The key components of a personnel file
- On 22 May 2017
- Posted by Chantal Mariotti
Having organized and well maintained personnel files is very important. Personnel files are created for all employees upon hire and hold important and confidential information about the employee. These files hold important job-related documents that include your employees’ resume and job application, performance evaluations, attendance record, etc. With all these key documents in one place, you ensure that your personnel files are organized and easily accessible when needed.
Organized personnel files save you time and money, and prepare you for litigation if necessary. Personnel files not only save you time when it comes to finding the exact documents you are looking for but it can also prepare you in the event of a lawsuit. These files contain important information including performance evaluations, attendance records and disciplinary action notices for improper behavior at work; useful evidence in the event that a former employee files a lawsuit. Storing these types of documents into the personnel file can help to save you money and essentially your company.
Keep your personnel, medical, workers compensation matters and I-9 forms separate. This protects your managers from discrimination, and confidential information segregated from government investigations. While various types of important documents should be placed within the personnel file, there are some exceptions. Medical records are extremely confidential and only authorized personnel should have access to these files. As for the I-9 form, the government is authorized to view these forms, and for privacy concerns, it should be kept separate from all other confidential information about the employee. An HR best practice is to keep all of your active I-9’s in a binder and in alphabetical order by last name. This way, if audited by Homeland Security, you will maintain the privacy of your staff for all other work related or medical matters.
Companies should have the following files: Personnel files, medical files, confidential files (for investigations of harassment for example), and workers compensation files for each WC case.
Having separate files for each of these categories not only ensure that documents are easily available when needed but also makes the documents within the files exclusive to certain individuals. Medical files, for instance, should not be accessible to managers. Only the I-9 forms are available to be viewed by the government and personnel files should also be stored away, as they contain private information about the employees. Make sure your files are under lock and key, and accessible only to authorized personnel, such as your HR Manager/Consultant, or General Manager.
Keep all documents in chronological order, keeping the most recent activity on top. Organizing documents in chronological order can enable you to file new activity relatively faster and give you access to recent information sooner. Every few months, check the personnel files to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate; keeping it organized will help you complete this task quicker.