What is an HR Audit?
A Human Resource Audit should provide a comprehensive assessment of HR management activities and practices. This professional and objective review identifies the gap between current efforts within HR and recommended practices. The audit report should outline recommendations and practical solutions to close the gap between current practices and proven HR best practices.
After conducting HR audits for organizations for many years, there are five recommendations that are often listed in an HR audit report. These areas of concern should be addressed by companies to limit liability and fines as well as improve employee/employer relationships.
Complete or correct 1-9 forms for all employees
An employer is required to have a completed I-9 form on file for each employee on the payroll. This includes full-time and part-time employees of the company.
When reviewing I-9 forms, some common errors include:
- the employee not signing the top section
- proper forms of documentation not provided
- information on documentation copied in incorrect areas on the form
- hire date missing
- company information incomplete or missing
- company representative signature missing
When errors are found on the I-9 form, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requires correction of I-9 forms be done in a very specific way. Corrected forms do not necessarily relieve a company from ICE fines and penalties.
Develop or revise employee handbook
All companies should have an employee handbook whether there are 10 employees or thousands of employees. The employee handbook provides information on the company’s policies, procedures and benefits. It outlines management and human resource best practices and provides the employee with an understanding of company expectations.
The contents of the employee handbook may vary depending on the number of employees at any given company. For example, a company with less than 50 employees is not required to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and is not required to have a FMLA policy in the handbook. Handbooks should be reviewed and updated to ensure compliance with changes in laws and regulations and to reflect changes in company benefits and policies. Every employee should receive a copy of the employee handbook and sign an acknowledgment form stating they have received and read the handbook.
Develop or update job descriptions
There should be a job description for each position within a company. The employee and the employee’s manager should have a copy of their job description and a signed job description should be filed in the employee’s personnel file. The job description is an important part of various HR processes including hiring, orientation and employee performance management. Job descriptions often become outdated because they are not reviewed on an annual basis. The job description should reflect the duties performed by the employee at the present time. A current job description helps employees understand their job duties, and it should be the basis for their performance evaluations.
Develop an interviewing/hiring process and provide training for managers
A structured interviewing/hiring process ensures the company selects the most qualified applicants for all open positions. It’s important to develop guidelines and procedures for the process and follow them for all hiring decisions. Often managers who are interviewing and hiring employees have not received proper interviewing skills training. They may ask discriminatory questions or questions that are not relevant to the position. Behavioral interviewing techniques are very helpful to understand an applicant’s past skills and experience and determine if those skills and experience are relevant to the skills and experience required for the position. Training in behavioral interviewing is beneficial in selecting an applicant that is the most skilled and the best fit for the position and the company.
Develop or revise the performance evaluation process
An excellent employee performance evaluation process is a win-win for the company and the employee. All employees should receive feedback on their performance whether it’s positive feedback or constructive feedback.
As mentioned in Recommendation #3, job descriptions are an important part of the performance evaluation process. If the employee and the manager do not have a current job description for the employee’s position, it is difficult for the employee to understand their job expectations and for the manager to effectively evaluate job performance. Often companies have an evaluation form, but evaluations are not a company priority and are not completed on a consistent basis. It can also be challenging to have an effective evaluation system if managers have not been trained on the requirements of the evaluation process. Conducting employee evaluations on a consistent basis improves employee performance and the employee/manager relationship.
If you are responsible for human resource management policies and practices for your company, do you believe you would receive an A+ in the five areas listed above on your HR audit?
Charlotte Mason is President and Founder of Advantage Resource group. Her areas of specialty include Human Resource Consulting, Management Training and Business Coaching.