A Simple Checklist to Ensure Legal Compliance
Whether you are a business with 50,000 employees or a team of 4, the minute a business goes beyond a sole proprietorship, human resource practices and policies are needed. Obviously there are certain processes required by law, but in addition to that, there are practices that should be in place to protect a business and its employees.
Almost important as having the practices in place themselves is the act of conducting a yearly audit. A former CEO used to say “inspect what you expect”. As I think about the importance of HR audits, this saying always comes to mind. The point of an annual HR audit is to inspect what you expect.
You expect that you have accurate job descriptions. Inspect them.
You expect that your disciplinary process is effective and consistently administered. Inspect it.
You expect that your handbook is current and accurately portrays the way you conduct business. Inspect it.
You expect that your business is compliant with all federal and state laws. Inspect them.
HR Audits are important for any small business wondering if they are compliant with laws. They are also important for a new HR leader taking over from a previous professional. In addition, as I’ve already alluded to, it is important to do a yearly refresh just to make sure nothing should be updated that you thought was taken care of.
To help you I have updated my HR Audit checklist and am giving it to you for free. This is the same checklist I use with my clients. Here is the best way to use it.
1. Set aside some time to go item by item and determine where each stands. You may need to gather your HR and recruiting team or other leaders to help you.
2. Determine what areas need implementation (meaning you have nothing in place currently) or what areas need updating.
3. Determine if any of the areas that need implementation are of legal importance. To help, these are specifically marked in the workbook.
4. Put a plan in place to correct those areas first and quickly.
5. Determine areas that need to be updated and decide on an action plan to cover each area.
6. Keep your audit documentation. I know, we HR people love our documentation. The reason I suggest keeping this workbook along with your action notes is that sometimes in an audit situation (as in a DOL audit), the individual will give you credit for trying to correct a situation even if you aren’t there yet. That’s not to say they won’t fine or penalize, but they may go easier on you. I have had two small businesses go through this exact situation and the auditor did appreciate that they were working on the areas of concern.
Once you are all finished mark your calendar for the same time next year to review everything again.