The employee file – Businessday NG

Welcome to this Easter weekend. In the Christian calendar, this weekend is of paramount importance. So Christian to you, have a wonderful weekend and come back to the other end refreshed.

Today we’re looking at what an employee record should contain. An employee file, or personnel file, is a set of documents containing all relevant information about an employee’s time with your company, from their application to their letter of resignation.

You may not know what an employee file should contain, or wonder how long you need to keep the information. Below is an employee file checklist to help you gather all the right documents and answer any common questions you may have.

Having all of an employee’s important information stored in one place means it’s easy to find all relevant details about their role and responsibilities.

It also means that you can produce all the necessary documents in case an employee makes a claim against you. It is important to keep an employee’s personnel file up to date and to regularly review all files to ensure that all relevant documents are there.

This ensures that the organization is protected in the event of a claim against it, as the file serves as a record of what happened during employment.

The content of employee records will vary from person to person, but there are a few key aspects that should be included in all areas. These are job application, CV and cover letter, education and previous employment information.

Their role description, job offer letter and employment contract. Emergency contact information is very important. Training records, payroll and benefits information (but not bank details), performance evaluation forms, and disciplinary action reports.

The employee’s resignation letter, exit interview documentation, and any other employment-related documents.

Any information that is not relevant to the employee’s role, such as their ethnicity or details of a disability, should not be included in their personnel file.

Personal opinions and observations should not be included in their files. The information must be limited to facts only.

Because employee records contain private information, such as home address or details of any disciplinary action, files must be protected and access limited. Only the employees themselves, their direct manager and HR personnel should be able to consult their files.

In Nigeria, I know there are best practices regarding how long records are kept even after the employee leaves. It varies between three and five years. Unfortunately, there is no stated law that we must comply with regarding employee data.

In the UK, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into force in May 2018 and set out strict rules regarding the responsibility of employers to protect their data.

Regardless of our membership, you can’t just get rid of all of an employee’s information when they leave your organization. Payroll details are important to keep for example.

Read also: Have you measured the level of engagement of your employees?

In fact, keep it as much as you can, just in case you need to prove anything in the future regarding said employee. If you’ve deleted records of reviews, disciplinary actions, or benefits, you won’t be able to show proof that you complied with employment laws.

Even for unsuccessful applicants, it is advisable to retain their information for at least six months after application. Statutorily in some countries for former employees, the general rules are that working time (details of when the employee worked for you) must be kept for two years. The payroll and details of any leave taken is three years. Personnel records and training records is six years old.

Employees have the right to know what information you have about them and how you use it. The confidentiality of records and how these records can help in their training and development at work. If an employee requests a copy of the data you have about them, you should give it to them, and you can set a policy on how long it will take to extract, just to help everyone manage expectations.

The days of keeping employee documents in a locked, fireproof cabinet are fast becoming history for many organizations. One of the most secure and reliable methods of keeping employee personnel records in one place is to store them in HR software or electronically if the software is financially out of reach.

Keeping files in electronic copy allows HRM to keep important documents safe and limits who can access them. Employees will be able to edit their personal information when it needs to be updated, freeing up administration. The nature of electronic copies means that information can be accessed from anywhere.

Due to more flexible working hours and workplaces, employees can get all their questions about their roles or responsibilities answered by viewing their employment contract and job description on the software or at least online. Restricted but easy accessibility.

It was a simple subject today but not known to all who should know. Our employees are the most important factor of production. If we invest in them, they become very valuable assets.

Again, have a refreshing weekend.

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