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Data security key when going paperless


While the emphasis on going paperless has been prevalent for many years, there has been a definite shift in what is driving this change.

Whereas cost savings might have been a significant driver in the past, data security and privacy are taking center stage as companies wrestle with the decision to go paperless. While many organizations now are managing working documents electronically, many are struggling with managing a large amount of paper documents related to employee information.

The composition of an employee file can vary depending upon the investments an organization has made in software applications to manage employee information.

Various software systems exist to accommodate activities from recruiting, onboarding, performance management, education, performance evaluation and payroll management.

However, even if there are solutions in place to manage these activities, they often are separate systems and might be controlled by different departments.

In most cases, companies are relying on paper files, and there isn't a single information source that provides a complete view of the employee's history, nor is there security in place to keep this information safe.

Enterprise content management solutions, such as Microsoft's SharePoint, can help to not only manage employee records electronically but also can help ensure they are secure and that privacy is maintained.

Though employee files are centrally located, security controls can be configured to allow users to only see content that is relevant to them. For example, the human resources team might be able to see the complete file, while department managers could only be allowed to see the performance management or continuing education sections of an employee file.

Enterprise content management solutions can automate workflow activities required to ensure employee files are complete.

Record sets can be established for each component of the files to force completion. If a document type is missing, notifications can be sent to the responsible party for completion. Annual activities, such as performance reviews and continuing education requirements, can be managed to notify staff of requirements, and approval workflows can be performed to ensure required steps are completed.

Deficiencies or incomplete processes can be easily identified and appropriate measures taken to ensure completion.

In addition to requirements related to maintaining active employee files, organizations also are challenged with maintaining files for former employees.

The amount of space required to manage old records can be overwhelming, not to mention the tracking requirements. Retention requirements for each type of document within a former employee file can be different -- generally, the complete file is maintained through the longest retention requirement period before it is destroyed -- if it is ever destroyed.

Classifying documents with an enterprise content management system makes it easy to set retention periods so documents can be destroyed as required by established policies or existing laws.

To determine whether you should consider an enterprise content management solution, evaluate and identify how many separate employee files are being maintained by departments in your organization.

How much space is it taking to manage these files? Are the records secured properly to ensure that employee privacy rules are being followed? An enterprise conte.nt management solution could be beneficial -- saving time and providing a better overview of the employees who are so valuable to the success of your organization

Note: This article originally appeared in the Tri-State Business Times on Jan. 7, 2016.


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