Employee Record Retention Should be Limited To Essential Documents

by on July 6, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Employee history is a key component to employee record retention

So, let’s go through employee record retention in a categorical approach. What are the categories of personnel records you should keep? And as we go through these categories, I’m going to give you a little bit of an idea as to how they should be kept and whether they should be kept separately from other records.

The different types of categories that we’re going to cover here involve employee history, medical history and other documents that are unrelated to the job, Immigration Act form and documents related to investigations.

One of the common problems is that companies seem to keep too much documentation around. It’s easy to keep things, it seems to be harder to throw them out.

But you really need to identify, “What are the essential documents that you need to run your business and to operate your personnel functions and get rid of the other stuff.” You don’t want to be overwhelmed by all these papers so that your personnel files are becoming – are being measured in feet rather than inches.

It will be best if you could be measuring your employee record retention in sheets instead of inches. But anyway, the point here is that you want to exert some sort of control over what you’re keeping so that you’re not being completely snowed under by all of these.

The first category of employee record retention we’re going to look at is employee history. And whenever I’m talking about employee history, this is the traditional personnel file that often pops into your mind. These are documents related to job performance like promotions, performance appraisals, corrective action write-ups, things like that.

These are the items to which managers must have access in making on-going employment decisions. These are the things that you don’t have a problem showing the supervisor.

This will tell the supervisor whether an employee, who’s been – who has missed several days of work, needs to be terminated or whether their past performance justifies keeping them on. These are the documents that the supervisor is going to look at to say, am I going to promote employee A or employee B in this situation because of their past performance, because of their past attendance — things like that.

These are the things that aren’t going to give you heartburn if your supervisors know about them. However, as a point of caution, allowing a supervisor access to employee record retention documents that are not job related may expose the employer to complaints of discrimination.

Edited Remarks from “Personnel Document Retention: What to Keep, How to Keep It & Why It Matters” by Matt Gilley

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