Three Ways Managers Can Prepare HR for an Audit
News of an impending audit can cause trepidation in a HR department. HR professionals might wonder: “Will this audit point out my short-comings? Will it mean more work for us?”
The reality is that a HR audit can be a collaborative process that can help the department operate more efficiently and strategically, and can enhance communication and trust throughout an entire organization.
So how can management help the human resources department see the benefits of an impending audit? Here are three key steps:
- Reassure HR personnel that they aren’t in trouble, but rather the auditors are coming to help. The audit will be an opportunity to see if things can be done differently, not a time to criticize. The consultant should prepare the HR department by letting them know there will be interviews, and that they will have an opportunity to share their operational knowledge and insight. HR personnel can describe the limitations and constrictions they perceive in their roles, which offer valuable context for the consultant around internal malfunctions and inefficiencies. The consultant works to establish a rapport, so that staff feel comfortable discussing these topics.
- Explain that the audit will allow the department to operate more strategically: By creating a better work plan, the audit can help HR stop spinning its wheels. If staff feel scattered and pulled in different directions, the audit will be a chance to develop a strategic path forward for the entire department.
- Remind them that the audit will manage expectations between the C-Suites and HR: An audit educates both sides of the equation. It provides the C-Suite with a true grasp on the HR department’s capacity, so that they have realistic expectations of what can be achieved. It also helps the HR leader and C-Suite executives align their strategies on internal pain points and plans for action. For example, if the HR department would like to implement a new performance management system, the audit is a great way to show its utility.
With the support of management, conducting an HR audit becomes a strategic process that helps position an organization competitively. Below is a list of key HR and business areas that should be carefully reviewed:
- Benefits programs
- COBRA and posting/distribution of proper notices
- EEO compliance of employment applications
- Employment letters
- Federal and state labor law compliance
- Employment eligibility verification
- Job descriptions
- Job interview questions/process
- New employee orientation/on-boarding
- New hire reporting
- Performance review process
- Recruitment and job posting policies
- Retirement plan compliance
- Post-termination policies
- Workers’ compensation
- Workplace safety