How You Can Stay on Top of HR Compliance Issues

How You Can Stay on Top of HR Compliance Issues

Posted by Melissa Fleischer, Esq. on Oct 16th 2015

The HR world constantly changes at all levels, including federal, state, and city ordinances. HR managers, especially those that work for small businesses, often have a hard time keeping up with changing laws. In fact, more than 90% of companies seek outside advice on compliance issues. Employment lawsuits have increased 400% in the last 20 years, so it is critical that employers stay up to date on regulations. Is your HR department struggling to keep up? Here are a few tips.

Stay in the Know

HR managers have a lot more to worry about than just compliance. They juggle interviewing, hiring, employee documents, training initiatives, and more. It's no surprise that studying ever-changing employment law falls on the back burner sometimes. But, that's exactly what HR managers should do to stay ahead.

As resistant to change as some HR departments may be, proactively jumping into new policies is beneficial for everyone. HR will have to implement these laws at some point anyway, and doing it sooner rather than later will give everyone ample time to adjust. Keep up to date on policies coming down the line so you're prepared when it's time to act.

Create a Blueprint for Handling Compliance

Instead of dealing with issues as they arise, create a plan that outlines how to prevent them and what to do if they occur. The U.S Department of Labor outlined a program that will help companies manage compliance. The Plan/Prevent/Protect strategy is actually a federal regulation that some companies must implement. But, it should serve as inspiration for those that aren't:

  • Plan: Find areas where there may be a risk of legal and other violations. Engage employees in the plan and encourage them to participate in its creation. Provide copies of the plan to employees and ask for help to oversee its implementation. Above all, keep communication lines open.
  • Prevent: Go beyond the paper. Make sure the plan you and your employees create is actually implemented. Too many "mission statements" are developed and then filed away. Take the time to get every employee on board.
  • Protect: Regularly check up on employees to make sure the plan's objectives are met. Remember, the plan is to protect the employee from violations, so let them know it's in their best interest.

The Dreaded Audit

The word HR audit can send shivers down anyone's spine. But in HR, it's necessary to ensure compliance. It doesn't have to be hard, though. Create a simple checklist of particularly challenging areas like hiring, wages, employee relations, and employee rights. Conduct audits on a regular basis using the checklist. When laws change, you'll have a list to cross-reference so you're not scrambling to meet regulations.

Overall, the best way to stay on top of HR compliance is with communication and preparedness. If you're proactive and other employees know what's going on, it might just make your life a little easier.