It’s hard to believe that we are nearly halfway through 2021. The last 18 months have challenged employers to modify how and where we work, while staying informed of constant updates in federal and state laws and regulations. Likely, the processes that ensured efficiency and order while working from our company offices may not be working as well from our homes. Mid-year is the perfect time to think about a business version of spring cleaning; reviewing HR and Payroll processes and procedures to ensure (and improve) compliance, efficiency, and accuracy.
Focus and Scope
It is crucial to consider the focus of your HR audit by identifying a few areas that need attention. Additionally, determining the scope or extent of the assessment is necessary to plan for the time and resources vital to perform and complete it accurately. Below are some areas for consideration:
- Employee Files: An evaluation of employee files has many different meanings. The breadth can include anything from inspecting current (and former employee files) to ensuring all pertinent documents have been completed and filed correctly, to scrutinizing and revising, or creating a employee file retention policy.
- I-9s: Compliance in this area is particularly complex. A probe may include confirming a form is filed for each employee and/or assessing forms to verify it was filled out appropriately by both the employer and employee.
- Training: Many states and industries have requirements for mandatory training. Some states require employers to provide training to employees and managers on Harassment Prevention, as well as other areas of safety and compliance. An audit can consist of evaluating the training framework, whether all employees have met the requirements, or ensure documentation and certificates were issued and saved appropriately.
Resources and Compliance
Once the focus and scope of the review are confirmed, it is crucial to seek out reputable resources to ensure the process is assessed with compliance in mind. This may mean reaching out to the company’s employment counsel for guidance or utilizing federal and state websites, such as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, which offers guidance for completing the form and performing an audit.
Timing and Checklist
We all know an afternoon of tidying up a closet needs a different approach than cleaning gutters, where more planning, time, and resources are required to get the job done. Regular examination of HR and Payroll records, processes, and policies are vital to the smooth and compliant operations of the company. Be sure to allow enough time to perform a thorough examination. Creating a checklist to document the process and progress will aid staying on track and not overlooking essential components.
Making Corrections and Improvements
Once completed, it is important to document the outcomes and prioritize any clean-up or corrections needed. For example, an employee who missed a mandatory training may not be as critical as several employees whose files are missing background checks. The prioritization of corrections may also be driven by how simple or complex the fix will be.
There may be occasions where the outcome reveals a significant issue that requires a thought out plan (and other individuals) to correct. In the same way a spring cleaning project might lead you to discover a significant crack in the home’s foundation, you may find key areas of non-compliance. Unveiling these is an opportunity to reduce or even eliminate risk and liability or simply refine processes and policies to further strengthen operations.