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Six Ways to Audit-Proof Your HR Function

By James Howlett - 6 Aug 2019
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There’s the rigid compliance absolutes such as meeting the National Minimum Wage and ensuring Right to Work, but also best practice methodology that signals process and procedure efficiency in recruitment, employee relations, training & development, performance management and competent document handling for all the above.

As HR functions work different ways according to the organisation they serve and its structure, auditors check every so often that any given organisation is operating optimally as appropriate to their environment.

How, then, can you make your HR function ‘audit-proof’?

Have documents all present, correct and searchable

This may seem simplistic, but when vital documents and contracts are missing from the HR system the risk is that situations can crop up requiring evidence that isn’t there.

Contracts of employment, proof of Right to Work in the UK, absence notes, training records, performance records, disciplinary records all need to be stored properly upon creation. Where possible, implementing an automated process for the creation and issuing of HR-related documents is a good way to maintain established best practice.

Best Practice Onboarding

The process of onboarding new employees is complex and requires a fair amount of document exchange. Before ‘Day 1’, electronic portals are helpful as HR can provide the means to gather vital documentation as soon as a job offer is made (pre-onboarding). All the better if the portal is linked to main HR systems for easy document transfer.
An itemised and checklisted onboarding process reduces the risk of crucial basics falling between the cracks (such as employment contracts not being issued or company regulations not being provided) and therefore saves time being spent on potential disputes later.

Proper Training

Following on from onboarding (which ideally includes a fully documented induction programme), there should also be plenty of evidence available that staff are undergoing all the appropriate training and development they need. Auditors like to see keenly documented staff development over time as well as ‘basic induction’ programmes. The other benefits of proper training is a reduction in unnecessary staff turnover and the reduced likelihood of the organisation facing legal action due to someone making a mistake traceable to poor training.

Demonstrable counter-bias measures in recruiting

The process of recruiting carries a risk of conscious or sub-conscious bias, for or against factors that in themselves have no reliable impact on employee success (age, gender, ethnicity). Many organisations are implementing ‘blind’ career profiling (CVs) – for external recruiting at least. This increases the prospect of an objective assessment and simply involves the removal of all identifying information from applications. This procedure can be standardised through HR so that the hiring manager and influencers have only the information they need when looking at applications.

Documented performance monitoring

Individual performance ultimately contributes to organisational performance, and underperformance can be hard to recover if left unaddressed. There is also a degree of company morale at stake here because high-performing colleagues deserve the confidence of knowing that the workplace values and expects the best from everyone. Employee performance issues are best resolved sooner rather than later, using best practice processes. Reviews and important conversations should be documented so that there is clear understanding for all parties at all times.

Internal spot-checks

In other words, do your own internal audits every so often. View a small number of employee records taken at random, and inspect them for completeness. See how well documented the employees’ interactions with HR are, and how thorough performance reviews are. If there are gaps in mandatory documentation or training, review more thoroughly and establish if there is a compliance or efficiency problem.

Data Capture Solutions has many years of valuable experiencing in helping HR functions to establish smooth control of document-driven processes. If you would like to consult us, please call us on 01753 616720

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