Imagine a large organization with rows and rows of filing cabinets lining the walls. Now, imagine a small HR department trying to manage all these employee documents while also responding to frequent internal and external audit requests (often at the same time). Sounds exhausting, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not all that uncommon.

In fact, one AIIM surveyed revealed that several document types are still heavily processed as paper documents, including:

  • 35% of recruiting and selection documents.
  • 48% of employee onboarding documents.
  • 53% of employee file management documents.
  • 32% of policies and procedures administration documents.
  • 48% of employee separation documents.

When it comes to large organizations that are still steeped in paper processes, HR professionals are often overwhelmed, under-resourced and drowning in requests from both internal and external parties. They are wasting up to two entire days each week on unnecessary paperwork! And, as more organizations look to HR to play a strategic role in talent acquisition, onboarding, training and other critical HR functions, it’s clearer than ever that paper processes are holding HR departments back from more strategic work.

Often, the problem lies in the fact that many HR departments can only react when it comes to audits. They don’t feel confident that all their employee files are complete and the required documents take too much time to locate. When it comes to sharing confidential documents securely, they do not have the tools that ensure their information is properly protected from breach or exposure.

What HR needs is a proactive approach to storing employee documents compliantly. Here are three key steps to becoming your HR team’s audit hero:

1. Invest in digital capture and monitoring.

Your team should never have to ask the question, “Do we have that employee’s I-9?” A proactive HR department is confident that the I-9 in question, as well as all other employee documents, exist, are complete and secure. How?

When it comes to feeling confident, technology is your friend. A purpose-built HR technology solution makes monitoring compliance easy. When all your employee documents are kept in physical paper files, one or several people must manually check on retention schedules and ensure that every document is up-to-date. With a digital solution, your files are automatically scanned and monitored. When a document is incomplete or about to expire, the system will alert you before it’s too late.

Your team can rest assured that your I-9s are in order and that you can respond to audits quickly and easily.

2. See the big picture with meta data.

Employee document audit requests should never set you back several days’ work. With both internal and external requests coming at any time, HR must have an efficient way to pull all necessary documents as needed.

Automation is critical here, as it eliminates the need to bring in temporary staff to sort through paper files and follow up on missing documents. By digitizing your employee document management processes, efficiency is built in from start to finish. As soon as a document is entered into the system, it is classified into the appropriate document type and assigned the applicable retention schedule. What’s even better – once it’s in the system, documents are easy to search for across your employee population and share securely within your organization or with external groups.

3. Securely share specific groups of documents in digital “file rooms” with strict permissions.

Putting your information at risk is never an option. HR needs a way to share sets of employee documents with auditors that is simple and secure.

Emailing, printing, photocopying, scanning and mailing documents is slow and inefficient and there are security risks inherent with each of these practices that could lead to potential information exposure or breach. In today’s increasingly hackable world, organizations must ensure their confidential employee information does not end up in the wrong hands.

The third thing to look for in your HR technology solution is the ability to securely share your documents directly with recipients, whether an outside auditor or a team member within the organization. Documents can be shared via a secure link and viewed online in private data rooms. For added security, many solutions allow you to control what actions the recipient can take with the document, including whether they can print, copy or download, as well as set up an expiration date to ensure the files are only available for a specified amount of time. For every item shared, an audit log is created, offering a clear history of who did what with the document.

Rest easy knowing you’re audit-ready.

HR departments that take a proactive approach to compliance will save time and money, and they’ll be able to provide even more value to their organization by focusing on more strategic initiatives. To learn more about how Access can help, check out our ebook, Three Keys to Easier HR Employee Document Audits.