How to create electronic personnel files

By Colin Gordon | 07.02.2022

Nowadays, employers are transitioning to storing employee records electronically. While making the transition can be an easy decision, you need to understand how to set up an electronic record-keeping system that works best for your business. This means that employers should learn to organize electronic HR files to meet organizational and federal compliance needs. In addition, you should understand how to store personnel records and separate those that require more privacy, such as medical records and other EEO data. On top of that, consider who will have access to the digital employee personnel files and how you will share them discretely even when requested by a court. Keep in mind that electronic personnel files best practices vary with organizational needs. For this reason, we have prepared this article to give you guidance on how to create electronic personnel files while staying legally compliant with federal laws. 

Benefits of Electronic Personnel Files

Keeping employment records in an electronic format requires excellent electronic personnel files software. Alternatively, you can create your own system for HR files record management. Whatever method you choose to manage your files electronically, note that there are more benefits than traditional paper file storage methods. These include:

1. There is no need to acquire a physical storage space and file-keeping materials that can be costly for the organization. 

2. Storage is done in a single platform, making it easier for any authorized personnel to access them from any location.

3. Secures employee and organizational data since only authorized individuals will access the files.

4. Limited risk of losing HR files since most software for keeping HR records provide backed-up documents.

5. The easy accessibility of the files will make it easier for you to manage specific HR processes such as employee onboarding.

How to Encourage Employees to go Paperless

While electronic paperless personnel file storage has many benefits, implementing it in your business is not something that happens overnight. You need to dedicate more time and effort to successfully make the switch. Do not be intimidated by the process, though, since it all pays off when you finally get to securely and efficiently organize your employees’ data. To help you get started, here are simple ways to create electronic personnel files within your organization.

1. Lead by Example

You need to show interest in transitioning to paperless HR documentation. Start by setting goals that will encourage employees to step up and transition into the electronic document management system. Then, advise them on the benefits of paperless HR filing and offer reward initiatives for employees who step up and meet your goals on converting paper employee files to electronic. 

2. Prepare for the Transition

Now that you got everyone on board by advising them on the benefits of electronic documentation, it is time to start preparing for the transition. You and your teams should organize all the hard copies containing employees’ and organization’s data, which probably will be a lot. With their help, it will be easier for you to get all documents together and scan them as you prepare for digital personnel file documentation. 

3. Train Your Employees

As mentioned earlier, transitioning into paperless HR record management doesn’t happen overnight. Therefore, while you are at it, take time to train your employees to manage paperless HR files using various tools you will acquire. If there will be limited access, let them know the reasons. The earlier you introduce this system’s tools, the better for seamless electronic record keeping when the time comes.

Additionally, it is crucial that they understand the electronic record retention requirements within a state. This way, it will be easier for them to control the amount of records for keeps, and HR professionals will also effectively implement comprehensive records management programs. 

4. Find the Best Paperless Employee Record Software

There are plenty of paperless employee record tools in the market today, and it is crucial that you conduct thorough research to identify the one suitable for your business. For you to easily find the best software, take time to write down how you want to manage paperless HR records. With your needs, finding a software will be more simplified. 

5. Start Storing Employee Records Electronically

At this point, nothing will stop you from filling your company’s and employees’ documents electronically. Start with storing incoming documents to have all other paperwork filed electronically. Once your employees are fully familiar with the process, you will then focus on the backlog. 

Remember to notify members of your organization about the transition once completed. Send them an email regarding security measures you’ve put in place to safeguard their data and how they will benefit from electronic file management. If there are documents that you won’t mind sharing, feel free to introduce electronic sharing, which will also be helpful in uploading other documents when requested. 


It is challenging to differentiate the benefits of paper vs electronic documentation, considering that they are used to report and record organizations’ data. However, with the advancing technology, shifting towards storing employee records electronically could simplify HR operations. Not only is paperless HR record keeping safe, but it also makes it easier for employees to stay abreast with various activities and easily share files when needed.