Steps To Maintain GDPR Compliant HR Systems

Steps to maintain GDPR compliant HR systems

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new set of data protection regulations enforced by the European Union that came into effect from 25th May 2018. This was created because employees generate a considerable amount of personal data that the Human Resource department has to collect, store, and manage. Even if HR is handling an excel file with employee contact information, it is subjected to GDPR and HR systems requirements. 

As per a report by IAPP, GDPR compliance was the topmost priority for 58% of companies in Europe. A GDPR-compliant HR software system can reduce the effect of GDPR on the HR team, freeing up their time, and enabling better compliance. 

Here are a few steps to maintain GDPR compliant HR systems. 

1. Keep HR Data Secure

As per GDPR and HR systems, personal data has to be processed by making sure it is secure. Personal data refers to any detail associated with an identifiable person who can be indirectly or directly identified in particular by reference to the identifier and covers spreadsheets, paper files, and digital documents.

The burden is on you as the data controller for demonstrating. For instance, where the details have been stored, why it has been collected, who has access to it, and the best GDPR and HR systems to store the data. 

Another thing that you need to take into account is the data location. The UK Government has stated that they will allow UK data to flow to EEA during hard Brexit, the converse isn’t true.

With the help of some GDPR and HR system tools, you can store the human resource information in a secure online HR system. You can take advantage of the advanced security at each level from role-based access to data encryption to the HR system. When you use this, there is no need to secure paper-based files. Digital or scanned documents can be uploaded to the software system and protected using advanced security. 

2. Enhance Data Security

The GDPR and HR systems need personal data to be complete and accurate. So, HR has to put it right when it is not. But it can become unmanageable if employees don’t have access to what data you are holding. The GDPR includes best practice recommendations wherever possible. Companies should provide remote access to a secure self-service system to give employees direct access to their information.

There are tools that make it easier to manage employee self-service with approval workflows and role-based security. Thus, your employees can check their details and remain in complete control of those details. These tools can be configured to fit your requirements. For instance, deciding which details employees can edit, or if the changes should be approved, or who is going to approve them in the GDPR and HR systems. 

It is an efficient and secure way to make sure your organization is complying with GDPR requirements. It delivers a service that will make life much easier for the managers, as well as the employees.

3. Appoint a Data Protection Individual

Get in touch with a data processor or a data controller as the people managing the data, to limit the number of people having access to it. Also, the data controller has to train employees to process data and keep everyone updated about GDPR best practices.

  • Choose someone with a robust insight into data protection policies and offer ongoing training and education on the topic. 
  • Get a contract with the offices that cater to the criteria of GDPR and HR systems. According to the stipulation of GDPR, the officers accidentally independently can’t face repercussions to carry out the responsibilities. 

4. Consider the Legality of Processing

The personal data being processed for HR purposes has to be justified on a minimum of one strictly prescribed legal ground. The days to rely on the consent of employees that is difficult to justify and is unattractive since the right to withdraw consent has to be honored, in the context of an employment relationship, has ended. Rather alternative legal grounds, such as contractual necessity and the legitimate interests of the organization are needed.

So, organizations, should-

  • Audit and allocate certain GDPR-compliant legal grounds to known HR data processing purposes and activities, including the ones that involve special categories. 
  • Update contractual documents and policy for removing reference to employee consent as the legal basis for data processing in GDPR and HR systems. 
  • Document all valid legal ground within the confines of privacy notices, and where required or possible under local laws, a company’s record to process activities. 

5. Revisit Contractual Agreements

If any third party is handling your data, revisit the contractual agreements. In case you share employee data with third parties, it is crucial to ascertain that your contracts cater to the requirements of GDPR and HR systems. You should review the list of payroll business partners and HR, and evaluate if they are GDPR compliant. 

  • Check the old list of how contract and employee data flows across borders. 
  • Collect data on contacts with whom you are sharing data. This ensures, when asked, you will be able to provide the details. 

Keep in mind, only allowing third-party to access information includes data sharing. In case a consultant aboard can review the data at any point that is a transfer. 

When you are using software from an outside entity for processing personal data, ensure it supports you when it comes to maintaining GDPR compliance.

6. Manifest Data Breach Procedure

Accidents can happen. So, decide and format a procedure as to what to do when a breach occurs. Set down a policy on data breaches to the data protection authority within 72 hours and decide on the mitigation method to use. 

  • Let them know if the data breaches had been incidental and it will result in a high risk to the freedom and rights of individuals.
  • Make sure that the data controller has the contact details for the right DPA as he/she is responsible for reporting a breach in the GDPR and HR systems. 

When a data breach happens, taking these steps will help your data breach case. Showing that you are making an effort to follow new rules will minimize the repercussions and the chance of the breach having a detrimental effect.


If your organization follows the above-mentioned steps, it can proceed as uninterrupted as you get up to speed with GDPR. Please note that GDPR is here to stay, so take the necessary steps to maintain GDPR compliant HR systems for your organization.

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