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Understanding the Importance of Document Management in HR

By Jori Hamilton


Image Source: Pixabay

December 28 2022 - Human resources (HR) professionals have a lot on their plates. They’re tasked not only with recruiting and managing talent, but also with ensuring employees’ well-being without compromising the company’s goals and objectives.

That can be a profoundly difficult balance to strike, but with strategy and know-how, it can be done. And, when it comes to navigating employee and organizational needs, one of an HR pro’s most important tools is effective document management. Indeed, the way you handle company files, from personnel records to tax information to profit and loss data, will go far in driving efficiency, security, and performance throughout your organization.

Document Organization and Efficiency

No matter how large or small your company, odds are your business generates massive volumes of data, correspondence, and other materials every day. These materials often come in both paper and digital forms, which only amplifies the amount of content you must strive to keep pace with day in and day out.

If you don’t have a robust, reliable, and comprehensive system for organizing and archiving your paper and electronic documents, you’re pretty much borrowing trouble. Failure to organize company documents properly can lead to a vast array of problems, including poor customer service, job redundancies, and worker errors. This can result in significant losses in efficiency, productivity, and revenue.

Document Management and Security

Managing your documents effectively is more than ensuring they’re organized and accessible to employees whenever and wherever they may need them. Document management is also strongly correlated to one of HR’s biggest challenges now and in the uncertain economic future - the challenge of ensuring the company’s data security.

Document management must include defining and instituting strategies for controlling access to your organization’s sensitive data. This might involve granting document access only to authorized personnel who are bound to adhere to specified security practices.

One of the most important job functions of an HR manager is to determine how sensitive the data contained in a document really are. From there, the HR leader will assess who should have access and under what conditions. Thus, the HR manager may determine that authorized personnel be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before being granted permission to access the materials.

In addition, it is not uncommon for documents to contain information of varying levels of sensitivity. This often means that personnel will have a legitimate work-related need for some of the information contained in the documents but should not be authorized to view all of the content in the document. In such cases, technology such as Adobe Acrobat’s PDF editing tool can enable HR managers to easily redact classified content from PDF files while still allowing access to the other less sensitive material contained in the document.

Making a Management Plan

As has already been seen, effective document management is crucial to an organization’s overall efficiency, productivity, and data security. However, given the enormous amount of materials companies produce and the speed at which they produce it, managing your business documents successfully is no mean feat.

To make it happen, you need an informed, systematic, and comprehensive data management plan. One of the first and most important elements of effectuating that plan is through robust employee training. You should begin with the onboarding process, ensuring that every new hire has a thorough understanding of the what, why, and how of document management in your organization. This training should then be reinforced with refresher training for all employees at least once a quarter.

Preparing for the refresher training sessions is also a great opportunity to review and update your document management processes as well. After all, your organizational needs will evolve, and your management strategies need to evolve with them.

The good news, though, is that once you have defined your document management strategy, implementing your management plan isn’t terribly difficult. One of the best things you can do is invest in a good document management system to help expedite and, where possible, to automate your document management processes.

The kinds of HR tech you use will depend very much on the size of your organization and the types of documentary materials you want to manage. BambooHR, for instance, is an ideal cloud-based system for mid-sized organizations and can support a range of HR functions, from payroll management (and record-keeping) to internal data collection, storage, and analytics.

There are also several robust and reliable systems designed for smaller organizations, including the Gusto payroll system. And if you’re needing a more robust platform for a larger enterprise, tools such as Workday, Oracle, and Salesforce are terrific options.

The Takeaway

The work of an HR professional is, first and foremost, an employee-focused endeavor. But to keep your organization operating smoothly, efficiently, and securely, you are going to need a plan to manage the immense amounts of data and enormous quantities of paperwork, both digital and hard copy, generated every day.

Without effective document management, you risk unnecessary errors and productivity and efficiency losses. And your customers, employees, and stakeholders may well pay the price. This might include anything from creating a subpar customer experience because employees can’t access the information they need for their work to exposing the company to financial and legal liability due to lost or stolen data. Fortunately, with the right technology and a good plan, you can organize, store, and secure your company’s documents with both confidence and ease.

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About the author

Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, recruitment, HR, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and Contently.


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