How to develop & arrange an Employee’s Personal Confidential File?

An employee is an asset for an organization if nurtured correctly. But sometimes due to some past issues, the employee may suffer along with the current organization he/she is working at. For this reason, background checking of an employee is a major role played by a Human Resource Management department of an organization. Now, I am going to tell you how to develop & arrange employee personal confidential file.

organize employee personnel files

Figure 1 To Develop & Arrange Employee Personal Confidential File Is A Very Important Part Of HR Management.

What is an Employee Personal Confidential File?

An employee’s personal confidential file is a file containing all the direct and indirect details of the employee. The file does not only contain information about the employee since his/her beginning of the work at the current organization. Rather, it contains the details of his/her personal information, verification of the information related to work and personal life, training and development details, and any other information that may or may not be directly related to the job.

Who can access the Employee Personal Confidential File?

An Employee Personal Confidential File is a very important file for the both employer and the employee. Regardless, it is most important to the Human Resource Management team.

As a result, such an important file cannot be accessed by anyone.

Only the employer, the employee, immediate supervisor, and the HRM department can access an employee’s personal confidential file.

organize employee personnel files

Figure 2 Employment Contract Goes To Employee Personal Confidential File

Elements Of Employee Personal Confidential File

To develop and arrange an employee personal confidential file, you should know which elements are often included in the employee personal confidential file –

  • Job Application provided by the employee
  • Curriculum Vitae and any Cover letter sent with it
  • Checking of Past experience
  • Verification of educational qualification
  • Offer Letter
  • Job Description
  • Appointment Letter
  • Employment Contract
  • Acknowledgment of Contract on behalf of the employee
  • Employee emergency contact details
  • Reference details for the job
  • Any recommendation from the previous employer/s
  • Training & development details
  • Copy of professional certifications
  • Any written examination is taken by the employee for employment or promotion
  • Employee training & development plan
  • Employee training & development performance
  • Employee performance evaluation
  • Employee evaluation details
  • Leave of absence details
  • Employee salary structure & compensation package
  • Any formal request made by the employee towards the organization
  • Any kinds of disciplinary actions taken against the employees
  • Any kind of payment made besides the monthly salary
  • Promotion/Increment/Incentive details
  • Drug test
  • Medical Records
  • Employment termination letter
  • Employee appeal against termination
  • Organizational actions against the employee
  • Employee grievance
  • Employment ending details

organize employee personnel files

Figure 3 You Need To Know What You Should Include And What Not In The Employee Personal Confidential File

How to develop & arrange employee personal confidential file in seven simple steps

Step – 1: Precision

I have already shown you major elements that may go into the employee’s personal files. But you do not need to enter all the elements.

Personal confidential file elements may vary from country to country and culture to culture.

Like in USA, a drug test result may go into employee personal confidential file as it is compulsory sometimes.

But in other countries, it may not be necessary.

So, you should know first exactly what to include and what not in the employee personal confidential file.

Step – 2: Job-related documents at your organization

When you have decided on which elements you should include in the employee personal confidential file, you should proceed to the second step.

The second step is to gather all the necessary information regarding the job of the employee at YOUR organization.

You should start with the interview or written examination details and personal data submitted by the employee him/herself.

When you have finished this step, then you should proceed to the next step.

Step – 3: Verification of Data

At this stage, you should be verifying the data and information submitted by the employee.

It included the educational details and job details submitted by the employee.

For your information, you should not sign an agreement with an employee until the verification is done.

For verifying the information you should use –

  • Primary data from the HRM department from the previous employer
  • Primary data from the Universities
  • Secondary data from the previous employers
  • Secondary data from the Universities
  • Secondary data from the training & development organizations

If you are satisfied with the details, then you can provide an offer letter/employment contract to the individual.

Otherwise, if you are not satisfied, you can provide him/her with a rejection letter and include it in the file. Then the file will not need further processing.

Step -4: Employment data

Right now, if you have already provided the individual with an employment contract, keep a copy of acknowledgment in the file along with acknowledgment of the employee handbook.

After that, keep records of all the information provided by the employee for the employment.

It can include various documents like employee medical records, drug tests, job descriptions, emergency contacts, a copy of social security number or national identity number, Tax identification number, etc.

organize employee personnel files

Figure 4 You Should Include Training & Development Data Of The Employee In The Employee Personal Confidential File

Step – 5: Training & Development Plans

You may need to train and develop a new employee. You should include the training & development plans of an employee in a personal and confidential file. If you think it is not important to develop and train, then you may skip it.

But every now and then you will feel the need for training and development of an employee.

That is why, whenever you will find the need for training and development, you should include the detailed plans in the employee personal confidential file.

If the training and development program is taken you will need to put additional details in the employee personal confidential file-

  • Materials of training and development for the individual
  • Copy of examinations taken by employee at the training and development program
  • Performance of all kinds in the training and development program
  • Any comment made by the instructor/recommendation at the training & development program
  • Any further training and development program needed for the individual

If you can train and develop an employee well, he/she can become an asset to the organization in no time.

Step – 6: Disciplinary actions/Recommendations

An employee can face disciplinary actions from time to time due to misbehaving, breaking rules, breaking norms and cultures of the organization.

If any of the cases happen for which he/she will face disciplinary action, all the details should go to the employee personal confidential file.

This is a very important point and for points like this, the employee confidential file is so much confidential and not accessible by everyone.

On the other hand, if evaluation happens and at the performance appraisal, the employee is recommended to be promoted, all the necessary information should be recorded in the employee personal confidential file.

Step – 7: Termination

Termination and ending of an employee contract are very confidential.

An employee can leave and organization for-

  • A better opportunity
  • A better career path
  • Retirement
  • For personal reasons
  • Due to problems with the current superior
  • Due to problems with the current environment
  • Due to professional problems
  • Due to less cooperation by the colleagues
  • Forced to leave the current post
  • Bad performance

etc. reasons

Whatever the reason is, all the records should go to the employee personal confidential file. Along with all the records of the payments made to the employee during his/her current period at the company.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you maintain employee personnel files?

You should not let anyone take the employee’s personal files out of the HR department. Only the line manager, employer, and HR department should have access to the employee personnel files.

2. How do I set up an employee personnel file?

Decide on what you should include in the employee personnel file. You must include employment data, verification data, training & development details, payroll details, all types of monetary transactions with the employee from the organization, disciplinary actions, and termination details in the file.

3. What should an employee personnel file contain?

  • Employment data
  • Verification data
  • Training & development details
  • Payroll details
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Termination details

4. What steps should an employer take to protect the confidentiality of their employee files?

  • Announce policies to access the files
  • Keep them secured at the department
  • Maintain a register of who should access the files
  • Stop unauthorized access
  • Try to implement laws at the office

5. What should not be in an employee personnel file?

You should avoid including the following elements in the employee’s personal file –

  • Previous employment details. But you can include the documents submitted by the employee and the verification data
  • Attendance report
  • Any previous complaint
  • Family-related medical documents submitted for leave of absence
  • Grievance issues
  • Court orders related to the employee


If you are keeping employees’ personal confidential files and are in charge of them, you should follow the seven steps and repeat them to keep the confidential files in check.

And always try to maintain confidentiality as the files are supposed to not leave the HR department in any case.

If only the law of the state or the country requires it, only then the information in the file can be revealed.

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