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4 tasks for spring cleaning your human resources department

Reviewing your human resources files is as important as reviewing your employees. Here are four steps to take every year to make sure you keep on top of this important task.

Melanie Reid, Human Resources Team

May 21, 2014

2 Min Read
4 tasks for spring cleaning your human resources department

Spring is the season when windows get cleaned, soil gets turned and everything feels fresh and bright. When spring fever strikes you on a sunny afternoon, take the opportunity to tackle some “spring cleaning” of human resources systems.

Tidy up the personnel files.

Keeping a well-organized personnel file for each employee is an important aspect of running an efficient HR department. Like any filing system, the personnel files can get a little messy with time and use. For example, sometimes files don’t get removed from the drawer when an employee leaves your business; or documents get placed in the wrong part of the file in haste; and once in a while the files get out of order. Take time this spring to go through the personnel files and tidy them up. Purge the ones that no longer belong in the current file, ensure they are all in alphabetical order, spot check for misplaced documents and replace any folders that have become tattered or torn. Relocate the files for terminated employees to their proper location and ensure their secure storage.

Purge your I-9 binder.

The I-9 form binder should contain at least two sections. The section for current employees should be reviewed to ensure that all I-9’s of terminated employees have been removed and labeled with a retention date. This is also a good time to ensure the I-9s are alphabetized properly and that all have been filled out completely and signed. Also review the terminated employee section. Be sure each form is labeled with a retention date and filed in chronological order. Remove those forms past their retention date and shred them.

Clean out the applicant files.

Job applications seem to multiply in the drawer. To ensure yours stay orderly and current, clean out and shred any that are past their retention date. File those that remain in an orderly, systematic way. You might file by position applied for, date of receipt or qualifications. Whichever method you choose, be consistent. In the long run, having neat and orderly applicant files will make your job easier. When a hiring supervisor comes to you looking for candidates you’ll have the current applications easily accessible.

Re-read the employee handbook.

Before you begin reading, check the revision date. If it was last revised more than one year ago, it probably needs to be updated. Rules and regulations are changing quickly right now. A policy that might have worked well and been fully compliant one or two years ago may already be outdated. Read through your policies with an eye for any language that violates federal or state labor laws or that is overly vague and could leave your company open to lawsuits. Ensure that your policy language matches your operational practices. Review your policies on electronic communication to ensure they meet current best practices. Lastly, be sure any policy changes that you introduced during the year were appropriately communicated and documented.

About the Author(s)

Melanie Reid

Human Resources Team, CDS Consulting Co-op

Melanie Reid has worked in natural food co-ops since 1996. She spent 8 years as HR Manager at a co-op in Minneapolis before joining the leadership team in the beginning phases of opening a brand new food co-op where she most recently served as General Manager. Her areas of expertise include understanding and developing organizational culture, improving HR practices and leadership development.

Reid is part of the Human Resources Team of CDS Consulting Co-op.


The goal of the Human Resources Team of CDS Consulting Co-op is to help our clients become employers of choice in their communities, by cultivating a culture of empowerment, engagement and accountability.


Click here to read more articles by Melanie Reid. 


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