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How To Organize Employee Files

March 13, 2019

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Every business must keep accurate employee records to stay in compliance with provincial and federal laws. While larger businesses can have human resources departments to organize and maintain employee personnel files, smaller businesses should know how to organize employee files too.

When you need to find certain information, it can get costly if documents have been lost or are difficult to find. On the other side of the spectrum, you don’t need to keep documents around forever.

5 Employee File Organization Tips

If your business is very small, you may be able to simply maintain separate file folders with all the paper records for each employee. As you grow, you can use the following tips to make sure your employee records remain well organized.

  1. Protect Personal Data – This should be part of every consideration in managing your employee files. Keep paper documents under lock and key with controlled access. That said, you must give every employee access to his or her files as requested.
  2. Three Types of Records – Generally, there are three main types of employee files. Employee medical records, payroll records and personnel files, like job applications, performance evaluations and records of disciplinary actions.
  3. Set Up a Record Retention Schedule – Nothing makes organizing your file more difficult than having more document to organize than are necessary. Here are just a few of the different retention periods required for different records.
    • Resumés and job applications – one year
    • Performance reviews – two years
    • Termination records – one year from termination
  4. Standardize Forms – Standardizing forms can help make organizing documents easier, and make the information on the document more accurate. Consider using standard forms for performance evaluations, disciplinary actions and salary revisions and holiday requests.
  5. Set-Up a Formal Document Storage System – Records boxes stacked in a back room can be difficult to sort through if you have to find something in a hurry, like a medical file. Create a dedicated space and use a formal records management system.

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