Every year, organizations define new initiatives and priorities for the next 365 days to improve their employees’ work life. Yet each year, as they try to put those priorities into action, many of their human resources departments waste hours upon hours physically searching for, scanning, and refiling employee documents by hand.

It’s never too late to resolve to save time and resources by moving beyond the constraints of paper in human resources.

The best way to reduce the administrative burden of employee file management and audit preparation is by storing documents electronically via an enterprise content management (ECM) system.

Digitally managing employee files frees staff to focus on the priorities that truly impact the employee experience, all while saving on the costs, time, resources, and risks associated with storing physical documents.

Here are Five Reasons Why Human Resources Needs ECM

1. Security

Companies of all sizes save hundreds of thousands of employee documents full of sensitive employee information. Storing that information on paper presents a huge security risk to both the company and individual employees.

ECM systems provide an extra layer of security over employee information by allowing you to control who on your HR staff can and cannot access employee files. Robust systems allow you to assign rights by role or function, including what types of documents and folders employees can view, create, and update.

Even if someone gained access via a stolen login, they would only be able to get to that particular user’s content. Additionally, document history functionalities provide an auditable trail of activity on each document.

2. I-9 Compliance

I-9 audits are much more prominent today than in previous years. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers guidelines for I-9 storage, including keeping a detailed index of all data so that any record can be immediately accessed. This ensures an audit trail of changes so you and auditors can access any alteration to a document. You also have the ability to implement controls to detect and prevent the unauthorized creation, alteration, or deletion of any form.

Managing your employee files with an ECM system helps you meet these USCIC guidelines and avoid the costly fees and fines of outdated documents and errors. ECM reporting tools can also determine what information is available and missing, and when coupled with archival and retention policy settings, automatically purge documents that are no longer needed.

3. Audit Preparedness

Audit letters can throw companies into a frenzied search for required documentation. Without preparation, manually combing through files, collating information for auditors, and searching for missing documents can take up many hours of your team’s time.

ECM systems reduce the stress of the audit process by helping you to always be prepared to provide auditors with what they need, when they need it. In addition to easy document search and retrieve capabilities, you also have the ability to run reports to proactively identify missing employee documents (e.g., whether you have an I-9 for every employee in the system) and quickly address those gaps.

The most powerful ECM systems even enable you to create temporary files and folders so auditors can directly access the information they need online without your team serving as the middleman. It’s a huge time saver for everyone involved.

4. Disaster Preparedness

Threats to your organization’s resources come in all shapes and sizes. If a flood, fire, or other natural disaster hits your organization, the impact of such an event could be catastrophic.

Think of all the files and sensitive information you store on paper for every employee in your company. What would happen if these vulnerable documents, and the employee information they contain, were compromised by a disaster?

ECM strengthens your organization’s disaster recovery and business continuity processes by ensuring you store your important documents and data within a centralized, protected system.

By managing your information electronically, you can easily duplicate copies of everything to off-site servers, ensuring that your data survives an event in any single location. Access to your data is available via a secure website as soon as people can get back online. This frees your IT staff to focus on getting your on-premises systems up and running.

Additionally, your ECM solution can be entirely hosted in the cloud. This way, your data is not tied to your physical location. In the event you need to abandon your premises, you retain continuous, uninterrupted access to everything you need.

5. Policy and Procedure Management

While files are increasingly being digitized, in many cases, company policy and procedure information is stored in an individual or shared network folder, or worse, on a staff member’s computer desktop. Without a central location to store this information, it becomes nearly impossible to efficiently manage the distribution of information to new and existing employees, provide visibility into what documents employees have or have not signed, and manage delinquencies.

ECM systems resolve these issues. Sophisticated systems have accurate document acknowledgement functions that allow you to see which employees have reviewed the required policy documents.

A word of advice: Be sure to select a system that includes easily configurable workflow software that automatically notifies employees (and other key stakeholders) when they are delinquent.

By automatically tracking policies and procedures for your entire staff, HR employees are free to focus on high-value tasks instead of worrying about renewing certifications, training, or other important issues.

If efficiency, security, and compliance are your top concerns, then equipping your HR department with an ECM system should be too.

LBMC Technology Solutions offers OnBase for enterprise content management. Our certified consultants recommend, implement, and support OnBase ECM to help HR departments save time and money and reduce risk. Contact us to learn more.