When is the last time you took some time to review your desk and office files, and archive or properly dispose of records?
Scheduling a periodic HR clean-up day is a good way to reinforce your organization’s Records Retention policy. You’ll benefit with a tidy and clutter free work space, and comply with Federal and state regulations at the same time.
Schedule a Department Clean-Up Day
You’ll want to concentrate on paper records for this effort. However, if time allows, employees can also clean out their emails and other electronic records per your policy.
Follow these tips to host a successful clean-up day:
- Choose the right day when your office won’t be busy. Schedule no meetings, limit outside visitors and turn phones to voicemail if possible.
- Recruit a core team to plan the day and become expert resources.
- Alert other stakeholders in your organization such as management, building facilities and security.
- Create a fun invitation to give employees plenty of notice. Encourage casual dress. Instruct employees that they are to clean out desks, offices and filing cabinets.
- Distribute your organization’s Records Retention policy in advance and make sure everyone understands where they can get help with questions.
- Order plenty of materials:
- Boxes and labels for archiving documents
- Box tape and markers
- Bins for garbage, recycling and shredding
- Make it fun by ordering breakfast bagels or pastries and lunch.
- Set up posters on easels to give employees basic directions on how to use archiving boxes and where to go for help.
- Set up a second set of easels with blank poster boards to record follow-up maintenance chores like fixing broken drawers, lights that are out or hanging pictures.
- Greet each employee on clean-up day with a desk memo outlining your expectations and the availability of food and drinks. Consider adding a small token such as a customized pen, Post-it note or coffee mug.
Putting up a few balloons and adding light music can contribute to the casual spirit of the day and keep up morale.
It’s best to save a review of your employee files for a separate clean-up day. This type of review should be done by a limited number of HR professionals who have the right expertise and know exactly what documents belong in each type of employee file.
- Discuss in advance with your core team any items under special notice. These can include documents that are on litigative or investigative hold and should not be disposed of per the normal Records Retention schedule.
- Consider assigning dedicated facilities or security personnel to oversee shredding bins and their disposal.
- Remind your staff that they should not be keeping extra copies of any personnel information in their desks, such as employee relations issues, performance reviews and discipline situations. All materials should be filed properly in the appropriate employee file, and duplicates shredded.
- As an extra perk for employees, and if space and budget allow, you may invite them to bring in their own personal paper shredding from home.
Be sure to thank everyone afterwards, including facilities and security, and especially your core team, for their efforts in keeping your office tidy and organized.
With careful planning, and allowing for a little fun, your department will emerge refreshed and uncluttered … and compliant.