Managing employees is an important part of your nonprofit. The documents relating to employee management, thus, are another important set of documents for your nonprofit—much like the organizational documents we explored last week. These documents, however, are operational and, unlike your organizational documents, will change over time and as needed.

Personnel documents will include an Employee Manual, although it may be called Human Resource Policy, Personnel Policy, etc. This document should contain, in great detail, all the rules and procedures you expect employees to follow and/or adhere to. You should require all employees to sign an acknowledgement of receiving and reading this document. Depending upon the size and needs of your organization, your Personnel Policy may also have sections relating to employee travel, financial procedures, etc. Some large organizations may have separate policies covering these topics.

Job descriptions are another important human resource document. Job descriptions should do just that—describe the job expectations. Your job descriptions should drive your performance reviews of employees. These are documents that should be reviewed and revised as necessary.

Many of your personnel documents will be stored in each employee’s personnel files. There are a few items that may be relevant for your nonprofit employee that should NOT be in an individual’s personnel file. These documents include:

  • Performance information the employee has not seen.
  • Supervisor note or logs to assist with a performance review (anything important in the notes should be captured in the performance review).
  • Medical information, including drug testing results. You may keep certain employee medical information; however, it should be kept separate from the person’s personnel file.
  • Any complaint that is subject to an investigation should also be kept in a separate place, not in the employee’s personnel file.
  • Other documents that should be kept separately include letters of reference, background checks, I-9 forms and statistical information gathered for EEO reporting.
  • Payroll information should be kept separate, as well.

There are also documents that SHOULD always be included in an employee’s personnel file. Nonprofit Accounting Basics gives a list:

  •  Job description
  •  Application and/or resume
  •  Employment letter
  •  IRS Form W-4 (withholding)
  •  Signed acknowledgement of receipt of Personnel Policy/ Employee Handbook
  •  Performance reviews
  •  Employee benefits information
  •  Emergency contact and/or next of kin information
  •  Formal complaints
  •  Awards or honors
  •  Attendance information (related to tardiness or missing work)
  •  Training information
  •  Warnings or other disciplinary actions
  •  Contracts, written agreements, etc. between employee and your nonprofit
  •  Termination documents (if relevant)

Learn more about the documents related to managing employees at your nonprofit with these online resources:

Blue Avocado Personnel Guide
Council for Nonprofits Job Description Information

Mission Box Advice for Personnel Documents