Blog | HR |
10 Min Read
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December 1, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Employee Record Management

by Morris Isaacson

From payroll records to performance reviews, paperwork is a fact of life for HR departments, and these documents then need retaining, filing, organizing and even destroying when they’ve run their course. 

 

As your team grows, managing sensitive data can become more complicated — especially if you’re still relying on paper records.

 

If you’re not currently using employee record management software, it’s time to make the switch. The shift towards HR cloud-based solutions is set to reach $15.4 billion in the US in the next five years, as companies get more proactive in creating an employee-friendly workplace.

 

To help you navigate the topic and meet your employer obligations, we’ve put together this guide filled with the benefits of using employee management software, aspects to look for and the importance of accurate employee records.

 

Let’s get started with tracking employee records with ease. 

 

What is employee record management?

When you manage a team, you need to collect and store various sensitive documents that need to meet certain guidelines when stored. 

 

In the healthcare industry, examples of the types of personnel records you need to manage include:

  • Hiring documents
  • Incident reports
  • Safety and security records
  • Emergency contact details
  • Payroll records
  • Onboarding documents
  • Employment contracts
  • Salary, benefits and tax forms
  • Performance evaluations
  • Time sheets
  • Medical records
  • Employee complaints
  • Termination letters
 

 

Storing accurate employee records is a legal requirement, but having the right processes in place can also benefit how you organize and store sensitive documents in your healthcare practice. 

Keep in mind there are some documents that require higher levels of security than others. For example, drug test results, whistleblower complaints and court orders need storing with confidentiality in mind.

 

And there is certain information you shouldn’t keep in your personnel files. Anything unrelated to the role, such as your employee’s sexual orientation or ethnicity, shouldn’t make an appearance in your records.

 

Fortunately, technology is here to lend a helping hand, and employee record-keeping software is a game-changer for professionals in a range of settings, including home healthcare, skilled nursing, urgent care and rehabilitation. 

 

With this software, you can store and manage all of your essential employee data in one secure location.

 

Understanding your legal obligations

Managing sensitive employee documents comes with legal obligations. 

When you have hundreds of team members, safely storing these documents can be problematic. It’s vital that you understand your obligations in case there’s an issue or a regulatory audit.

 

There can be different rules between states, as well as national laws you need to follow. For example, New York, California, Illinois, and Washington all have their own laws. Because of this, you should always seek personalized legal advice before creating your policies.

 

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) affirms that all personnel files need keeping for at least one year. If the employee loses their role, the files need keeping for one year from the termination date.

 

Similarly, hiring documents such as job applications, resumes and background checks all need storing securely for at least one year. The EEOC also states you need to keep payroll records for at least three years.

 

 

When you use HR software, keeping track of these timelines is an easier process. Every digital file will have a date stamp, so you will never delete a file by mistake. 

 

To improve efficiency, you can also set up automatic deletion. When you’ve hit the minimum storage requirements, the system will remove files.

 

What happens after you terminate an employee?

These days, it’s not uncommon for employees to come and go. In August 2023, 5.7 million people in the US separated from their jobs — and this figure includes both terminations and quits.

 

Your obligations don’t end when your employees leave. Before you part ways, you need to offer an exit interview. During this session, your human resources (HR) team needs to share an exit document and answer any questions.

 

There may also be legal documents the exiting employee needs to sign. For example, nondisclosure agreements are common to protect sensitive company information. Once they’re signed, you need to store the document securely.

 

Having these documents accessible will ensure the exit process is professional and the information you provide is clear and accurate.

 

Even after you have shared personnel files with individual employees, you still need to keep them. If there is a future wrongful termination or discrimination complaint, these records can support your defense.

 

For example, you may have documentation of multiple warnings and disciplinary hearings before the termination of employment. These written records can prove there was a fair reason to let the employee go.

 

 

What are the benefits of employee record management software?

Ready to say goodbye to your paper documents and switch to a digital alternative? Making this transition comes with many benefits.

 

Improve engagement

Engaged team members perform better and have fewer sick days. In a recent survey, highly engaged workplaces reported an 81 percent difference in ‌absentee rates. They also reported a 14 percent spike in productivity.

 

There is a broad range of areas you can focus on to boost engagement, including motivational tools and goal setting. Professional software can be one piece of the puzzle.

 

Employees will be more engaged when they’re connected. The right employee record management platform will have collaborative features, which will benefit both in-person and remote healthcare workers.

 

Plus, your team will be more motivated when there’s a quick turnaround in information processing.

 

Manage time

Managing paper files can be time-intensive. When you go digital, you can cut down on repetitive tasks, such as printing documents and organizing filing cabinets.

