The Importance of Documentation in Human Resources

Close up on a file tab with the word employees plus a note with the text sick leaves, blur effect at the background. Concept image for illustration of sick leave entitlement.

Human resources in a company is vital. These representatives are responsible for documenting all crucial information pertaining to the company and its employees.

Every business has documents that must be legally kept for about five years – where are you currently storing your files and are they in a safe place? If you do not have an effective document management system in place, now’s the best time to do so.

If your company has a human resources department, keeping those records safe is critical.

What is typically documented by HR representatives?

One can say that the company’s history, present and future is often managed by a few members of a business. These individuals are legally required to record all positive and negative documentation about employees. These include and are not limited to:

  • Lifeline of employees – their signed contracts, copies of their personal information
  • Disciplinary actions taken against employees and termination of employment
  • Any complaints made against employees
  • Discrimination and harassment complaints
  • Promotions and demotions
  • Training provided to employees

The documentation recorded is based on facts and not to discriminate or judge an employee in any way.

Why is the safekeeping of these documents necessary?

Should the need arise for an investigation within the organisation, or if an employee is facing disciplinary action, these documents would be necessary to defend or back up any claims made in the investigation.

Human resources would step in to record this information based on when they happen – this is especially necessary when testifying in an investigation.

Depending on the size of an organisation, HR deals with hundreds or thousands of documents in a given month. Just as it is vital to keep a record of original documents, having an online backup copy is necessary should the original hard copy be lost or stolen in very rare cases. Data capturing this confidential information is vital to keep them safe. The Document Warehouse uses special FileRite© Software which is highly effective in managing data capturing, document scanning and makes retrieving documents simple and easy. Its user-friendly interface makes it a pleasure to use and allows companies to track their physical records using unique barcodes. These barcodes provide updated information on a document’s lifecycle and provide alerts that notify you when a document has been added, removed, updated, or sent to an offsite location for easy retrieval.

How long should these documents be kept?

Records are to be kept safe and accessible at all times. For Payroll purposes, the South African Revenue Services (SARS) requires that documents are kept for up to five years from the date of the last entry. These documents must also be available upon request for inspection at any given time during the five years by SARS and UIF officials. After five years, you are free to dispose of them, just ensure that you do so safely as you do not want private information landing in the wrong hands.

Consider document shredding to safely dispose of any documents, hard drives or CDs after the time period has lapsed. One of the other advantages is that the shredded paper can be recycled – a kinder, safer environment.