25th August 2021
From hire to retire (and everything in between), HR documents play a vital role in the employee journey. Good documentation is a necessary fixture for any Human Resources department – it’s what keeps companies protected and compliant.
HR documents cover all of the information that a HR team should gather from and hold for each staff member in the company’s employment.
These documents are made up of:
- Government and legally mandated elements.
- Requirements of company policy and procedure.
- Best human resources practices.
- Formal and informal recordkeeping regarding employment events.
The most essential materials covered by HR documentation include onboarding, performance, time & attendance and legal compliance – though this really only skims the surface. Other topics typically covered include, but are not limited to:
- Absence management.
- Family leave.
- Remote working.
- Grievance procedures.
- Staff development.
- Disciplinary & dismissal.
- Data protection.
- Interview guidance.
- Equal opportunities & diversity.
Why is Proper Documentation so Important?
There are countless reasons why having a complete, quality library of HR documents is so important to the running and compliance of your business.
No matter how big or small a company, proper documentation is your first line of defence when it comes to investigations, decision making and much more. Most importantly, having good HR documentation in place demonstrates your employees are treated fairly and consistently.
From keeping statutory information such as tax and national insurance details to logging organisational records, recording information about your staff and their employment will massively improve the efficiency of your HR services and will help you to handle staff (and other) issues much more effectively.
Improve Accuracy of Investigations
First and foremost, keeping accurate documentation provides a reliable account of events in case of any HR investigations.
Keep in mind that any documentation recorded must be done so in a timely fashion. Records that are kept as events unfold are much more reliable than documentation that doesn’t get updated straight away – for example, a manager should record the key points and discussion of a meeting immediately after it occurs, not days or weeks after the event.
The same applies to documents such as employee handbooks, manuals and policies. Any information that your workforce and management team should be aware of must be kept up-to-date at all times if they are to support any potential HR investigations – that means making amendments in real time as updates occur.
Key for a Strong Legal Defence
While it’s nice to hope that situations like lawsuits will never occur, you can never know what might happen. Strong documentation could mean the difference between winning or losing an employment-related lawsuit, should one arise.
For example, you may have let an employee go for misconduct or poor performance. However, if they decide to sue you on the grounds of discrimination (which has been known to happen), your only defence will be to prove you were in your right to terminate their employment based on the evidence shown in any performance or investigation records held on the employee.
If you do not have these documents in place, it becomes very difficult to prove that you had valid reason for terminating a contract.
Make Fact-Based Decisions
Not only is keeping all the information you need about your employees a good defence for any legal issues that might arise – it also makes HR decisions much easier.
When faced with promotions, performance reviews or disciplinary meetings, redundancies or even new hires, having well maintained documentation on your business and its people will help you to make data-driven decisions that are better for both the company and your team.
Spell Out Company Expectations
Having clear cut and readily available documentation to support and detail your company’s expectations will ensure that everyone involved in the running of your business understands what is expected of them as an individual team member, from their team or department and of the company as a whole.
When you put policies and procedures in place, any question over what is expected of staff, how things are run or what processes to follow in any given situation is removed.
Provide Clarity to Employees
Much the same as our previous point, when you clearly document not just policies and procedures, but processes such as performance reviews, disciplinary steps and what is expected when they request holiday or call in sick makes things a lot simpler for your staff members.
Not only will they know what is expected of them, but also what they need to do in specific events, giving them more autonomy in their role and a better understanding of their own entitlements at work.
Provide Guidelines for Internal Processes
With your company processes and procedures clearly outlined, all employees will know and understand what steps they must take when presented with any given situation.
Whether you’re coming up to your annual review period or an employee is due to head off on parental leave, knowing what you must do in preparation, during and also after the event is crucial to ensuring that the process is completed correctly.
This in turn will allow for accurate record keeping which loops right back around to providing the business and its employees with a reliable account in case of an investigation.
Structure Performance Management and Other Feedback
Conducting performance reviews is all well and good, but if you don’t have a solid structure to these meetings with a clear agenda and outcomes, there is little to no point in having them at all.
Ensuring that you have a well put together performance management process will ensure that both management and the employee get the most out of performance reviews, that feedback is delivered appropriately, and that all parties are clear on the targets agreed on and how these will be achieved.
Build Back Better with Staff Squared HR
It’s been a challenging time, but many of us are only now starting to find our feet.
If your business was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and you are looking for ways to get back into the swing of things – or perhaps you are just looking for new ways to manage your HR more efficiently – why not check out our range of FREE premium HR templates?
All you need to do is register your name and email address here, and we’ll give you instant access to:
- Home Working Agreement
- Maternity Policy
- Recruitment Policy
- Grievance Procedures
- Confirmation of Employment and End of Probationary Period Letter
There’s more where that came from, too! If you would like unlimited access to our full range of 71 premium HR templates, simply sign up to a FREE 14-day trial and to find out how Staff Squared can help you build back better!
Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Care Team to provide our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software and is responsible for our day-to-day marketing activities and strategies.
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