Document Management Software (DMS) is a computer program, app, or “software as a service” (SaaS) solution that is stored in the cloud. It helps you manage, retrieve, store, and gather the documents that you need to run your organization and keep it compliant. 

With DMS, all types of HR files can be kept and accessed from one system.

  • Employee handbooks—including evidence that employees have looked at and signed the handbook
  • Performance reviews
  • Payroll paperwork
  • Noncompete and nondisclosure agreements
  • Employee personnel files
  • Employee resumes and applications
  • I-9 forms
  • Employee agreements
  • Onboarding and termination documents
  • Benefit documents
  • Employee compensation insurance documents
  • Healthcare and insurance paperwork
  • Disability documents—including requests for leave
  • Accident reports

Why Should Your Organization Use HR Document Management Software?

HR documents can be kept as physical paperwork, in digital formats on company computers, or you can use specialized software. Here’s why DMS makes sense.

  • Security. Having multiple people able to access physical documents leaves room for error. Keys to filing cabinets can be lost, stolen, or duplicated. Files can also be misplaced or accidentally left somewhere that isn’t private. With an estimated 7.5% of the average company’s paper documents going missing permanently, security is a real worry. DMS gives you better control. Everyone with access to the system has their own password and files may be encrypted—depending on the platform or system you use. You may even be able to see a digital footprint of who has accessed employee files, and when. This digital trail may help you avoid liability if something does go wrong.
  • Efficiency. Every minute you spend looking for a file is a minute taken away from more important work. With document management software, you can easily search for HR documents and access them instantly. No more digging through folders or heading to filing cabinets to find what you need. It takes just seconds to upload a new employee handbook or document and to let your team know where they can find the updated information.
  • Savings. The average office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year. And storing just one cabinet of physical documents costs a business an average of $25,000 in paper and materials. DMS eliminates these costs and replaces them with lower software expenses.
  • Compliance. Federal and state laws require you to keep employee records for a specific amount of time. For example, the Social Security Act requires you to keep an employee’s Social Security number and contact information for four years. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) may require your business to keep job orders, ads related to job openings, and records of promotions and job changes for a year. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other federal agencies have their own requirements—as do some states and industries. Failing to keep the right documents can make you vulnerable to lawsuits and penalties.
  • Smart organization. Personnel files need to contain payroll records, employment contracts, and performance records. In addition, you may want to have a separate section in your HR files for documents that your employees may require—such as forms for requesting PTO. With HR document management software, you can keep each type of HR file separate, and ensure it has the correct level of security and access permissions.

How Do You Choose the Best DMS?

Choose a reputable vendor and look for a DMS that is an all-in-one solution rather than just a space to store your files. Today’s options have powerful, integrative features that let you communicate, share files, and even create training, all in one system.

No matter what DMS you choose, look for the following features.

  • Cloud storage. Keeping documents in the cloud simplifies retrieving files from different devices and keeps them more secure—and accessible— than storing them on physical devices. You also don’t need to worry about losing your files if an individual computer is lost or damaged.
  • Intuitive interface. All new programs have a learning curve. To make using DMS easier, look for programs with dashboards and features that are simple to use.
  • Security. Apps with SSL certificates and encryption offer advanced security. Other features to look out for include recognized cloud infrastructures—such as Microsoft Azure, verification or 2-factor authentication, and a strong privacy policy from the vendor.
  • Easy compliance. Your chosen DMS program or app should allow you to easily store the documents you need for compliance. A solution with plenty of space for keeping documents for different employees separate allows you to be organized—as well as compliant.
  • Easy updates. Good DMS makes it easy to keep your paperwork and documents up to date. It will also make replacing old documents with newer versions simple, which means your teams don’t have to be confused about which is the current version.
  • Integration. Look for software that integrates with other systems. It might be easier to share HR documents if—for example—you can easily tag or chat with employees in the same program. That way, you can send them a document they need to sign and also explain what the document is for. If your DMS is integrated with signature capabilities and calendars, you can track the employee lifecycle and send documents when a worker needs them. You can also ask the employee to sign the document right in the program, so they don’t need to print it and send you a physical copy.  

HR Document Management Software Keeps Your Organization on Track

Document Management Software helps you replace overflowing filing cabinets with software that stores all the documents you need to run your organization’s HR department. With DMS, you can save money and easily access, update, and secure the documents you need, when you need them.


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