3 December 2020

How to manage data retention with specialist HR software when offboarding

With an open, international job market, dealing with data retention when offboarding is now more challenging than ever – discover how specialist HR software helps you keep on top of compliance and streamlines your processes


Bogdan Tiganov

Bogdan Tiganov

Bogdan Tiganov was head of content at Ciphr from October 2020 to September 2021.


HR transformation


With an open, international job market, dealing with data retention when offboarding is now more challenging than ever ­­– discover how specialist HR software helps you keep on top of compliance and streamlines your processes

The marketplace is now open internationally and people, for the most part, aren’t limited to working for organisations that are in their immediate vicinity. Today, the average person has 12 jobs in their lifetime. Coupled with the increased use of social media for job scoping or hunting, and many organisations having a web presence of some kind, employees can look at the benefits of working for organisations globally and progress their careers rapidly.

To make matters more complex, there has also been a massive rise of freelance, ad hoc, and gig workers. The result of all these changes in our working lives has made offboarding and data retention an increasingly difficult task to manage for HR teams. HR needs watertight processes and systems to collect and store data on employees securely, including information on pay and sickness, to follow any compliance requirements or answer to requests from individuals for data access.

Integration streamlines offboarding management

A recommended method for managing the many associated tasks of offboarding is to create a checklist to ensure that you’ve covered everything from data retention compliance, exit interviews, and gathering documentation, such as tax forms.

You’ll also need to let IT know that employees have left so that all access rights are revoked. With integrated systems, transferring accurate employee data across multiple applications becomes straightforward. Specialist HR software, such as Ciphr HR, offers you a single source of truth database and the ability to integrate with an ecosystem of partners. Once an employee leaves, the updates that you make in the central database to their data will be reflected, automatically, in your integrated systems.

Manual or digital data retention

Organisations can choose to keep hard copy or electronic records of their people data. If you’re working with paper records, you should look to maintain an accurate filing system and ensure that records are shredded and disposed of when the data retention period has passed.

The shift to digital promises a more efficient way of managing employee data. Specialist HR software enables you to search across your entire database in seconds and filter records to discover the records you need. Seeing visual representations of data, or receiving reminders, can also help you to keep track of data retention priorities.

However you choose to manage your records, the key is to have easy access when called upon and the ability to respond accurately and on time.

Prioritise GDPR compliance

GDPR compliance, implemented by the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), is a giant hurdle to overcome for HR and one that comes with negative exposure, and fines, if not done right. With specialist HR software, you’ll have an improved user experience with rapid access to a dedicated GDPR dashboard that displays which employees have left. From here, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to anonymise or delete their records.

While it’s important to understand the statutory retention periods, you’ll want to establish a process for data retention as quickly as possible. Specialist HR software enables you to define retention periods for all employees, and allocate different periods to individuals, teams, or locations.

Ciphr HR enables you to report on GDPR compliance when required to do so, including whether you have consent to hold data. You can view segments in your organisation and spot if you have records that are overdue and require immediate removal.

Effortlessly deal with subject access requests (SAR)

Current or former employees can request a SAR, at any time, which means that organisations need to respond with all the data they hold on them. Anyone can freely ask for a SAR, and organisations should comply within one month.

With Ciphr HR, you can reactivate access to former employees for them to view and download their records, ensuring that you answer SAR requests on time.