Keep it how long?

We’re all good at creating documents. We probably create them at a far faster rate than we properly administer them.   Do you know how long to keep which documents? It’s surprising for some. Did you know job applications should be kept a minimum of two years? If you hire the person the recommended retention period is the entire length of their employment PLUS four years! Paper and electronic documents, even emails, are treated the same from a document retention standpoint.   You must think broadly when you think about records retention.

Depending on the type of work your business does you need to consider federal, state, local, even industry regulations.   There are plenty of resources to help determine retention timeframes, and If a retention period is not known for a particular type of data, seven years (the minimum IRS recommendation) is often used as a safe timeframe.

We all need good data retention, retrieval, and destruction policies. It’s safer to appropriately retain data, none of us want to see noncompliance lead to legal issues.   We can manage rows of file cabinets or info in the cloud, but whatever approach we take we need to think seriously before we keep, or toss/delete documents of all types.

How does your company handle records retention? Any best practices to share?