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An Ounce of Prevention: The Comprehensive HR Audit

HR Audit Guide

An internal HR audit has the same goal as any other audit: to scrutinize business operations to ensure best practices are in place and consistently applied. Of course, an HR audit is exclusively focused on HR practices, offering an opportunity to identify deficiencies in employment policies and their application, employment-related documentation, and compliance with relevant employment law. Proactively auditing HR practices is the most effective method of addressing small issues before they have a chance to take up time and money that would be better spent elsewhere.

If you haven’t conducted a full review within the last couple of years, let this guide serve as a wake-up call to making an audit part of your Engagement Plan for the coming year.

WHY DO AN AUDIT?

The job of a Human Resources, Employee Relations or Labor Relations professional is often reactive: investigating employee relations issues, responding to a compliance violation, or searching through poorly maintained records when a legal claim is made. However, it is far more satisfying to take a proactive approach and address small problems before they become major headaches. HR auditing sets businesses up for success, establishing basic HR practices. Audits systematically review whether and how policies are being applied, ensuring consistency among staff members and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Other benefits of HR audits include:

• Company-wide adoption of best practices

• Identification of potential processes improvements

• Reduction of errors and employee complaints

• Proactive preparation for government investigations

• Reduced likelihood of fines for noncompliance with employment regulations

• Possible reduction in insurance expenses

• Improved utilization of legal budgets

• Increased buy-in from managers regarding HR policies and practices

• Reduced likelihood of successful union organizing

HR Audit Guide

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO YOUR FIRST AUDIT

Launching an HR audit is a major endeavor, and it is important to secure the appropriate resources. These subject matter experts are particularly helpful:

Legal Counsel – The results of an audit can be discoverable in future legal proceedings. Consult legal counsel for advice on protecting the business.

Department Leaders – Enlisting the help of department leaders saves time. They can point you towards the relevant records and explain how policies are applied from day to day.

Once your team is assembled, outline the areas you will audit and develop a list of audit questions. Common inquiries for HR audits include the following…

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Conducting an HR Audit

Creating a More Engaged Workforce With Improved Policies

Creating a highly engaged workforce has become a vital aspect of business success. Statistically, employee engagement has been poor in the last few years. According to recent data from Gallup, nearly 70 percent of the American workforce is disengaged; around the world it’s worse, with only 15 percent of workers engaged. When employee engagement is low, it can harbor dissatisfaction in employees, making them susceptible to reduced productivity, turnover and an increased presence of labor unions. Therefore, all organizations must have a system for checking that their labor and employment practices are conducive to a highly engaged workforce.

Our comprehensive guide to conducting an HR Audit can help you form a plan of action for making sure that your company is on the right track. Here are five incredibly easy (and practical) first steps you can take to develop workforce policies that promote improved employee engagement:

1. Review all Recruitment and Hiring Processes

The journey to greater employee engagement can be a difficult one, but it is easier to manage with a clear roadmap. This often starts before an individual actually begins work — in the pre-hire stage of their experience. When a company’s brand reputation emphasizes a positive culture where employees feel valued, it sets things up for long-term success.

What you can do now: The applicant tracking system and way candidates are treated throughout the interview, hiring and on boarding process makes a huge difference. Use the audit guide to help you to identify any areas that need to be corrected.

2. Improve your Compensation and Perks

All human resource teams must ensure that employees are receiving the best possible compensation and benefits in order to remain competitive. The 2017 PayScale Compensation Best Practices Report indicated that 32 percent of top performing companies have changed their compensation strategies as a result of employee engagement feedback. More employers are actively listening to what their employees are asking for and taking steps to ensure they get what they need.

What you can do now: Take the time to conduct a brief survey of your employees to find out if your compensation program needs improvement.

HR Audit Guide

3. Ensure Secure and Accessible Information

In today’s business world, everything from customer data to employee information is stored in a digital format. This often includes the use of scheduling, payroll, performance and benefit platforms. Ongoing monitoring is needed to ensure that data is accurate and up-to-date and that people are paid correctly.