 

Additionally, when you have dedicated software, it won’t take long for your team members to find the information they need. 

 

With 79 percent of workers feeling stressed in the workplace, there’s always a risk of burnout. Healthcare teams appreciate anything managers can do to simplify tasks, such as the following:

  • Software that can speed up your hiring process with a full suite of onboarding options.
  • New hires can log in to the platform and complete the orientation. Your company may have a list of requirements to tick off, such as uploading documents, signing contracts and completing online training modules.
  • You can pair your system with candidate screening software. With this simple feature, you can reduce the time you spend finding and interviewing people.
 


Save space

Without a digital solution, you can end up with boxes of paper records. You have obligations to keep these employee files, but fulfilling your commitments will take up physical space.

 

It makes sense to upload your documents to a database. Not only will you create more efficient workflows, but you also reclaim office space.

 

Of course, when you gain extra space, you will open up different opportunities. For example, you may use it to store equipment or create a new consultation room. Or you could get a smaller facility and reduce your monthly rent bill.

 

Enhance security

Even if you have good intentions, keeping paper documents secure can be challenging. You need to manage who can access the files, and there usually aren’t backup copies. If there’s an accident or emergency, the files may be lost.

 

Software can give you an extra level of security. If you store sensitive documents in the cloud, fires, floors or accidents in the workplace won’t impact them. 

 

The virtual documents are password-protected, and you can set up permissions. Users will only have access to the files they need. As a result, you can improve the confidentiality of private data, including social security numbers, disabilities and criminal history.

 

Mitigate compliance risk

We’ve already spoken about your legal obligations and how important it is to be compliant. One advantage of HR software is its ability to mitigate compliance risk.

 

Paper copies can be difficult to manage, and you can misinterpret information when you’re relying on handwritten notes. By uploading employee files to a dedicated management system, the risk of making a mistake reduces.

 

You can customize intelligent software to meet your compliance requirements depending on your state. 

 

For example, you can add dates to your files so you know exactly when to change their status. If a file type needs storing for a year, you can set it to delete once the period has ended.

 

Understanding the challenges of workforce management in healthcare

Healthcare, long-term care and home care workforces can be difficult to manage. While it’s a rewarding industry, there are a variety of challenges.

 

Staff members may feel overworked, and there’s a risk of burnout. You might hire new employees regularly, and training and certifications need updating.

 

How does HR software address these issues? You can improve employee satisfaction by:

  • Reducing repetitive tasks with automation
  • Streamlining your payroll processes
  • Onboarding team members virtually
  • Setting alerts for training renewal dates
  • Offering self-management tools
  • Securely storing sensitive employee files

 

These processes can improve retention rates in a healthcare environment.

What to look for in employee record management software

Not all software is the same, and there are a range of features to look for. Here is a rundown of what to keep on your inclusions list:

1. Employee database

Checking and updating staff documents should be a simple process with everything stored in one place.

 

Look for functions where you can input employees’ addresses, bank details, social security numbers and contracts. Your chosen system should make it effortless to input these details at the click of a few buttons and, ideally, compartmentalize departments to make it easier to access the data. You may also consider the option for employees to update specific details at their convenience. 

2. Automation

Your chosen software should automate different processes, including time management, payroll and time off. The right match will file your employee’s documents into a virtual directory, ready for when you need them.

 

When you use automation, your business can be more organized, helping to save you time in administration tasks. Because it’s digital, you can minimize errors and update information in real time.

 

Is there a missing document? Automation can be set up to send notifications and reminders.

3. Training management

Next is training management — a feature included in some employee record management systems.

 

In the healthcare industry, your team members may need certain certifications and training related to the job. For example, basic life support and CPR certifications need renewing at regular intervals. Look for a solution that creates an alert when these are due to expire. 

 

When you hire new staff, you can offer them a virtual training program that teaches them about company policies and procedures. This feature streamlines the orientation process and will get your new employees off to a good start — improving morale from the first day.

 

By keeping track of training and offering opportunities to learn, you get a team that is highly skilled and supported.

4. Time off management

In healthcare, home care and long-term care settings, there can be hundreds of staff to manage. Shifts may not be traditional 9–5 hours, and workers can have individual agreements, depending on their job title and availability.

 

When your HR department has to juggle requests for time off, it can add to an already full workload.

 

The good news is that HR software can take the pressure off. These solutions ‌can streamline your leave and time-off processes. 

 

You can automate approval for leave so you’re never short-staffed again.

 


5. Security

Those in the health industry will already follow Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws when dealing with patient information. While these specific federal requirements don’t cover employee records, the data you collect and store is still sensitive.

