HR is an ever-shifting landscape of rules and regulations that HR teams are masters at navigating, keeping their organisations safe from the financial and legal perils that come with non-compliance.
Failure to stay ahead of laws and stipulations can have a damaging impact on a company’s reputation and is one of many reasons that businesses should make HR compliance one of the core components of their ongoing strategy.
Typically, the role of keeping on top of legislation falls at the feet of HR teams. Employment law, health and safety regulations and a myriad other rules and regulations already form a core element of their responsibilities. For many businesses, being able to place their trust in experienced and talented HR professionals to handle the myriad of compliance-based tasks is an absolute boon and a much-needed source of peace of mind.
Is it simply enough to know that you have a people team talented enough to bear the strain of compliance? Recent years have served to demonstrate the power that HR teams have to influence and transform strategy if their talents are leveraged properly. With this in mind, how can businesses best support their people teams, in order to ensure that issues of HR compliance don’t place unreasonable demands upon their time?
We believe that the answer lies within the systems and technology utilised by HR teams. Truly effective HR software can bring with it the functionality to allow your people teams to automate some of the more laborious elements of compliance, allowing you to leverage their talents in more influential areas of the business.
What is included in HR compliance?
HR compliance is relatively sweeping in nature and covers a myriad of different subjects. The most traditional elements of compliance have been those which cover employment law, medical leave benefits and other legislation which can negatively impact an organisation legally and financially if they are found to be non-compliant.
The modern role of HR is also reconciling itself to the fact that it is no longer sufficient to simply be reactive to the ever shifting reality of employment law and legislation. An increasingly evident aspect of HR compliance is demonstrating itself in the emerging trend of HR teams being folded into the wider business strategy planning of organisations. In many instances, HR professionals are now responsible for crafting and implementing the very policies which they will be responsible for ensuring remains compliant.
Although largely the responsibility of HR teams, truly effective examples of HR compliance are demonstrated by involving all aspects of the business. This is typically seen in relation to health and safety regulations such as fire warden training and first aid certification as a way for policy and procedure to be carried out by other areas of an organisation.
Diversity and inclusion as well as gender pay gap reporting have become areas within businesses that have had a greater focus placed upon them in recent years and will understandably, form a core part of an organisation’s discussions around compliance. With wider public interest being evidenced towards matters such as diverse hiring policies, it is important for organisations to have a clear understanding of the policies and procedures they have in place to support such initiatives.
The reality of modern HR compliance is that the responsibility cannot simply be left to just HR teams. the role of HR is expanding in scope, with more and more instances of HR professionals finding their talents being leveraged in wider business planning. This necessitates a sharing of the load when it comes to formulating policy and procedure as it is clear that simply relinquishing the responsibility to your HR teams is not a feasible long term solution.
Secondly, with issues such as D&I having a wider public awareness,It is imperative that business leaders are taking an active role in promoting compliance. A failure to have well-embedded policies particularly around a diverse workforce can have devastating consequences for the public perception of a brand. More and more consumers are protesting via their wallets and a failure to move in unison with their expectations could see an organisation damaged beyond repair.
HR Compliance Checklist
It’s clear then, that compliance should be at the top of your list of priorities, not just from a HR perspective but also as an element to inform key decision making and the formulation of policy.
We do also appreciate that HR compliance can seem like a bit of a minefield at times, which is why we’ve put together a quick checklist to help you understand the key areas to focus on when it comes to ensuring full compliance within your organisation.
- Diversity and Inclusion- A driving factor in modern workplace culture. Diversity and Inclusion have been issues thrust into the spotlight in recent years. For businesses, it also represents a danger whereby failure to reflect public opinion and changing values, can have a lasting negative impact on your brand perception. From an internal perspective, ensuring a widely diverse workforce should be a priority for organisations, especially as they look to drive forward their post-pandemic recovery- Recent research by Mckinsey has found that D&I initiatives lead to a more motivated workforce, with increasing incidences of employees feeling more contented within workplaces which reflect the diverse nature of modern life. Furthermore, organisations with a diverse makeup of talent find themselves time and time again, able to make more well informed, confident business decisions, being able to draw upon a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
- Workplace Harassment- An element which is deeply entwined with the traditional HR process- protecting employees from bullying or harassment from colleagues or higher-ups forms one of the core tenets of HR. Incidences of toxic working cultures are damaging not only from an internal perspective- compromising the wellbeing of employees- it also represents another area in which public perception is particularly keen. The Government announced earlier this year, new sweeping legislation which clearly sets out employer expectations to protect their people from sexual harassment in the workplace. This is understandably a particularly sensitive issue and one in which businesses need to ensure full compliance in order to safeguard their employees and to demonstrate that same commitment to the wider public.
