On my first day at IST Management Services over ten years ago as the newly hired Payroll & Benefits Manager, my boss gave me a tour of the office and took me to my work station. I realized there was one thing I had not seen… an imposing row of file cabinets holding thousands of personnel files for active and terminated employees. “Where are your personnel file cabinets” I innocently asked her. “Oh, we don’t have any of those” she replied. “All of our records are electronic!” At that point I broke out into a cold sweat and threw up a little in my mouth. What? No paper files? No hours and hours each week of retrieving and returning files? No massive projects dedicated to updating files and destroying documents that have aged out? Nervously I sat at down in my chair and started at the blank monitor which, I had just been told, housed all my personnel files. What kind of sorcery was this?
I chuckle as I look back on that day. Now I can’t begin to conceive of having physical personnel files. Any document I need to view for any employee – active or terminated – is safely housed in IST’s DocStor Records platform. Any record is just a few key strokes away. No trudging down a long and dimly lit hallway to a room of hulking, rusting file cabinets. No paper cuts or torn cuticles while pawing through dusty, jam-packed folders. No panic when an urgently needed file has been misfiled or misplaced. No towering stacks of documents waiting to be filed and no boxes of aged files needing to be destroyed.
Here are just a few of the advantages electronic personnel files have over paper ones…
- No more lost files. Electronic files in DocStor are housed in their own domicile and are easily retrieved using the Search feature. Each Master Folder is broken down into subfolders so that finding a particular document is quick and easy.
- Free up that floor space. Let’s face it… personnel file cabinets take up a lot of office real estate! Now that space can be used for offices, storage, or whatever your organization might need.
- DocStor is password protected, and access to personnel files is restricted to Human Resources personnel. Different subfolders inside the Master Folder can have varying levels of security allowing you to fine tune who has access to which personnel files and exactly who is able to view what.
- Time saver. Anyone who has worked with paper personnel files knows that creating files, destroying files, pulling files, returning files and adding new documents to existing files takes up a lot of time. It’s also incredibly easy to file a document in the wrong folder.
- I remember once at a former employer the office above ours had a pipe burst over the weekend. We came in Monday morning to find our Human Resources file room flooded. We had to hire extra staff to carefully retrieve each file and lay out its contents in the hope they would dry out and still be legible. With DocStor that will never be an issue. Frequent back-ups and redundant storage keep personnel files safe and secure.
- With DocStor I have the ability to store more than just documents in my personnel files. I can house photos and videos alongside Word documents, Exel files, PDFs and much more.
- DocStor goes beyond just housing personnel files. Our payroll processing vendor has stopped providing payroll reports on physical media. Accessing them electronically is now the only option. DocStor allows us to house our own copies of our reports independent from our payroll provider, giving us peace of mind should we ever decide to switch vendors.
If I become nostalgic for the feel of paper slipping between my fingers I can always download and print a personnel file as a PDF. I cannot even begin to imagine how many hours I have saved through the years by having my personnel files stored electronically as opposed to hard copies. As the Human Resources field grows increasingly technical and complex I need every advantage I can get to keep me ahead of the game. Believe me, an electronic file management system like DocStor is a life changer!