HR Management & Compliance

Check Out the 2015 Employee File Management Survey Results!

Conducted in August 2015, the Employee File Management Survey, sponsored by People Doc, sought to learn how HR professionals today are handling their workforce’s important documents. For starters, what are their common practices, and how do they relate to best practices in the field?

Some Highlights from the Employee File Management Survey:

  • 84% of respondents manage their employee files by hand and/or via a paper filing system. Only 11% have a system dedicated to document management.
  • Relying on paper was also the biggest pain point for our response pool—67.3% of those polled indicated that this was a problem.
  • 54.1% of our survey participants feel they are experiencing “considerable growth” when it comes to the amount of documents they have to handle each year—and for 9.5%, it’s getting out of control.
  • 53.1% of respondents believe that the customization of document-related tasks and processes is “very important” to them.
  • About two-thirds (66.4%) of those surveyed see their document-related compliance burden increasing in the next 3 years.
  • 23.8% of respondents are “not at all confident” that their employee files are safe from natural disaster, technical failure, or theft.
  • 47.1% of participants are not automating their document retention (i.e., using a system to determine exactly how long specific documents need to be kept), but would be interested in doing so.

How Do You Track Employee Files?

How do you manage/track your employee files? Check all that apply.

Answer Options

Response Percent

By hand/paper filing system




Human Resources Information System (HRIS)


A dedicated document management system


Other (please specify)


In a business world where technological or software solutions are streamlining every aspect of the workforce, it was interesting to learn that 84% of our survey participants manage their employee files by hand through a paper filing system. 32.2% use an HRIS for file management and tracking, and only 11% have a dedicated document management system.

The Biggest Pain Points

What are your biggest pain points when it comes to managing employee files? Check all that apply.

Answer Options

Response Percent

We still rely on paper.


Documents scattered among too many systems.


Using a system that limits storage or users.


Searching is a pain.


No easy or secure way to share documents.


Files are incomplete.


Difficulty ensuring retention.


Security of documents.


Other (please specify).


For a very large share of the response pool (67.3%), the biggest pain point of document management is relying on paper. Incomplete files are a pain point for 33.3% of participants, and 30.4% noted that both searching files and security of documents is a headache. Other pain points specified by respondents included:

  • Multiple copies of the same document;
  • Time it takes to file; and
  • Documentation not being turned in by managers.

Several respondents indicated that they had no pain points, and some believed this was due to the relatively small size of their organization. One respondent noted his or her pain point as “I am cleaning up after the prior HR Manager.”

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Do Documents Inhibit Your HR Department?

Nearly three-quarters of our respondents either agree or strongly agree that document management inhibits their HR department in terms of productivity and more strategic priorities/tasks.

An Increase in Document Growth

Over half (54.1%) of participants feel they are experiencing “considerable growth” when it comes to the amount of documents they have to handle each year. The growth is minimal for 34.2% of those surveyed, but for 9.5% it’s getting out of control. One respondent who checked “Other” indicated that there is “no way to measure.”

A Large Time Commitment

The greatest share of our respondents (41.9%) indicated that their HR team spends 10% to 25% of its time per week managing documents. 25.5% of those surveyed estimate that documents take up 25% to 50% of HR’s time, and for 4%, it feels like file management never stops.

A majority of 53.5% of participants said that the percentage of time devoted to documentation has increased over the past 5 years.

The HR Ratio

Only 14.9% of those polled work at an organization where there are fewer employees per HR team member now than there were 5 years ago. The majority, 53.9%, indicate that there are now more employees per HR team member than before, and for 31.2% the ratio has remained about the same.

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Plans for Digital Solutions

Despite our earlier finding that relying on paper is a pain point for most of our survey participants, not many of them have plans to adopt digital solutions for document management or onboarding. About one-fifth of respondents (20.5%) are planning to implement a digital document management system within the next 1½ years, while 23% are planning to digitize their onboarding processes.

Rules for Digital Documents

Somewhat surprisingly, 51.4% of respondents do not have rules or policies governing the management of digital documents. Among those polled who do have rules regarding documents, the rules they do have tend to be more easily enforceable than not.

Tomorrow, more results from the Employee File Management Survey sponsored by People Doc, plus an introduction to the premier HR resource,!