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Your Employee Files – Disaster or “Ok”? | AMP'D

One of my favorite ways to spend my day is to visit clients. Not only do I love meeting the management teams and really diving into each company’s needs and growth objectives, seeing how each company sets up their employment files and processes allows me to instantly add value not only to them but to all of the Amp’d readers. You have the benefit of learning from their efficiencies… or their mistakes.

One area that almost all businesses need help with is their employee files.

Pop quiz – Think about your employee files at this very moment. Which response best describes your current practices?

  • Employee Files? You mean those two forms we send to payroll each time someone is hired (translation: I-9 and federal w4)?

Amplified HR response: Kinda. There actually should be a lot more forms than that in there!

  • We do ok – we have them, but there’s not much in them and there’s really no rhyme or reason to what we put in them.

Amplified HR response: Yea, we see that a lot. Unfortunately, some of the stuff you have in there – and some of the stuff you DON’T have in there – could hurt you legally.

  • We have a killer system for this – we have separate files for each employee that hold their signed company policies, payroll forms, benefits, etc. and there are actually write-ups in there because we document stuff and hold our employees accountable for their actions.

Amplified HR response: Are you for real?! I am amazed and impressed – great job.

I think it’s important to understand that your employee files can be subpoenaed, they are discoverable in legal proceedings and your employees have the right (in most states) to see them upon request. They’re kind of a big deal. Done properly, they are great resources. Throwing anything and everything in one place (especially in a location that all employees could access) can really hurt your company.

So, what SHOULD they look like?

In an ideal world, there will be separate files for certain items. If you don’t want to create a system similar to the one shown above, at the very least keep the medical stuff out of there and store your all of your I-9s together in one place.

Here are some other takeaways for employee file best practices:

  1. First and foremost – employees should complete and sign all company policies!
  2. Those complete, signed policies should be stored in the employee file.
  3. Medical forms, I-9s and Work/Comp documents should be kept separate from employee files
  4. Employee files contain confidential information as well as social security numbers and other personal identifiers that you should keep in a locked filing cabinet.
  5. Most states do require that you provide access to the employee to view their file upon request. Not sure if yours does? Ask us.
  6. Employee files are discoverable, legal documents – be careful what you put in them!
  7. There are retention requirements for various forms – the I-9, payroll records, etc. Check out a list of these here.

AmplifiedHR clients – we can audit your employee files and help you come up with a system that is efficient for your team and realistic to maintain. Shoot us an email to your group email address to make this happen.

Want to do your own audit? Try this audit (it’s fast and FREE!)

Great employee files are a big deal – poor management of these can cause you a lot of pain! Take some time to review what you’re doing and ask for help to make them right. Doing a re-set with some new processes will help you protect your investment.

Don’t worry, we’ve got this.

Although Amplified HR has made every effort to ensure that the contents of this site are correct and complete, Amplified HR does not update the site in real time and cannot be responsible for the accuracy of information contained herein.

The product and service descriptions described in this article are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.