Employee HR Forms: Maintenance & Processing

Instructor: A. Casey Carr-Jones

Casey Carr-Jones holds a Bachelor's degree in English & Psychology. She is currently a PHR-certified Human Resources Consultant.

There are numerous documents that a human resources department must maintain for each staff member. This lesson provides an overview of different ways HR can maintain employee records.

So Many Documents - Where Do They Belong?

HR generalist Jane has just completed orientation training for five new hires. As they leave the room, each places a packet of onboarding documents into her hands. Struggling to carry the weight of the large pile, Jane stumbles to her office and drops the stack onto her desk, but secretly wonders if she can just pitch the pile into the garbage can.

Instead, she sits down and begins processing the paperwork. Applications, benefits enrollment forms, nondisclosure agreements--sometimes human resources professionals may feel buried under the sheer number of documents they need to maintain. In this lesson, we will discuss pre-employment records and employee records as well as tips for maintaining these documents.

HR personnel are responsible for maintaining many employee documents.
Pile of Paper

Pre-Employment Records

Pre-employment records are documents like resumes and applications that are crucial for the recruiting process. Of course you'll need them when interviewing and selecting candidates, but what next? There may not be any additional processing steps aside from the general review, so these documents may be filed away and not accessed frequently.

Because some state and federal laws mandate certain retention requirements (and your own company may have its own records retention policy), you cannot just discard items right away. These documents are a perfect example of something that can be stored electronically so that they are not taking up physical space and are easy searchable for new open positions.

Some HR departments use a shared folder that all HR personnel can access. As an alternative, some companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage their candidate database. This involves scanning resumes into the system or having candidates apply through the ATS to help with organization and recruiting workflow.

Employee Records

Employee records are a little different. We'll start by talking about the personnel file, which contains general employment information like compensation records and forms, attendance history, and other related job history documents. As you can imagine, confidentiality is key. If you are storing these files physically, they must be in a secure, locked cabinet.

If the files are electronic, they should have the proper data security features (for example, limited access from other staff members). PDF files may be kept on a company's network, or a company may use electronic solutions, like a human resources information system (HRIS). HRIS is an online administrative system that centralizes employee, benefits, payroll, and budget data. Processing employee records typically involves a review for completion and accuracy and then data entry into either an HRIS system or a payroll system.

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