Conference Room Discussion

As your organization grows, your human resources risk gets higher. But the biggest risk of all might be not knowing your areas of exposure.


Give Yourself an HR Gut Check

  • Kim Orsolits
  • 8/11/2017

Did you catch the news that the I-9 form — the one every new U.S. employee completes — is being revised for the second time in 2017, and can now be completed electronically?

Entities such as the IRS, DOL, EEOC, and OSHA make the human resources (HR) department a highly regulated area of your business. It can be easy to stumble into undue pain points, or miss opportunities to make the function more efficient and better aligned to your organization’s strategy.

Here are the biggest HR issues to watch out for right now.

Keeping up with changing labor laws at the federal, state, and municipal levels

Every president and Congress puts their policy stamp on laws that affect human resources. Today’s political landscape, with its focus on immigration, health care reform, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), has big implications on your HR department. New policies could severely alter your hiring approach, benefit offerings, and recruitment efforts. Even if the policy trends toward de-regulation, there will be significant milestones and due dates that arise along the way.

At the top of my mind right now is what will happen with the FLSA injunction (which ended on June 30). The DOL has published a Request for Information to allow public input in formulating a revised regulation. The comment period closes on September 25. It’s also unclear how the new Secretary of Labor will influence employment laws. Keeping up can be a full time endeavor, and if you don’t have a point person with knowledge of these issues, you will be reactive rather than proactive.

Benefit documentation and compliance

Complying with benefit documentation is generally not difficult. The challenge is the documentation requires detailed attention. Take the plan document requirements under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) as an example. Most employers think their benefit carrier or broker is supplying this information, but there’s still an employer portion that needs to be supplied as well. This is an easy compliance practice that can be corrected quickly, and it can often be taken care of electronically. But you have to know the requirements first.

Policies and procedures that don’t match your culture, strategy, or mission

Once those two areas addressed, you have an opportunity to start seeing the department as more than just payroll, staffing, and compliance, but as a strategic partner that can help move your business agenda forward.

As an example, we see businesses who talk about being innovative, but then we open their handbook and it says, “You can’t do this, and you can’t do that.” These hiccups can squelch innovation and the language tends to seep into marketing materials or web pages designed to attract new talent.

Think of the handbook as another opportunity to carry your message forward, and then take a deeper look to ensure that the rest of your people, programs, and practices are culturally relevant to your workforce and aligned with the bigger picture.

How we can help

It’s much better to uncover compliance concerns during a routine “friendly” assessment than from a regulatory agency or in reaction to litigation. Take the temperature of your HR department with the help of an HR assessment. An assessment is a checkup to see if your HR function is in compliance with applicable laws and aligned with your organizational strategy. Once you have a diagnosis, then you can confidently decide where to prioritize your resources. We can look under the hood to help you reduce your exposure and align HR with your big picture.