Data Management

Manage Digital Employee Records in a Unified System of HR Data

Paper is still prevalent as a medium for employee records and HR data. Digitizing and organizing those records has big benefits.

Human Resources has a paper problem. According to a recent industry survey, just 12% of organizations store all of their employee files electronically — and only 4% of HR departments are entirely digitized! 

Why has there been so little progress on the digital transformation of HR? After all, paper records bring with them many risks and inefficiencies:

  • They take up a lot of space to store
  • Paper can be damaged or lost
  • Physical records are cumbersome to move
  • Hard copies reduce access to and shareability of information
  • It’s harder to keep paper documents secure

Digital records, on the other hand, can easily be encrypted, shared, accessed from anywhere, preserved forever, and made tamper-proof. HR processes are at their most effective and efficient when digital HR data and employee records are kept on a unified document management system. 

Let’s take a closer look at the value of this approach to managing digital employee records.

Debunking common myths about paper records

A transition to a digital system can be a big change that requires buy-in from all HR personnel. You can help foster support for a digital approach by addressing common misconceptions about the value of keeping those filing cabinets.

  • “We need to hold onto paper records just in case.”In most cases, scanned records can be safely discarded as long as you’re remaining compliant with federal and local requirements. Properly organized digital HR data is instantly searchable, can’t be misplaced or lost, enables remote access, and can be more easily shared across multiple locations than physical paperwork on an office desk. 
  • “Physical records are more secure.” Cloud-based document management platforms with modern cybersecurity in place are far more secure than a drawer or filing cabinet.
  • “I might need to have a paper copy.” It’s not likely that you’ll be put into a context where only a physical copy is acceptable, but even if you were, you could always print it out.
  • “Digital employee records aren’t as official for audits and compliance.” This is a major misconception. Even an audit from the Department of Labor will accept digital records as documentation. Privacy and retention requirements remain the same, regardless of whether the files are paper or electronic.

The truth is that digital employee records, when stored in a single overarching system of HR data, are more secure, more convenient, and easier to present for audits or regulatory compliance.

One system of truth for HR data and record retention

Regulations mandate that you retain old records until their retention period has passed. But what if your inactive records from past employees haven’t been digitized yet? Are they geographically scattered across different offices, buildings, or even in different cities? Are they costing you square footage to store as the records pile up?

HR workers have also been shown to waste about 30-40% of their time searching for papers stored in filing cabinets. Unstructured digital files can cause a runaround, too, if the data is retained in emails, spreadsheets, and disparate software systems.

A unified, cloud-based document management platform solves these issues by ensuring that you don’t have documents all over the place if an employee moves offices. There is just one system where all employee records are created, retained, and can be quickly looked up.

A digital HR strategy boosts productivity

With a modern digital system in place, your organization will not only have more secure and durable records, but you’ll be able to take advantage of HR automation technology. Automation streamlines low-grade, time-consuming administrative tasks and takes work off of the plates of your HR employees to give them greater capacity.

Getting a digital system in place is also the first step toward Intelligent Data Management in HR. Digitized documents and a properly organized, single system to store them opens up opportunities for your organization to:

  • Work from anywhere
  • Fight discrimination
  • Refine recruitment
  • Analyze employee engagement
  • Better retain talent

You can read more about the HR-specific applications of Intelligent Data Management here

Connect with an expert

If you’re looking for solutions to digitize old records or integrate your paper and digital documents into a unified system, we invite you to explore the features and benefits of the Scan-Optics HR Harmony suite. It’s never too early to get smarter with the management of digital employee records and HR data. Helping organizations perform better, smarter, is why we do what we do! Connect with a digitization expert today.

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