Record retention. An incredibly important part of running a successful business, record retention can apply to so many facets of your organization. Payroll, human resources, customer information, and so many more components of a business are inundated by data on a daily basis. How important is it to keep up-to-date records of all of this information, all of the paperwork that continues to pile up?

Maintaining accurate records can be the difference in a successful audit and a failed one. The difference between having the proper documentation to support a claim made against you, or having nothing to help in your defense. As it pertains to human resources and personnel management, the EEOC has established a standard set of guidelines that employers must follow to ensure they are compliant with record keeping retention regulations. It is vital to maintain compliance these standards as any violations could potentially result in more serious ramifications to your organization. 

Where do you start? How do you know what applies to your company?

  • Establish Record Keeping and Retention Policies – After reviewing state, federal, and industry-specific record keeping and retention requirements and regulations, develop policies and create a plan to properly store and destroy documentation. Ensure the program clearly communicates steps for maintenance to ensure ease in ongoing compliance. 
  • Appoint Responsible Parties – Typically HR or a member of Administration or Executive Management will be responsible for maintaining employment records. Make certain that these parties know what is expected of them, they have a backup as needed, and are fully knowledgeable of applicable regulations for the retention of records. 
  • Conduct In-House Audits Regularly – Mistakes happen. Conducting regular, in-house audits can guarantee that any errors made can be quickly caught and rectified before an regulatory audit occurs. Additionally, regular, informal audits can help streamline processes to ensure mistakes do not occur in the future, and the program works well with other business practices. 

While it may seem like an overly complex and time-consuming task to establish and maintain a process for your organization to avoid a worst case scenario, having a plan in place can be beneficial for your company as a whole. Once a system is set in place, the ongoing maintenance will be easier, less time consuming, and streamlined for future employees to manage.

Visit the EEOC to review employer record keeping requirements that apply to your organization, and review any applicable industry and state requirements to ensure compliance with state and federal law.