it begs the question - Is HR keeping up with the times? One critical component that comes up over and over again is: How to successfully manage employee files when you are not in the office. Does your HR file management strategy need an update? Here are a few key items to consider when looking for a solution.
Are you wasting time filing and finding documents?
A paper-based employee file can be nearly impossible to keep organized. A large employee count, rapid growth, or high turnover only make it more difficult. And with many HR professionals working from home, timely access to your files is a real issue.
Some companies start by utilizing an internal file share to access key files digitally. Unfortunately, there can be compliance problems when IT can see sensitive files. And, there is no real standardization to how documents are actually organized. Are things easy to find later when you really need them?
It can also be tempting to store documents in the existing HRIS or Payroll system. While many systems have the ability to "attach" documents to an employee profile, the process for uploading and the long-term management of these documents is extremely cumbersome. Many times you have to go one-by-one when uploading and downloading documents. Plus, there is no easy way to control access to files or to track which documents are missing across employees.
An indexed filing solution resolves these problems. Your documents are stored in a secure cloud for instant access from anywhere, at any time. Instead of just dropping files in a folder and hoping you can find them later, every single document is indexed. That means you can easily search to find it 2 or 10 years down the line. You can scan, upload, and retrieve documents quickly in batches instead of going one-by-one. And, best of all, HR can determine themselves exactly how things are labelled and organized, making it a quick and easy transition to a new system.
Is paper still slowing the HR team down?
The challenges of managing paper employee files are well known. But what if you currently have a large back log of paper in the filing cabinet? Receive paper documents regularly? Have a paper-based signature process? Look for a paperless filing solution to alleviate these problems.
Paperless HR solutions include scanning automation tools that work right with the filing system. Use these to take a shortcut through converting your paper files, instead of wasting time with the tedious traditional scanning process. Skip steps by scanning paper directly into your document cloud (instead of going to email or desktop first and then uploading separately). One of DynaFile's highlight features, for example, allows you to scan an entire folder at once and barcodes do all of the filing for you. Or, scan a stack of unrelated paperwork all together and easily break it out into different documents, for different employees, quickly from your computer screen.
To eliminate future hard copies, digital signatures can be used to replace pen-and-paper processes. Documents can be filled out and legally signed online, no matter where staff are located. After signature, documents are automatically filed in the employee's electronic folder. Some systems even include an API or Connector to receive documents that are generated in other systems like onboarding or HCM. Whatever solution you decide on, make sure it assists with a trend away from paper.
Does HR run into compliance issues with their files?
With so many requirements around the storage of sensitive employee information like PHI and PII, compliance is key for HR. Tracking documents for a large workforce and for tenured employees is a massive undertaking. How can you ensure folders include all required documents, that documents are up-to-date, and files are available quickly upon auditor request?
We mentioned earlier the importance of an indexed filing system for quickly finding documents. The index also makes it easy to solve compliance issues around restricting access to files and trac.... Instead of manually looking through folders, simply run a report. Audit reports can list missing documents and confirm what's in the folder. They can also show you a list of documents that will expire soon. That way, you always know you are ready for an auditor request.
When there is a request for files, make just the documents they need to see available to them remotely. Encrypted document links are a simple and secure way to get copies out to auditors, legal, corporate, management, or the teammate themselves.
For staff that need consistent access to documents, security roles can be created to design exactly what they can see in the system. For example, restrict access to sensitive documents like I-9, benefits, and medical. Or, provide limited views depending on responsibilities, like providing Payroll with access to just tax related documents. You can even give managers a view of certain documents for just their own employees. Not all companies get this specific, but the idea is to eliminate the majority of manual file requests that HR deals with on a daily basis - all while keeping the rest of the folder in compliance.
What is your deadline to upgrade?
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that we need to be prepared for new ways to tackle old responsibilities. Is your HR team ready for 2021? Making a big change like a filing system upgrade can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be...