GUIDE 2024

What is HR Document Management?

HR document management is the standardized and systematic management of all documents related to the Human Resource or HR department.

HR document management ensures that approved document management standards are followed for document creation, review,  modification, issuance, and distribution. It also ensures that documents are stored safely and can be located and accessed easily when required, and proper security protocols are followed for preventing unauthorized access to sensitive documents and employee records.

What Does the HR Department Do?

The most important asset of an organization is its human resource. The HR department at an organization performs many important functions related to the management of human resources.

Recruitment and Employee Onboarding

Posting job descriptions, interviewing and selecting candidates, and developing orientation schedules for new hires.

Training and Development

Arranging training sessions and courses, periodically or when required.

Payroll Management

Processing paychecks and tax forms.

Legal Compliance

Ensuring compliance with local and federal labor laws.

Types of HR Documents

The HR department has to manage many types of company-related documents such as

  • Job profiles and job descriptions
  • Onboarding documents
  • Organogram
  • Salary structure
  • Compensation and benefits structure
  • Time and attendance standards, and records.

In addition, the HR department also has to manage many  employee files and documents such as

  • Personal information including social security numbers and medical records.
  • Employee contracts
  • Payroll records
  • Resumes
  • Performance reviews
  • Applications
  • Recruiting information.

Why is HR Document Management Required?

With hundreds or even thousands of employees and several documents per employee, it would be next to impossible to manage the documents without a proper system in place. In addition to employee documents, the HR department also has to manage several documents related to organizational policies and procedures.

HR document management implements systems to ensure that the information contained in HR documents is accurate and up-to-date, protected through security protocols,  updated regularly, that the proper process for documents updates is followed, and inaccurate or obsolete documents are removed. HR document management relies on detailed and documented processes and procedures that are based on industry best practices.

The exact set of HR document management processes and procedures implemented by an organization will vary depending on its specific needs. These needs are determined by a number of factors such as laws and regulations, the industry the organization operates in, and whether the staff is local or is spread all over the world.

Benefits of HR Document Management

Administrative Efficiency

Having systems in place is one of the cornerstones of management. Organizational systems are made up of processes and procedures. Standardized processes and procedures for HR documentation ensure that documents are accurate, contain relevant and up-to-date information, and are accessible.

Efficient Workflows

Work flows smoothly when the proper procedure for creating documents and storing them is clear and known to all. Finding documents is also easier when everyone knows how to locate them when required. An HR document management system helps you create systematic workflows for document creation and storage.

Legal Compliance

The HR department has to maintain and store employee documents to comply with state and federal laws. Some documents need to be retained for a specific period of time. An HR document management system helps you comply with laws and to access documents when required.


HR maintains several documents that contain sensitive employee records and data such as compensation, medical records, and other personal information. An effective HR document management system helps you ensure that sensitive information is protected and is only available to those with the proper authority.

How to Implement an HR Document Management System?

Map HR Documents

The first step towards the creation of an HR document plan is to identify all the documents and employee records that are needed and managed by the HR department.

Map Workflows

Identify the process that each document will need to go through during creation, review, approval, update, distribution, and disposal.

Identify Access Needs

Map the access needs for staff to the type of documents that they will need to access, the frequency of access, and the method for access.

Identify Security Requirements

Identify the level of security that is appropriate for each type of document, and the processes required to achieve the required security level. Local, state and federal laws and regulations play a major role in establishing security-related requirements.

Identify Storage Requirements

Identify the retention duration for each type of document and the duration after which documents are updated. You can also make a plan to assign expiration dates for the disposal of obsolete documents and data.

You can also decide the type of documents that will be stored as hard copies or soft copies. A system for controlling access to stored files is also required.

HR Document Management Software

Just imagine a room or warehouse full of filing cabinets, or a computer sitting on a desk and humming quietly. As an HR professional or HR team member, what do you prefer?

A few decades ago, this question would not have been relevant. However, in the modern age, computers and information systems are used for a wide range of organizational functions. Employee file management software is used to store, access, and distribute employee data and employee records.  File management software also performs many document control functions such as audit tracking and version control.

What is an HRIS?

A human resources information system or HRIS is software that is specifically designed for HR electronic document management.

An HRIS stores employee and organizational data and combines a number of features to help HR team members at every level do their jobs more effectively. 

HRIS systems are typically made up of modules that cater to specific HR functions such as employee records, recruitment, payroll & compensation management, and performance management. The benefit of this approach is that organizations can only implement modules that they need. Modules can be added later on to cater to organizational requirements that develop over time.

HRIS Functions

Benefits of HRIS


One of the biggest benefits of document management software is workflow automation. This feature helps to eliminate delays caused by misplaced paper employee files and documents, which is a problem that is common to paper-based document management systems.

Not only are workflows automated, but they can also be optimized and changed easily. Workflow automation leads to improved productivity and positively impacts the bottom line.


HRIS systems can be customized to the particular needs of organizations and industries.

Third-Party Integration

HRIS systems support integration with other information systems such as payroll software, applications tracking systems (ATS), and learning management systems (LMS)


By having all the required information and documents stored, organized, and easily accessible, HRIS systems facilitate compliance when painful audits or other legal matters arise.

Robust Security

It is easy to ensure security and privacy with encryption and password protection.

Data Analytics for HR management

Several HRIS vendors offer integrated analytics modules, which allow you to use HR analytics, aka people analytics, to take a data-driven approach towards HR management. You can analyze data and measure the impact of a range of HR metrics on overall business performance. You can then make decisions, backed up by data, that allow you to improve business performance.

Important HR Metrics

A few examples of important HR metrics include:

HR Metrics

Cost per Hire

The average cost of hiring a new employee. You can calculate this number by adding internal and external hiring costs and then dividing the total by the number of employees hired over a given period.

Revenue per Employee

Total revenue is divided by the total number of employees.

Cost of HR per Employee

The total amount spent on HR functions is divided by the total number of employees.

Retention Rate per Manager

The employees who remained in the organization over a given period are divided by total employees. This figure can be broken down to the level of individual teams and managers.


Every organization needs systems in place for managing goals, employees, and departments. Without these systems, the organization would not be able to function.

The HR department is a key component of every organization. It handles several processes related to the hiring, training, and career progression of employees. The HR department also maintains sensitive data related to employees, and data required for legal and regulatory compliance.

An HR document management system helps to ensure that HR documents are managed throughout their lifecycle according to approved standards. It also helps to ensure that documents are stored and guarded according to specific security and privacy guidelines that prevent unauthorized access.

Much of the document management in organizations is nowadays handled by dedicated software. In addition to several other advantages, a major advantage of this approach is that organizations can analyze the data, identify trends and make decisions that improve performance and drive business growth.


If you are new to HR document management and are looking to learn more, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of managing technical documentation in HR.


Josh Fechter
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He had his first job in technical writing for a video editing software company in 2014. Since then, he has written several books on software documentation, personal branding, and computer hacking. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.