The Top 5 Challenges of Satisfying HR Email & Correspondence Retention Requirements

Retention requirements for employee records can be onerous. From recruiting, interviewing, on-boarding, payroll, benefits administration, and employee reviews, Human Resource professionals must retain all correspondence and documentation, whether in paper or electronic form. Because most HR departments are not currently systematically capturing email correspondence, they are at risk of being out of compliance with industry regulations, and possibly federal and state laws. This could lead to bad audits, fines and liability from lawsuits.

Fortunately, third-party email correspondence modules like Email Manager from CMA now offer a way to ensure all relevant email and attachments are coupled with other records in your document management system.

HR Records Retention Requirements

Below is a table that illustrates typical legal retention requirements for HR records:


  • Accident reports, injury claims, settlements
  • Applications, changes, termination
  • Attendance records, clock records
  • Correspondence
  • Daily time reports
  • Disability & sick benefits records
  • Earnings records
  • Employee contracts
  • Employee service records
  • Fidelity bonds
  • File, individual employee
  • Garnishments
  • Health & safety bulletins
  • Injury frequency charts
  • Insurance records: group, employee
  • Medical folders, employee (after termination)
  • Paychecks
  • Payroll records
  • Pension plan, applications, claims, correspondence
  • Rating cards
  • Salary & rate changes
  • Salespeople auto records
  • Salespeople expense accounts
  • Salespeople performance records
  • Time cards, tickets, receipts
  • Training manual
  • Union (collective bargaining) agreements (after termination)
  • Withholding, exemption certificate
  • Workers’ compensation reports

Retention Requirement (years)


We recommend having your CPA and attorney review the records retention requirements of your state before putting it into practice.

All of this makes the documentation process critical for everything HR does, both for legal purposes and to ensure the smooth function of the department. Management of all of this documentation, much of which is via email and attachments, can be very time challenging.

The Top 5 Challenges for Managing HR Email Correspondence

  1. 90% of all business correspondence is conducted via email, much of which includes attachments
  2. Virtually all correspondence with prospective and current employees is critical and should be considered a business record or document
  3. Correspondence typically is not associated with the documents they reference yet they can be with appropriate tagging (i.e., employee’s name or employee number)
  4. Classification, filing and archiving email with current technologies is unorganized and difficult to implement
  5. Critical email correspondence isn’t integrated with existing back-end systems

Extend Document Management with Email Correspondence Management

Email Manager from CMA allows HR users to incorporate all email and attachments into their document management system to satisfy all records retention requirements and to provide a more complete employee records—all in one easy step called “tagging.”

Using the Microsoft Outlook Plug-In of Email Manager, you can tag every email with employee number, name, and/or document type and let the email management software do the rest. Email Manager will then automatically tag all emails previously sent in the thread and all those emails that will be sent over the life of the thread. In doing so, Email Manager automatically stores each email, subsequent replies and attached documents to the document management system where they are stored in a secure, single location.

What are you doing to ensure your HR email, correspondence and documents are being properly tracked and archived?

5 Reasons Your Firm Needs Email Management

For your business to run effectively and efficiently, you need a record of both internal and external communications in whatever the form: paper, fax, email, electronic forms, etc.

In small and medium-sized enterprises, most employees devise their own filing systems for documents and email, which are often inconsistent, incomplete and with information that is not available to others who may need access. These organizations need a document management solution.

Companies that utilize document management have a centrally managed repository for important company documents that can be accessed remotely, which facilitates collaboration and workflow. However, the use and effectiveness of document management is largely based on having a complete documentation record, which needs to include email but rarely does—until now with the advent of email correspondence management.

Five Reasons Your Firm Needs Email Management
The points below illustrate why you need to consider utilizing email correspondence management:

  1. 83% of all communications are electronic. With more than 55% of business professionals and 85% of Millennials having smart phones, electronic communications will continue to grow. Whether you want to or not, you must be able to engage a customer or prospect via the communications channel they prefer.
  2. 90% of electronic communications are via email, and frequently with attachments. Email is the preferred method for business correspondence because the sender and the recipient have an accessible record of what was agreed upon, assuming you have a storage methodology that enables you to find sent and received emails easily.
  3. 37% of business professionals retain messages according to their content. Not all email is business critical and end-users are most knowledgeable about what needs to be retained (e.g., a client requested change that will affect the budget) and what doesn’t (e.g., the announcement of this year’s holiday party).
  4. 31% of users are keeping email indefinitely, and 26% retaining it less than 120 days. Neither of these are a good practice, let alone a “best practice.” Keeping emails indefinitely leads to unnecessary and increasingly large expenditures on storage. Likewise, deleting all emails after a certain period of time (i.e., 120 days) will:
    1. Encourage employees to store business critical email on their hard drives before it is deleted
    2. Result in the deletion of business-critical emails that should have been archived; and/or
    3. Cause the firm to fail to meet legal retention requirements in the advent of a lawsuit.
  5. 67% of companies use maximum mailbox sizes as a method for creating de facto retention limits. Similar to deleting emails after a certain time period, setting de facto retention limits on mailbox sizes opens the company up to the same risks of legal consequences, financial consequences, loss or organizational memory, loss of accountability and failure to provide useful service to customers.

The first step is to have your legal, IT and/or records management departments determine an effective email management protocol for your firm based on industry standards and requirements and your individual business needs. Then you’ll need a tool like Email Manager to incorporate these emails into your document management system.

Two Questions

  1. What actions are you and your firm taking to ensure that you have a sound email management policy in place?
  2. What is your plan to ensure that all relevant email is being effectively captured, managed and stored with other important records?

If “none” and/or “I don’t know” are your answers, contact us for a free consultation on Email Manager.