This video tutorial covers the importance of documentation in human resources, where to file personnel documents, and how to guide managers and supervisors in documenting performance. HR professional consultant and trainer Catherine Mattice explains how to store documents from the hiring process and she offers tips on getting started.
- As an HR manager, you get to help drive your organization's success by helping your team be the best they can be and sometimes driving your organization's success is all about compliance. That's where documentation comes in. HR is the record keeper of employee performance, advancement, career development, discipline, benefits, bonuses, and everything in between. I hate to say it, but in the end, the purpose of all that documentation is to protect your organization from liability. If an employee fills a suit against you for violation of any employment laws, the corner stone of that case will be your documentation.
Now, you can always try to convenience yourself that a suit would never happen to your company. Everyone loves working there, you all get along, the CEO is awesome, and there's just no way someone would ever do that. You could say the same thing about wearing your seat belt when you drive, that you'll never get in an accident, but we all know that car accidents happen every day so wear your seat belt and be a thorough and consistent documenter of all things HR. There are many state and federal laws about what, how, and where you should document.
So I can't provide you with all of the rules, but I can give you some guidance. Of course, when you begin the process of hiring a new employee, the documentation begins. You must keep all of the resumes you receive and the interview notes from that round of hiring just in case someone who wasn't hired claims you discriminated against them. Several federal laws indicate you should keep those documents for one year, but some states have their own number. I suggest five, especially if it's all electronic why get rid of them at all? Once you've made the hire, then the employee will fill out and sign many documents such as, the I9, W4, confidentiality form, and acknowledgement of receipt of the corporate policy handbook on their first day.
Know that not all of the employee's information belongs in a single personal file. Mostly because content is confidential from supervisors and managers. Any drug test or background check results should be kept in their own file, one for each employee. I9s should be kept together in their own folder and separate payroll files for each employee will include W4s, state withholding forms, garnishments, and time keeping records. Employee personnel files will include all of the hiring documents such as applications, resumes, and transcripts.
Personnel files will also include records relating to job offers, promotions and demotions, compensation, and training. Any kind of acknowledgement of receiving policies and any documentation about performance, disciplinary actions, and termination will also go in the personnel file. You should not be on your own when it comes to documentation. You're managers and supervisors should be trained and encouraged to document both good performance and performance issues. Free flowing communication about performance is important to your organization's success and documentation about this communication is vital.
Obviously managers won't document every time they say good job to someone or every time they ask Sue to try to be on time, but encourage them to keep some notes on these things when it makes sense they should log achievements and problems. When they talk to employees about their performance they should document it in some way whether by sending you an e-mail or putting a note in a file in their own computer. Advise your managers and supervisors that specific detailed documentation is much better than subjective or evaluative comments.
Judy did not finish the report she was assigned on time, it was due June 10 but she turned it in on June 30 is much better than Judy's work was late. Finally managers and supervisors and you, must remember to document issues consistently. Consistency is one of your shields against lawsuits. When in doubt, document. If you're confused by all of the who, what, when, where, and why regarding documentation, you're not alone. Use your employment law attorney as a support and there are many resources online too.
A good place to start might be the society for human resources management at shrm.org, or search online for a checklist regarding your states documentation requirements.
HR consultant Catherine Mattice outlines some of the considerations of the human resources professional, such as balancing the needs of employees with the interests of the organization. She reveals how to conduct an HR audit to identify HR practices that need improvement. She then outlines core HR responsibilities: staffing, training, documentation, compensation and benefits, performance reviews, job descriptions, compliance with state and federal regulations, and more.
- Building trust with employees
- Conducting an HR audit
- Classifying employees
- Setting up compensation and benefits
- Creating and enforcing company policies
- Writing job descriptions
- Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees
- Managing employee performance
- Training employees
- Disciplining employees