What you can do now: Your organization should verify that all information systems are secure from information breaches, and accessible and easy-to-use for employees. A third-party auditing firm can often pinpoint potential issues.

4. Improve the Work Environment

Working conditions make a big difference in how employees view their employer. There are too many toxic conditions invading otherwise good companies. The aspects that human resources can control include: having clearly written policies to deal with things like employee grievances, anti-bullying, drug use, union card signing, and more.

What you can do now: Review employee handbooks and update labor law posters in employee break areas. For some objective feedback, ask employees during exit interviews what the company can do better.

5. Boost Employee Performance Management

When employees are recognized for their efforts at work, they tend to stay more engaged in their careers. Having a professional development program to guide employees through the various stages of career growth is one step in the right direction.

What you can do now: Review job types with management and create structured learning paths for each department.

By following this checklist , any human resource team can help to elevate employee engagement, productivity, knowledge and morale.

Looking For More? Download our FREE Guide to conducting a Labor & Employment Audit to help you make your workplace more positive & productive!

How The Millennial Workforce Will Change HR Forever

For a long time employees joined a company, contributed to a retirement plan, and stayed for decades, slowly moving up the corporate ladder. That depiction no longer reflects the modern workplace or the modern workforce. Millennials have different needs and expectations, but if you are willing to adapt, you can ensure you continue to attract the talent your business needs.

Create Mechanisms for Frequent Feedback

Millennials crave feedback, far more often than managers are willing to provide. At most companies, managers conduct an annual review with direct reports to evaluate their performance. Some well-known companies now provide bimonthly feedback sessions to better engage younger employees that aren’t comfortable having that conversation once a year. Millennials are tech-savvy, and it is often necessary to use a variety of channels such as videos, websites, and interactive tools to better track progress and provide feedback. Firms must clearly communicate near-term goals along with the intermediary steps necessary to reach those goals, and it’s often beneficial to work with outside partners to help craft those messages.

Outline Paths for Advancement

Millennials want to know how they are performing, and they also want to know where that performance will take them. The timeline for career advancement has shrunk considerably; millennials expect a promotion every one to two years. This is of course not feasible for your entire workforce, but for top performers, granting an extra title or other recognition could stave off headhunters looking to capitalize on any dissatisfaction. According to some studies, 60 percent of millennials will leave a job within the first three years; with a workforce that fickle, a little extra spending now could save significant hiring costs later.

Offer Service Opportunities

It’s not enough to just offer a paycheck; employers also have to offer a sense of purpose. According to one study, two-thirds of millennials won’t take a job offer from a company that doesn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility program. Hiring managers need to make sure that they emphasize opportunities for engagement as part of the total compensation package when recruiting top talent. From a logistical perspective, companies need to build programs to provide service opportunities or partner with service organizations that can provide that infrastructure.

Millennials comprise a steadily growing portion of the workforce, and companies that want to compete for the best talent will need to adapt to that reality. While some of the demands of millennial employees may seem taxing or silly to managers, failing to adapt to those demands in time could mean a significant slowdown in hiring, and in turn, competitiveness.  The good news is that making these changes, and using comprehensive communications solutions to connect can boost morale not just among millennials and new hires, but throughout your entire workforce.

2017: Changes Coming to HR

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The Human Resources field is changing, and the role of an HR Manager isn’t what it was 20 – or even 10 – years ago. Today’s HR professionals face many challenges that are unique to our ever-changing times. Take a look at the following list

IT Integration

Many hiring managers must work closely with a company’s IT department, in particular when it comes to recruiting and screening potential employees. Technology such as automatic resume review and analytics are playing an increasingly prominent role in today’s HR world.

