A recent court case has highlighted the importance of having a reliable system for managing and storing important people-related paperwork.

In the case of Tenon V Cawley, the employer alleged that Miss Cawley, a member of its senior management team, was in breach of restrictive convenants in her contract of employment. When the case came to court, however, the company was unable to produce a copy of any signed contract, or evidence to support its claims that various updated and amended contracts had been issued over the years.

The judge dismissed the case and urged employers to ensure that all staff have signed contracts and that ‘adequate documentation’ of conversations relating to contracts are placed on employees personnel files.

Of course contracts of employment are not the only type of paperwork that can trip employers up. How sure are you that your employees’ right to work paperwork is up-to-date, for example, or that requests and approvals for remote or flexible working can be easily found should you need them?

Here’s how a software system like Cezanne HR can help you make sure there are no nasty surprises lurking should some kind of dispute or legal action arise:

Key date reminders

Important dates, such as visa or passport renewals, or end of probation periods, can easily be overlooked in a manual system. Your HR system can be set up to send trigger reminders for when action or updates are needed, so that you can ensure the business is compliant with the law.

Key document tracking

Visibility is one of the key advantages of keeping all documentation in one central, easily accessible place. If documents require signatures, for example, the system will make it easy to see who has signed and to issue reminders to those who haven’t. With Cezanne HR, you also get electronic signature capability.

Conversation trails

E-mail trails have a tendency to disappear in over-loaded inboxes and can even be inadvertently deleted. Cezanne HR has a document upload button which allow you to record and store important email conversations against employee records. This can be particularly valuable if it comes to having to clarify what’s been agreed regarding a working arrangement, for example, or to remind someone of actions and timelines that have been agreed following a performance-related conversation.

Reliable document distribution

Line managers have failed to distribute important health and safety related information to their teams. Or HR has sent out an all staff email about mandatory training, which half the workforce claim to have no memory of receiving. Sounds familiar? Systems like Cezanne HR provide a more reliable method of issuing important communications centrally. Mail-merges can be set up through the system, and there’s a central record of what been distributed and received.

Custom form creation

An HR system can also help save valuable HR and line manager time by creating a streamlined and consistent process for work-related activities. Custom forms can be created for requests to work remotely, for example, or permissions to offer or accept corporate hospitality. This means that should line managers leave or move to other departments, what has been agreed has been documented and can be easily found.

The key advantage of storing people-related documents and information on an HR system is that they don’t go missing – and the HR team doesn’t have to spend hours searching for important paperwork or trawling through email trails. Being able to put your hands on the right information at the right time is not only critical – but can also be costly if it is required to support a tribunal case.

Keeping everything in one central place also means that information is more secure and can only be accessed by those with authority – and probably most importantly, the business can ensure it is keeping GDPR compliant.

Erika Lucas author image

Erika Lucas

Writer and Communications Consultant

Erika Lucas is a writer and communications consultant with a special interest in HR, leadership, management and personal development. Her career has spanned journalism and PR, with previous roles in regional press, BBC Radio, PR consultancy, charities and business schools.