It's easy to neglect human resources recordkeeping and personnel file maintenance, especially for employees who have been with the company for an extended period of time.
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But personnel files don't maintain themselves; a little maintenance could make a big difference in your ability to access current employee data and work records.
Although personnel forms filing falls to your designated HR staff, file updating is often buried beneath a laundry list of more urgent HR activities. To address the problem, it helps to designate someone as the official personnel forms "filer".
A personnel forms filer is tasked with archiving important employment documents in worker personnel files and conducting periodic file inventories to make sure all of your personnel files are current. Here are some of the questions your filer should ask themselves when they review individual personnel files.
Does the file contain the right documents?
There are certain documents that every personnel file should contain. Many of these documents will remain in the file throughout the duration of the worker's employment with your company. Initial hiring documents including the application form, job description and W-4 are standard. But you will the personnel forms filer will also want to make sure the folder contains all necessary written performance and evaluation documents as well as updated emergency contact information.
Are there any prohibited documents in the file?
Other types of records need to be excluded from personnel files. Medical records, drug test results and I-9s cannot be archived in the employee's personnel file. Instead, they should be archived in a separate, secure filing location. Files should also be scrubbed to remove any extraneous forms or information that is no longer useful for either HR or legal purposes.
Does the file reflect the employee's current status?
Personnel files should always reflect the employee's current status with the company. Warning and disciplinary letters that stipulate removal after a specified time period should be followed up on and expunged from files. Written contracts and employment agreements need to be reviewed to make sure they are the most current versions.
Is the file consistent with accounting and payroll files?
Consistency is key in employee recordkeeping. Individual personnel files need to exhibit consistency with the employee data located in your company's accounting and/or payroll departments. Train your personnel forms filer to monitor the accuracy of employee data using an employee database or other type of solution.