The Importance of Having a Records Retention Policy

by | Jun 8, 2017 | Uncategorized

Keeping track of your business’s paperwork can be an overwhelming responsibility. Each state and federal agency has a different set of requirements, so it can be challenging for you to keep track of which documents are needed on file and for how long. Adding to the confusion, a number of requirements are dependent on the number of employees that a company has, and are entirely separate from the actual function of the business. Due to these laws and federal regulations, it is imperative that you have a consistently enforced records retention policy (RRP).

In addition to labor laws, having a consistently enforced policy for your records can not only protect you from individual and criminal liability, but it can also protect you from any potential lawsuits that might be filed against you or your business. Your business’s records are more than likely managed and retained within your HR department, and this is where your records retention policy will be developed and evolved over time, according to your business’s individual needs. The decisions on what records are needed and how long they need to be kept is something that can potentially change over time, when problems with your current records retention policy become apparent. When you decide to update your retention policy, take careful consideration to ensure that documents that are legally mandated by the government are kept in electronic copy once physically destroyed.

The most important reason for instituting a records retention policy, excluding legal reasons, is for your own organizational purposes. Having stacks of documents piled around your Human Resource departments not only gives a negative impression, but can create unnecessary burdens and expenses that you could avoid with a RRP. And in case you do have a legal issue that requires any of your stored paperwork, going through piles of documents to find relevant paperwork can be challenging and time-consuming. Destroying and digitalizing necessary information and documents for the recommended or mandated time can ease the stress of physically storing all the required files, and finding the correct documents when they are needed.

While the records that will serve your business interests and government regulation requirements may vary, it is essential that your RRP stay current and remains a priority. Over time, longer retention periods established might be modified, and shorter periods might be extended based upon actual usage and need, and these changes are to be expected and embraced. An RRP is an important and essential facet of your business, and time and care should go into its development.

Information Requirements Clearinghouse (IRCH) can be a tool for developing your own employee records retention policy. We can help you establish a RRP that can keep you organized and on schedule. Contact us today to learn how IRCH can be a helpful asset to the continued success of your company.

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