The Order of Things Digitally

“I am scanning and saving all the employee paperwork but the folder is becoming a bit of a mess.”

Your HR Survival Tip

Most employee documents may be scanned and the paper shredded. However, there are a few documents that may need a “wet” signature… meaning the real, original signature. The I-9 Form is the primary one needing a real signature for Federal compliance, even though you can scan it after getting their signature. Your attorney may want certain agreements to have a wet signature or may allow specific digital signatures through a company that has met court standards.

The digital folders will typically be the same as those used for paper documents: legal, medical, payroll, and the main folder with sub-folders for employee, employment, performance, and miscellaneous documents (see our 7/20/2022 article for details about what goes into each folder). Since the primary folder for each employee (holding all the employee’s other folders) will have the name of the employee, we don’t add it to each document or sub-folder.

You can’t manually place the most recent document on top so the file name for each document takes on a special organizational role in the folder. You need to be able to find them later so make it easy on yourself by thinking through the appropriate file names for these docs. The naming protocol we prefer for documents looks like this because it seems the most logical:

EDD claim 2021-0515

EDD claim 2021-05-15a

Perf review 2022-07-27

Perf review 2021-06-28

Wage increase 2022-02-12

Wage theft notice 2022-02-12

Writeup – attendance 2022-05-03

Keep the name of the document simple so fewer characters are used but you need enough of a name so it’s still very easy to understand what each document is. Format the date exactly the same way each time because using dots instead of dashes or not using a zero may change the order of your documents. Create a master list of the naming protocol you will use for every form you currently have in the files and add to it as new forms appear. Once you have your master list and know documents are easy to find using your chosen protocols, you are now ready to start creating employee digital folders and renaming your digital files. And, lastly, don’t forget to limit access to your confidential digital files!

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