 

The platform needs to have advanced security options to protect your business and your personnel. Key features to look for include:

  • Password protection
  • Encryption
  • User permission controls
  • Access history and reporting

You should also update the software regularly. Tech is ever-changing, and security patches and updates are important if you want to protect your sensitive data. 

When the software provider invests in the platform, they’ll be more likely to keep it updated.

6. Performance tracking

Want to keep track of how well your employees are performing? It doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Your record management software can give you an overview of each team member.

 

You can store copies of performance reviews, attendance records, disciplinary action and incident reports. This information can build a picture of each employee and provide ‌insights into how you can best support them. 

 

For example, software can alert a manager if a staff member is regularly late for work. If you do need to dismiss an employee, these documents can be evidence to justify the termination. 

 

Tracking performance isn’t always about discipline. Sometimes, individuals will stand out for all the right reasons. If a team member has gone above and beyond, records can support a case for promotion.

7. Collaboration

In a busy healthcare setting, there can be large teams to oversee. Relying on one employee to manage the entire record-keeping process can be counterproductive.

 

The right platform should be accessible to multiple staff members. Files require updates in real time so the information is accurate — regardless of who logs in.

 

Despite this, your record management software should also include advanced user permissions with different security levels, so you can decide who has access to the most sensitive data. 

 

For example, those in senior management positions would have a higher clearance than general administrative staff. While a receptionist may have access to an employee’s phone number, they probably have access to view their disciplinary records.

8. Support

The platform you choose should be easy to navigate. However, even if it’s user-friendly software, there may be times when you need support.

 

Before you make a commitment, check to see if the company has multiple ways to connect, such as support via phone, email and live help. 

 

Whether it’s a billing query, tech issue or general advice, you should never have to wait weeks for a response. A resource library with tutorials, videos, documentation and troubleshooting tips will also save you time.

 

Remember, demos or free trials will give you a taste of the platform so you can decide if it’s a good fit for your organization. When you try before you buy, you can ask questions to make sure you have all the features on your wishlist. 

 

Empeon comes with all of these features and more. The software is customizable and built for leaders who want a simple, innovative and efficient solution.

 

Training your team to use employee record management software

When you introduce new software, there can be a learning curve. Turning paper files into digital ones won’t happen instantly, and even the most user-friendly platforms take time to master.

 

 

Even though it can be daunting, making the switch can save you time and money in the long term. When you automate repetitive tasks and make important personnel documents accessible, you can improve the efficiency of your healthcare team.

 

 

Don’t expect your staff to work it out on their own. Consider hosting a training session and sharing step-by-step instructions. Make sure a senior team member is available to answer any questions.

 

 

The Empeon HR software is simple to use. There are a range of free resources to support the transition and ongoing use of the software.

 

 

For example, Empeon offers a series of:

 

  • Video tutorials
  • Documentation
  • Forms
  • Release notes
 

Clients can also take advantage of live training by completing the request form. Of course, there is always personalized support available when you need it.

 

By offering your employees a range of learning resources, they can find the answers they need and get the most from the platform.

 

Supporting a flexible workforce

Even if you rely on an in-person healthcare workforce, some of your team members may have flexible work arrangements. You may offer telehealth appointments or to undergo administrative tasks from home. Plus, in some settings, employees travel between patients.

 

The trend toward hybrid and remote roles isn’t going to end any time soon. By 2025, 32.6 million people in the US will work remotely, which is around 22 percent of workers.

 

If you want to be competitive and attract the best candidates, you need to stay ahead of the game. Investing in technology will support a flexible workforce, giving them all the tools they need for the job.

 

From employee record keeping to incident reporting to tax management, cloud-based software is useful for employees in any location. They can work seamlessly together and log in with a strong password — on the go.

 

The Empeon app also comes with geo-location tracking and scheduling features, which leadership teams can use to manage flexible and remote workplaces.

 

Why employee record management software makes sense

Healthcare, LTC, and home care employers can manage workforces of all sizes. To meet your obligations, you need to have retention policies for all your employee records.

 

Storing employment contacts, employee medical records and other printed documents for years can take up storage space. Filing, accessing and updating information can be problematic and time-consuming for busy staff.

 

Transferring your data to a cloud-based solution is a smart move. Not only will you save physical storage space, but you get the advantage of a secure platform. When you choose the right software, you can create a collaborative virtual storage space with permissions and passwords.

 

Automation is the key to streamlining your processes, and you can say goodbye to repetitive tasks. 

 

Ready to dive in? Empeon has everything you need to efficiently manage your employee documents. Discover our employee record-keeping solution.


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