HR, Human Resources

How to Conduct an Effective HR Audit

An effective human resources (HR) audit looks into every discipline of the human resources function. HR disciplines include recruitment and selection, workplace safety and risk management, training and development, employee relations, and compensation and benefits. The purpose of an HR audit is to determine if your organization’s policies are current and if they comply with federal and state laws governing the workplace.

1. Monitor employee record keeping processes for compliance with federal and state regulations concerning what constitutes an employee personnel file. Research state regulations on employee access to personnel files and ensure your workplace policies are congruent with state law. There are no federal laws that mandate employee access to personnel files; however, the U.S. Equal Employment Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor promulgate rules on record retention for employee files.

2. Review your organization’s recruitment and selection processes to ensure that they are nondiscriminatory and that they comply with equal employment opportunity policies. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from engaging in discriminatory practices related to recruiting, hiring and all other employment actions. Be sure that your employment advertisements, structured interview questions and pre-employment tests are straightforward and unbiased.

3. Examine workplace safety measures and risk management practices. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces safety laws for most employers. The agency also provides technical guidance for companies whose employees handle complex machinery and equipment and dangerous chemicals and substances. Ensure your workplace safety logs and reporting processes are in compliance with both federal and state regulations.

4. Evaluate training and employee development opportunities to reveal any disparities in training methods or accessibility by employees. At a minimum, employees should be required to complete new hire orientation and mandatory training on workplace policies pertaining to fair employment practices, sexual harassment and reporting employee complaints.

5. Review employee relations processes to determine if your workplace investigations are conducted in a manner that assures employees their concerns will be handled by a human resources staff member specially trained to handle sensitive matters. Employee relations matters can sometimes lead to costly litigation. Therefore, managing your organization’s investigation and resolution processes is important for minimizing your liability for claims related to unfair employment practices.

6. Compile compensation and benefits information. Ensure your organization’s privacy officer is qualified to handle confidential records containing employees’ medical information and that the officer understands how to apply standards under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Review your salary practices for compliance under applicable minimum wage laws and employee classification for nonexempt and exempt status.