I recently attended the Equifax Workforce Forum where the themes of managing government compliance, UI management and integrity, handling the ADA, and reducing employer liability were front and center. For someone like me, it was hard to choose between sessions because so many covered critical areas HR leaders need to know.
One of my favorite sessions was Navigating the Compliance Storm presented by Julia Bailey, senior director of product management for Equifax. According to the experts, employees now know more about their rights than they ever have in the past. Pair that with increased enforcement of broad-based violations and compliance around federal and state legislation becomes even more important for organizations.
With the increasing fines for workforce-related errors such as I-9 completion and the addition of numerous state law changes that took effect earlier in 2014, HR leaders like you need to be thinking about ways to minimize risk and reduce cost. This is also a way that HR leaders can take a strategic approach to compliance that will improve the organization’s performance.
Here are 4 action steps HR leaders can take to accomplish this:
- Legislation. Educate yourself on any new legislation or new state obligations that relate to new hires and annual employee notification compliance. Typically the best approach is to subscribe to compliance updates like those provided by Equifax or your selected employment law attorney, or use a solution like the Equifax Workforce Compliance Center.
- Policies. Review your policies annually to ensure they comply with any federal or state changes. Then distribute to the appropriate employee population.
- Audits. Perform regular audits to review employee forms, compliance with notifications, signed employee policies and changes. Be sure to include a check that your organization is retaining all required documents for the appropriate length of time and in the appropriate way.
- Education. Train your leaders annually on any legislation they need to be aware of and on areas such as sexual harassment, HIPAA, and other regulations related to confidentiality of organizational employee data.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, proactively creating an HR Compliance Strategy will allow the human resource department to reduce time spent during the year or annually trying to play catch-up. It will also be a good way to train your junior HR professionals on operating a compliant HR organization.