The HR Compliance Dilemma for Government: 4 Ways Document Management Can Help
Government human resources (HR) departments may not be facing the difficulties of finding and hiring huge numbers of staff, but they do face other HR challenges that can have severe effects on funding and legal obligations. From public safety to schools to running federally-funded programs, government staff needs to be credentialed, trained, certified and kept aware of key programmatic rules. The challenge is how to keep track of all of these compliance requirements when staff is reduced and rules change or get more complicated.
One way to manage this across a county, city or state is to use document management. The following four features of document management help government HR departments meet these compliance challenges:
- Central secure repository to store all required documents – Knowing where the documents that prove compliance are and being able to find them quickly is critical to managing compliance with less staff. By storing documents digitally, they are not lost, they are secure and you can find what you need in seconds.
- Automating certification and credentialing processes – If part of your department’s HR work is keeping staff properly certified (including specialized training), workflow capabilities in document management can help. Workflow can time requirements, prompt you for required documentation and email you the next time you need to complete re-certification tasks or courses. It can also email HR staff to let them know who needs to complete tasks or who is out of compliance. Using workflow transforms HR from constant monitoring to focusing on people that are out of compliance so those situations can be addressed immediately. And, with workflow always running in the background, you can stop worrying about missing a key requirement or deadline due to staff reductions or increased compliance responsibility.
- Automating the distribution of policies and procedures – Few government programs or HR policies stay the same. How do you currently distribute policy changes and track acknowledgement? Are you able to test your staff’s understanding of changes? Can you easily report who hasn’t completed or acknowledged policies when that is required? In many cases, making staff aware of changes is a legal or programmatic requirement. But with less staff, it becomes difficult to accomplish this in a paper-based world. Most of us receive new policies by email, which is fast. But how do you track whether someone actually read the attachment? With document management, you can email people that they have a new policy to review and verify that they review each page. You can also ask them to electronically acknowledge the policy and even administer a test. HR staff can track staff progress and run reports to allow supervisors to view their staff’s progress. With document management, you can stop routing slips and inter-office mail distribution, eliminate printing and photocopying – freeing up time while improving your policy management.
- Audit trails and tools to find missing documentation– One of the strongest features of HR document management solutions is its ability to create an audit trail and to report or require documents. On the first day of your government job you probably brought some identification, signed some paperwork and an HR employee might have used a paper checklist to be sure that you submitted all required documents. Document management automatically checks the entire repository and tells you across all staff if a document is missing. It can also help HR employees collect documents and perform necessary tasks using workflow to ensure that everything has been done. How would you handle a requirement to collect a new document from all employees? Perhaps your newer hires submitted the document but now you need to find out which members have not submitted it yet? Using document management, you can run a report in seconds to find every member of your staff that hasn’t submitted the document. By using document management and eliminating paper, your ability to look at your document requirements at every level is enhanced.
Most jobs in government have compliance components. Some, like teachers, public safety officers, or health care workers have massive requirements from training to background checks to reoccurring certifications and training. These requirements, particularly in an era of smaller government, require new tools to meet requirements and assist smaller HR teams to ensure compliance. Document management is the perfect answer to the HR compliance requirements and the staffing levels of government today.