How Is Your HR Department Doing Covering Its … Assets?

© Agb - Fotolia.com
© Agb - Fotolia.com

HR departments are the sentries of the office, with access to sensitive personnel records such as health information, I-9 documents as well as salary details, records that can take up loads of file cabinet space, and not to mention, archived data that is located off site.

But what If you suddenly find yourself asking these questions:

  • Is our vast personnel (past and present) data secure?
  • How much time is paper-management costing us?
  • Is a breach possible or, worse yet likely?
  • If so, how are we prepared to handle it should one occur?

Are you paper files as secure as they should be?

Chances are, if you are still using a paper-based system, your sensitive files are not as safe and secure as they could, or should, be.

Access to physical files in a file cabinet can be difficult to monitor. Accidental access can happen when files are mistakenly left on a copier, or intentional access takes place when someone looks at the file, knowing full well that he or she should not be.

The process of copying, circulating, approving, filing and updating paper files with the same process year after year is time-consuming and costly in time and resources.With more and more paper crossing our desks every day, ensuring compliance with regulations and timelines for ADA and FMLA is essential, as well as reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties.

A recent modification in the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules requirements now states that business associates of covered entities are now directly liable for compliance with certain requirements. As health records are shared between these business associates during the insurance information and claims process, data must be controlled in order to safeguard privacy.

So how can HR safeguard privacy and security in order to protect vital information while saving time?

The Enterprise Content Management solution

The answer lies in ECM, or Enterprise Content Management. ECM enables your HR department to manage documents safely in an electronic repository specifically designed for instantaneous access to sensitive data, accessed only by authorized personnel.

With cybersecurity and identity theft a huge issue, HR departments need to make sure that their confidential employee records are protected. Paper documents stored together – for example, in a filing cabinet – all have the same security level, but with a document management system, all files are in one database. Different users have different levels of access restrictions per document.

This goes a long way to prevent confidential documents from being accessed by the wrong people. With ECM, all data and documentation is stored centrally, and is accessed only by users with the right credentials. Data is date and time stamped for audit trails should there be a breach.

Document management systems also help ensure efficiencies and collaboration with many HR processes. For example, with a new hire, you may need to ensure a new employee has read the employee handbook as well as all policies and procedures, and store their tax information, resume, employment history, personal information – the list goes on.

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With document management, you can assign workflow rules and documents can be routed, completed and signed electronically once reviewed. If changes need to be made, authorized users can do so, whether it is a change of address, health care information, salary updates and more.

Cutting out wasted time

Interdepartmental communication is accurate and efficient without the wasted back and forth of emails, phone calls, interdepartmental mail and lines at the copier. With a full audit trail of opening, editing, completing, signing and printing, the risk of lost files and incomplete workflows are virtually eliminated.

You can also save time and money by not having to pay for the increasing levels of on site and offsite storage that goes hand in hand with compliance – like FLSA, Title VII, ADA & ADEA, FMLA, and staff certifications and credentials. Not only are all of these critical files stored electronically, they can be accessed immediately and forwarded to the appropriate parties when needed – without requesting old files from an offsite location – that can take up to two weeks.

HR can respond quickly and with accuracy to State and Federal Departments of Labor, health care providers, attorneys and employees. Records can also be set to destroy when needed, according to internal time frames and industry regulations.

With personal information for every employee and applicant’s information safely stored in an electronic repository for quick and easy access, every resume, cover letter, internal memo, employee review, sick leave request and more is traceable and easily maintained.

Saving time for more meaningful work

When data is stored electronically, it can be accessed to generate reports like EEOC and other HR reporting functions. And with all data stored in one location, you reduce the time wasted doing double or triple data entry off of forms, and can actually spend more time working with employees in a more meaningful way.

Measure the time it takes to compile a new hire file, or retrieve records for someone who worked for you five years ago. With an ECM, you wouldn’t even have to get out of your chair. And you might even save enough time to research new and beneficial HR opportunities for your business.

Ray Emirzian is Vice President of Operations & Product Management at docSTAR, a B2B software firm specializing in cloud document management software and business process automation. He has more than two decades of experience in business process analysis, business process automation, and business consultation working with industry-leading organizations including NCR, Canon USA, and AuthentiDate Holding Corporation. You can follow Ray and the docSTAR team on Twitter, @docSTARsoftware

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