HR Companies and the Importance of Documentation

Keeping up with HR documentation can be a tough situation for even HR professionals. Maintaining employee files is a major part of your responsibility as a business owner.

Whether you’re recording medical records or data bout an employee’s performance, it’s crucial to have a written record.

Good documentation can made the difference between an easy process of letting someone go and a difficult experience that hurts both you and the employees.

Human resources practices follow careful document related company policies to keep information that’s crucial when trying to do the right thing.

Such documentation can involve a written account of an incidents, formal documents and legally mandated elements of the job, payroll records, and general data for both parties involved.

The purpose of this entire process is to make sure that the truth is protected through permanent records in the event of disciplinary action or another circumstance that might require documentation.

Benefits for the Employee

For the employee, it’s best to give someone the chance to correct their behavior or performance issues as early as possible. 

Performance appraisals and written proof might help avoid disciplinary actions and lead to a performance improvement plan instead of additional training for a new employee.

Performance correction to ensure compliance can be done beginning with a verbal warning (which really is a verbal warning with documentation in the manager’s record that you spoke to them) and can increase if and when the behavior continues. When justifying disciplinary action, remember that you’re working toward performance improvement.

Performance evaluations, attendance records, and an employment contract are all beneficial documents suggested for this particular human resource circumstance. 

The sooner you speak to an employee about their tardiness the sooner they are on notice that the behavior is unacceptable and that it needs to be corrected. 

Perhaps they have a home issue that you weren’t aware of, or maybe they thought being late was acceptable because of an insufficient recruitment process that left them lacking in understanding of their role.  It’s all about communication to the employee so they are aware.

Benefits for the Employer

Of course, just as there are a plethora of benefits to trusting HR personnel with the documentation process for employees, there are even more benefits to trusting an HR department with the documentation process for employers.

Here are just a few of the many ways that employee documentation benefits an employer.

Future litigation. 

When the company keeps proper documentation and employee records that follow best human resources practices, it creates a paper trail that can shield the company from a wrongful termination claim or discrimination claim. 

If the proper steps were taken to address the behavior or performance issue with the employee and there are HR documents to prove it, the company will be able to prove that the termination was warranted.

Correct behavior and improve performance. 

You have a company to run and you want it ran efficiently so you can turn a profit, right? 

In order for that to happen you need to run a tight ship and if one of your “crew” isn’t swabbing the deck properly it affects the performance of the whole operation. 

Correcting behavior and improving performance not only allows the employee a fair change as mentioned before, but also ensures that your business runs smoothly. Proper HR documentation and personnel files help you evaluate employee goals and assess whether or not your employees are following the correct processes that keep your business running smoothly.

An employee’s explanation of why they’re not performing correctly doesn’t operate as an excuse for their future actions, but you need to have clear documentation of what you’ve said to them and how they’ve improved to justify leaving them without consequences. This sort of record keeping benefits both the business and the employee, but it especially helps if the employee sues after disciplinary actions are taken.

Unemployment claims. 

In most states, if you discharge an employee for cause and have proper HR documentation to warrant the termination, your former employee (in most cases) will not be awarded unemployment benefits.

This is a “win” for you because, like all insurances, the more claims you have the higher your insurance rating goes, the more you pay. Keeping an employee handbook that’s regulated by your HR department will help you express and communicate clearly with your employees about expectations.

Proper documentation in your employee handbook can keep your record straight when it comes to unemployment claims. With employee documentation in the HR department through your employee handbook, you’ll be secure as an employer.

Provides a record. 

Records of employee documentation are great because if you leave the company, the next manager and human resources department will have a record of the behavior or performance issue and can pick up where you left off.  With new employees or, if you don’t see your company hiring any new employees anytime soon, not-so-new employees, having a prepared human resources department can help ease the transition as you leave the company.

Keeping a record of HR documents with your human resources department provides exactly what a human resources department will need for future disputes: documentation of an employee’s poor performance or bad behavior and the steps you took to enact a positive performance management technique, all immortalized in the documentation that includes permanent records.

To properly terminate.

One of the most common uses of employee documentation by HR departments is to properly terminate.

Depending on the job description, your employees can be terminated at any moment — if they’re hired on an “at-will” basis.

Unfortunately, just because an at-will termination follows legal compliance and accurate HR processes doesn’t mean an employee will understand.

Legal compliance won’t always stop an employee from filing a costly wrongful termination or discrimination claim.

Performance management documentation and written history of why you’re choosing to terminate an employee will protect you from having to explain yourself in court. Employee documentation, although time-consuming, is much less time consuming than a lawsuit or battle with insurance.

Your HR team not only follows federal laws; they also make sure you have all the documents required to follow any applicable law when it comes to documentation of employee experiences.

Documentation can solidify company policies, and an HR team can keep important documents on hand to defend your company policy with the appropriate documentation. That’s why we keep up with it all: to keep you safe.