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How to Manage Your Employee Database, Securely

How to Manage Your Employee Database, Securely

An HR database stores all the important personal information you need for each of your employees. Files provide critical information from up to date personal contact information to employee reviews. An up-to-date employee database allows managers and HR professionals to make data-based decisions that improve employee retention and help push your company forward. 

When your database isn’t kept up to date, the gaps can create time-wasting issues. This interferes with day-to-day operations. Not only does this waste time, but also money. So, what should be included in an employee database and how do you keep it organized? 

Here we explain what good employee database software includes and how it helps keep your business organized.

What Should Employee Database Files Look Like?

The information included in employee database files varies from organization to organization. However, there are some common elements that should always be included:

  • Personal contact information such as an address, phone numbers, emergency contacts
  • Date of birth
  • Job title
  • Manager’s name
  • Department
  • Hire date to track length of service
  • Current salary and all pertinent salary-related dates such as raises
  • Recruitment details
  • Qualifications and special designations
  • Timesheets
  • Training courses attended
  • Employee review dates in the past and when the next one is due
  • Employee status such as full-time, part-time, contract, laid off, etc.

Effective employee database software allows you to customize employee database details important to your organization. It should integrate with other HR functions such as benefits, onboarding, and tracking, while allowing you to customize access.

Who Can Access Employee Data Files?

The challenge with employee database files is that they tend to evolve over time. Each employee will have different levels of change. For example, in an industry with complex regulatory guidelines, employees will require ongoing training to keep up with their required designations. In other areas, such as contracting, government contracts require specifics regarding job roles that must be paid based on work classifications. Using HR software allows the most relevant person to log the data.

For example, an employee is the most logical person to log their own hours or update their contact information. On the other hand, team leaders make the most sense to maintain information on reviews, pay raises or disciplinary action. Access is limited based on log on information, allowing HR managers to have a complete view of the file. However, employees and their managers have limited access for privacy reasons. This also keeps private and sensitive information secure.

How Should You Keep Employee Data Secure?

Security is paramount when it comes to employee data. From salaries and to addresses and identifying information, employee databases are often the target of cyber attacks, making it important to take the proper precautions to ensure everything is kept confidential. Here are some best practices:

1. Categorize Employee Data and Limit Access

There’s a range of employee data available to the HR team. Some are needed by the employee’s direct supervisor, while other data is only needed by certain departments like accounting. Information can range from:

  • Job description
  • Social security number
  • Address
  • Timesheets
  • Salary
  • Performance and employee feedback

To prevent data leaks, the more sensitive information such as social security and address should have limited access and be password protected. Delegate access according to the department that needs it.

2. Invest in Formal Security Procedures and Software

A data breach costs $9.22 million for the average company in the US, based on 2022 data from IBM. From potential litigation to recovery of files, this isn’t an expense you want to suffer. The cost of ongoing security outweighs the expense of a potential breach.

Ask your IT team about what software and resources are available to add a layer of protection to your employee data. Invest in cyber liability insurance. Formalize company procedures for data collection, storage, and access, and conduct regular training sessions for your team members on data security.

Employee database software is a great solution because it keeps all employee data in one place, and already has built-in security. 

3. Create an Action Plan for Data Breaches

Despite your best efforts, breaches can still happen. In the case they do, you can minimize costs by having a plan in place. This usually involves identifying common risk areas, organizing an incident response team, and outlining a communication plan to employees to ensure prompt action.

How Do Employee Data Files Remain Organized?

Employee data files are difficult to manage manually. Without some form of automatic notice when pertinent dates arise, HR teams and managers are working blindly. One of the easiest ways to remain organized begins with employee database software. Your HR software allows you to input, update, or append data using consistent, standardized information for each employee record. From the moment a person enters the system as a job candidate, their information is collected and stored.

This improves organization while making it easy to search an employee’s information based on their name, and the categories assigned within each file. With this information available, decisions become easier. Managers remain up to date on the status of each member of their team. Notices can be added to trigger actions from scheduling employee reviews, to pay raises and when benefits run out to more specific information such as the need to schedule training.

Using Auto Updates

HR software also allows you to program certain data fields to update automatically. Employee databases help maintain important records such as how long someone has been with the company and appropriate pay scales. You can save time on manually tracking and entering vital dates based on the specific needs of industry guidelines, organizational policies or even specifics to certain job titles. Better yet, a software that integrates with other HR data such as benefits, onboarding systems and more, allows you to customize your notices and the information that should be updated automatically. Reports and summaries provide crucial information for management on a schedule.

Employee Tracking

Another important element of an employee database file is hours and vacation time. Your HR database stores relevant information that helps managers track employees. Managers can also have access to dates and schedules for their team, which is handy in the vacation approval process. It shows when an employee has scheduled time off to ensure there is always coverage for each shift. It also allows employees to access their vacation days to see how many they have used to date. Employee hours can also be tracked, and error alerts can make it easier to adjust more efficiently. Team leaders can spot red flags such as a pattern of late arrivals, leaving early, or absenteeism.

Managing employees becomes easier with access to an employee database file. HR software that integrates all relevant employee information provides permission-based access to employee information. Customized employee database table design works within your organization’s needs. Your database keeps confidential information secure while allowing staff to access the information they need.

About The Author

Ingrid Principe

Ingrid is the Content Marketing Manager at Paypro, managing both inbound and outbound marketing initiatives for the company. She has 15+ years’ of extensive marketing communications experience, leveraging brand awareness and strategic partnerships to increase sales revenue for a diverse group of B2B brands.

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