HR Compliance Audit

4 Ways to Make Your Employee Handbook More Effective

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Your company’s employee handbook is one of its most important documents. From directly communicating your expectations and requirements to employees to giving staff a blueprint for success, an employee handbook has several goals to achieve.

The primary goal of your employee handbook is to ensure that everyone that’s part of your company or organization, from managers to new hires, is on the same page with regards to conduct, goals and culture.

Sounds challenging, doesn’t it? With the right strategy and techniques, it’s possible for your company to create a fantastic employee handbook. Read on to learn four ways to make your company’s handbook significantly more effective.

1. Keep it simple, straightforward and accessible. 

Many companies make the mistake of making their employee handbooks as dense and comprehensive as possible. This, unfortunately, often means listing rule after rule in dense, challenging language, with little readable content in between.

Your employee handbook needs to clearly establish your rules and expectations, but it also needs to be readable. Dense, complex legal language is far more likely to turn employees away than encourage them to continue reading.

Make sure your employee handbook contains all of the information that employees need to know, but don’t overdo the complexity. Keep it simply, straightforward and accessible and you’ll find it far easier to effectively communicate with your staff.

2. Create a clear code of conduct for employees. 

Does your employee handbook include a code of conduct? Your company’s code of conduct is one of the most important elements of its employee handbook, giving it an in-depth listing of behavioral and ethical expectations for its employees.

Start creating your employee handbook by establishing a clear code of conduct for your employees to follow. Offer detailed information on all relevant aspects of at-work behavior and conduct so that your company’s expectations are clear.

Clear, straightforward communication of your company’s conduct expectations is the key to creating a productive, effective workplace in which every individual has an excellent understanding of what is and isn’t okay.

3. Don’t keep it static – revise and update over time. 

As time goes on and your business grows larger and more successful, you may need to update your employee handbook to cover new expectations, practices and other information.

This means dedicating time to revisiting your employee handbook and making all of the necessary revisions on a frequent basis. Once per year is a great goal to aim for – a schedule that allows your employee handbook to adapt alongside your business.

Updating your employee handbook on a frequent, consistent schedule also makes it easier to incorporate changes to HR regulations and law into your handbook, giving your company the protection it needs against lawsuits and other legal action.

4. Double check everything with your legal department. 

Since your company’s employee handbook is an important document that outlines your conduct and behavior expectations, it needs to comply with all relevant laws that govern your company’s conduct.

Before publishing your employee handbook – or releasing an updated version after making changes to its content – ensure it’s checked in detail by your company’s legal team to make sure it’s compliant with the law.

If your company doesn’t have an in-house legal department, hire a professional to review your employee handbook. Although there are costs associated with getting expert legal advice, they’re small in comparison to the cost of a serious lawsuit.

5 Practices for a More Effective HR Compliance Audit

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From accountancy to marketing, auditing your business’s practices is an excellent way to ensure you’re working as efficiently, effectively and in compliance with the law.

By carrying out HR audits on a consistent schedule, your business can ensure its HR department is focused on achieving its goals and following established practices and procedures for successful, legal conduct.

Regular HR audits also reduce the risk of your business facing a lawsuit brought on by inappropriate or non-compliant HR processes. This makes the costs of an audit – mostly the time involved – an extremely small price to pay for legal security.

Is your business preparing to conduct its first HR audit? Whether you’re conducting a regular HR audit or preparing for your business’s first, read on to learn five ways to make your HR compliance audit process more efficient and effective.

1. Use checklists for each aspect of your HR audit. 

One of the most challenging aspects of an HR compliance audit is keeping track of what work has been completed, what work is still to be completed, and what tasks are likely to demand a significant amount of your team’s resources.

Checklists are helpful audit tools that allow your team to easily keep track of where it’s currently operating, what it’s already completed and which priorities remain to be achieved.

Create checklists for each aspect of your HR audit – from checking records to using up-to-date practices – so that your entire HR team can accurately measure all of its progress as it makes its way through the compliance audit process.

2. Work according to your HR conduct manual. 

Does your company have an HR conduct manual? Your HR conduct manual should clearly document the rules and regulations – as well as guidelines – that your HR department should follow as part of its decision making.

A high quality HR conduct manual provides frameworks for your HR department to work within, making it far easier for members of your business’s human resources team to act consistently across cases.

Although this may not be a high priority during audit time, it’s extremely important for minimizing the amount of time your business needs to spend on each audit and streamlining the process of HR management.

3. Locate areas for change, then start prioritizing. 

One of the most important aspects of any HR audit is identifying problems that have arisen within your HR department, then working out how they can be solved using a variety of methods.

A challenging aspect of this process, however, is working out which issues deserve the most attention. How should your HR department prioritize its time to solve the problems it faces as efficiently as possible?

Once your HR team has identified major issues and areas for change, create specific priority lists so that it has clear objectives to work to, allowing change to be made as quickly and effectively as possible.

4. Make reporting and recording key priorities. 

The better your HR department’s documentation, the easier it is to complete an HR compliance audit. In-depth, detailed documentation of processes and events is also key to ensuring your audit achieves actual change instead of just cosmetic change.

Not only does thorough documentation give your human resources team the data it needs to make smart, effective decisions – it also protects your business in the event you face a lawsuit or noncompliance claim.

Recording events, meetings and other HR-related information may require a more focused effort in the short term, but it offers significant long-term advantages for your HR department and your business as a whole.

5. Stay up-to-date on new HR laws and regulations. 

More than many other areas of your business, the HR department is subject to laws and regulations that change frequently. This makes it essential that your HR team is completely up-to-date on all of the relevant regulations it needs to comply with.

As part of your HR compliance audit, ensure that your HR department is 100% up-to-date with all recent changes to HR law, particularly the changes that could have the most significant impact on your business’s human resources practices.

Like record-keeping, remaining up-to-date on HR regulations is a demanding and intensive process. However, it plays a major role in ensuring your business is not subject to legal action as a result of outdated HR decisions.