- Benefits Compliance- Benefits packages aren’t simply nice to haves within organisations- for many people they form a core component of their engagement and overall wellbeing at an organisation. It is important therefore that businesses have full understanding of their responsibilities when it comes to offering benefits. From pension Schemes to health insurance or company travel packages, each rewards scheme brings with it it’s own complexities and challenges which HR leaders absolutely need to be on top of. This Is a particular area where an understanding from the wider business will be a boon in assisting people teams remaining compliant as the communication of benefits to employees is one of the most vital elements in ensuring compliance.
- Wages- Understandably, failure to ensure accurate and regular pay represents one of the most significant areas of risk for organisations when it comes to compliance. Failure to remain compliant in this area can lead to severe financial and legal penalties for organisations as well as an erosion of trust of their employees within the organisation. Ask any payroll professional and they will tell you that it is an ever-shifting landscape of legislation- a prime example being the government having recently announced that the national minimum wage is set to increase from April of next year, rising from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour. Any changes to pay scales or laws around wages represents another area where businesses must keep a keen eye as the legal and financial implications of non-compliance are severe.
- Health and safety- It goes without saying that safeguarding the wellbeing of your people should be at the forefront of any businesses’ priorities. From a compliance standpoint, health and safety represents a minefield of legislation that absolutely has to be adhered to in order to avoid unwanted legal attention. Depending on the specific industry, businesses can find themselves dealing with rafts of regulations and legislation which in many instances can dictate the manner in which you work. Furthermore, health and safety initiatives extend into additional training and certification for staff such as fire warden training and health and safety initiatives, all of which must be kept current and up to date in order to remain compliant.
Complete your own HR compliance audits
So, what now? We understand the importance of HR compliance in order to safeguard the well-being of employees as well as to protect organisations from damaging legal and financial consequences. The widespread and complex nature of the various elements of HR compliance also means that keeping on top of shifting laws and legislation can be a nightmare for HR professionals.
It’s also important to consider that having formal processes in place for handling matters of compliance, doesn’t necessarily guarantee that everyone is adhering to the rules and falling in line with regulations. While the lion’s share of these issues can be alleviated by effective communication of policy, it’s still important for businesses to have a clear oversight and understanding of how compliant they truly are.
An internal audit is one of the most effective ways to gain the metrics an organisation needs in order to understand how well they are following their own codes of conduct and adhering to the rules. As much of an asset as an audit can be, it does however, represent a significant commitment for HR teams both in terms of resources and hours.
That’s where we believe technology can step in. The systems and technologies used by your HR teams should be able to be leveraged in order to automate the process of an internal compliance audit. By allowing your HR system to take the strain of handling the process of an internal audit, allowing you to effectively source and collate relevant data such as gender pay reporting or around the diverse makeup of your people.
By leaning on your HR systems, you can also ensure that any relevant documentation or certification is gathered in one spot. Most importantly, leveraging technology in this way means that if any gaps in processes or training are identified, these same HR platforms can then be utilised in order to formalise strategies to ensure compliance moving forward.
Importantly, leveraging technology in this way allows visibility of company compliance across all aspects of the organisation. This is an important step in helping to communicate and share the responsibility of compliance throughout the business, rather than leaving it as an insular, solely HR based concern.
How can Cloud HR help?
Understanding the importance of compliance in your organisation is only part of the problem. You need to ensure that the systems and technology that you have in place are designed to help support your HR teams and to help you effectively craft and promote policies around compliance.
We believe in the power of technology to allow businesses to achieve more. That’s why we’ve designed Advanced Cloud HR Software to help empower people teams across all industries and to free them from the burden of admin heavy tasks and manual inputs.
Compliance is a vital element for any successful business, and we understand that having the proper data at your fingertips is the most effective way to be able to understand how well your organisation understands and is adhering to regulations. Cloud HR can collate certifications around health and safety and other areas, helping you keep on top of relevant qualifications or legislative changes.
By leaning on Cloud HR, your people teams can effectively automate the audit process, easily identifying areas of concern and helping to influence policy making moving forward. We believe the most effective examples of corporate compliance moving forward will be those which spread the responsibility across the whole business. Cloud HR is the tool you need to help your people understand their responsibilities when it comes to remaining compliant.
If you would like to find out more about how Cloud HR can help transform the compliance challenge within your business, get in touch with one of our friendly team members today.