Manual filing and paper storage has been with us for centuries. For some it forms a comfort zone but in today’s world there is little need for it. Some paper evidence may be required for legal reasons but the overwhelming movement is towards paperless office systems.

The Human Resources department is no exception although much of the incoming data to these departments is still in paper form. Most people in Human Resources departments will confirm that manual filling and the retrieving of records takes up an enormous amount of non-productive time.

Let’s face it – filing is a boring job. Backlogs can build up when a department is busy – and then there are the risks. Paperwork can often get lost or misplaced in the wrong file. Files can be stored in incorrect order. Hours can be lost looking for things that might be somewhere in a filing system but are not in the right place. Files in use can be out of the system.

The Data Protection Act which specifies that all personal data must be protected and stored in a secure environment for a specific period. Statutory retention information is featured in a helpful table on the CIPD website covering this.

The solution is to have HR documents scanned and digitally indexed. The benefits of doing this include:-

  • Access to digital information can be restricted to specific employees.
  • Data can be retrieved quickly and efficiently, allowing staff to access human resources records, as and when they need them.
  • Scanned images can be stored in a cloud document management solution – providing flexible access from any location.
  • An electronic audit trail is established for your information.

Scanning HR records such as leavers’ files, holiday records, application forms, time sheets and sickness/absence records can provide businesses with a far more flexible and efficient process, compared with manual filing.

Converting documents into digital format can save huge amounts of money, as well as valuable office space and staff time.

Leading scanning bureaus like can digitise high volumes of HR records quickly and easily. Intelligent data capture software is utilised to automatically index information from your documents. Examples of these include employee numbers, dates of birth, surname or location. Accuracy is increased as this reduces manual data entry. Once digitally indexed, employee records can be searched using a simple keyword function.

Data can be captured and backed up using USB, CD or DVD. However, current trends are towards a secure FTP or cloud document management.

Cloud Document Management allows HR departments to store information securely, whilst allowing staff to access documents from any location using a web browser. Employees can upload documents into the cloud solution easily, using a simple drag and drop tool. This enables multiple offices to access information from anywhere. Users can share notes and assign tasks/documents to other users and route forms to the correct person within the organisation – so cutting down on approval times.