Employee Engagement

Those entering the workforce today are, in general, far more engaged than those of previous generations. Many view their workplace as an extension of themselves, and not just somewhere to earn a paycheck. While this can be very beneficial to an employer, it means that the HR department may also have to wear many hats and take on tasks like party planning and seeking out employee volunteer opportunities.

Social Media

Employee grievances are far less likely to stay behind closed doors in these social media-saturated times. It’s never been more important for Human Resources managers to deal with any unresolved issues before employees take their complaints to social media – potentially damaging a company’s reputation along the way.

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Remote Work

Increasing numbers of companies are allowing at least some employees to work from home. While this arrangement can provide benefits to both the employee and employer, managing remote workers can bring up some new challenges for the HR department. This may include ensuring the lines of communication stay open and working with department managers to develop a culture of trust and accountability that fits within the flexible work arrangements.

RELATED: How to Build A Successful Remote Workforce

Labor Relations

Unions are nothing new – but the current proliferation of social media and other online activity can affect employees’ potential attempts to organize in major ways. It’s easier than ever for union reps to contact non-unionized employees via electronic means such as email, instant messages and chat forums. Human resources professionals must be aware of any potential employee interest in unionizing so they can take the appropriate actions. Fair or not, the human resources manager is often the first line of defense in communicating the benefits of remaining union-free.

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Becoming An Employer of Choice: Three Effective Ways to Boost Your Employer Brand

Boost Your Employer Brand

Your company’s brand can affect your ability to sell products or services, but your brand as an employer impacts your ability to recruit top talent. The Harvard Business Review writes that 73 percent of CEOs are concerned with talent shortages worldwide. In light of the new “war for talent,” strengthening your reputation as a great place to work can help you attract better new hires and improve your employee retention efforts. Join us as we review three smart steps to boosting your reputation among employees and talented job candidates.

1. Become a Learning Organization

Research by Deloitte indicates that learning and development are among the most pressing issues in effectively managing human capital challenges. Rich, multimedia options for employee learning can attract motivated new hires who are eager to improve their professional skill sets. Videos, web courses and other forms of eLearning can provide on-demand options for a global workforce and help position your brand as an employer of choice.

2. Improve Employee Engagement

Positive employee relations play a critical role in your digital employer brand. Potential new hires will scope out your recruitment materials, but they’re also likely to investigate how you’re represented by your current staff on LinkedIn, Twitter, employer reviews websites and other mediums.

Forbes declares that the days of a once-yearly employee engagement survey are officially over. Today’s HR teams and management should make engagement and staff happiness an ongoing conversation, which can include an official open-door policy, frequent data-collection and other methods of relationship-building.

Employee Orientations3. Maintain Competitive Total Compensation

Your organization’s ability to attract and retain talent will be impacted by your salaries. However, HR leaders should look beyond pure pay scales to consider their financial and non-financial employee benefits. As BluIvy group writes, it’s often about “the total compensation package, not just the salary.” Forms of non-salary and non-fiscal compensation that could strengthen your employer brand could include:

  • Benefits
  • Retirement plans
  • Learning & development opportunities
  • Work-life balance
  • Flexible or mobile workplaces
  • Employee discounts
  • Leadership training programs

While your candidates are likely to consider the impact of a salary offer, they’ll also consider an offer to telecommute and strong training programs as perks that can have a positive impact on their life.

Conclusion

Stiff competition for the most talented employees isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. By building a strong and comprehensive employer brand, HR leaders can achieve a global reputation as a positive place for talent to grow a career. By looking beyond pure salaries to learning and development, total compensation, engagement and more, you can boost your reputation.

Sources
https://hbr.org/2015/05/ceos-need-to-pay-attention-to-employer-branding
http://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/human-capital/articles/human-capital-trends-2015.html
http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2014/04/10/its-time-to-rethink-the-employee-engagement-issue/#7fac07231827
http://bluivygroup.com/a-strong-employer-brand-story-is-the-ultimate-weapon/