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Refreshing Insights

There are a lot of logical reasons to implement and share best practices across an organization. Finding and replicating the optimal way to perform tasks boosts employee engagement, competence and efficiency, and consistently meeting quality standards increases profits and establishes a solid business reputation.

In human resources, best practices can help reduce your potential risks for liability and be the difference between regulatory compliance and non-compliance. Some areas of HR present more exposures than others, so we’ve identified the top seven areas where establishing best practices will have the greatest impact on your business.

1. Compliance

The regulations imposed on businesses can be confusing and they seem to change with alarming frequency. These rules will differ depending on your company’s size, employee count, industry, organizational structure and more. Even if a regulation doesn’t apply today, it might in the future.

Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, and most business leaders are shocked to discover the number of regulations their company is currently violating or didn’t even know existed.

To minimize exposures, it’s important to set up a system that helps you stay up to date on regulations that impact your business.

Some companies choose to employ a compliance officer or legal team to oversee compliance, some subscribe to a compliance alert system to stay up to date, while others outsource aspects of HR to manage compliance on their behalf.

2. Hiring Practices

Establishing a consistent hiring process not only helps you find the best candidates for your jobs, but also reduces your risk of liability for discriminatory hiring practices.

For example, make sure your job descriptions and job postings accurately represent roles, including physical and educational requirements so you don’t accidentally make jobs inaccessible to people based on sex, race, disability, age, etc.

You should also train leaders on interviewing best practices, so they don’t unknowingly violate any laws by asking seemingly innocent questions or engaging in casual conversation. Something as simple as asking the year a candidate graduated from a local high school could be perceived as discriminatory.

3. Onboarding

When hiring new employees, make sure they are made aware of how you operate by providing scheduled and detailed training on technology, policies, safety requirements, ethical standards, benefits and any other important company information.

Provide a detailed employee handbook to clearly communicate expectations and have employees sign confirmation that they have read it to foster greater accountability.

Get other employees involved in the onboarding process. Include managers and other employees from their department if possible. Onboarding is not just for HR.

4. Training/Education

Employees generally want to grow in their careers. Establish a solid organizational chart, determine growth plans, and identify benchmarks for career development.

Then provide all employees with opportunities for advanced training and education that can help them meet the requirements to move to the next level.

In some cases, there may not be opportunities for advancement. In that case, make sure employees have access to training and other opportunities to hone their specific skill set and expand on it.

5. Disciplinary Protocols

It’s not nearly as much fun as thinking of best practices for employee growth and development, but you will need to work out standard practices for taking progressive disciplinary action, including set consequences and documentation.

As an example, your disciplinary process might start with verbal warnings, then written warnings and suspensions, all the way up to termination.

Documentation is absolutely critical when it comes to discipline. A documented progressive disciplinary process that is consistently applied to all employees helps demonstrate non-discrimination in employment practices.

6. Benefits Administration

There are a number of important deadlines, depending on the size of your workforce, involved in administering employee benefits. You will want a system in place to make sure activities happen on time and in accordance with federal and state regulations. Establish open enrollment policies and coordinate and oversee COBRA, beneficiaries, rollovers, claims, benefits files and more.

7. Recordkeeping

Each employee will have information that needs to be kept secure, accurate and quickly accessible to authorized users, especially in the event of an audit. Keeping accurate records for a growing labor force is challenging without the right technology.

Some simple programs may handle payroll, but they may not help you maintain up-to-date data related to benefits, compensation, employee records and more.

Using a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is the best way to maintain accurate records. Such software can track everything from tax forms, signed agreements, I-9 forms, OSHA logs and other important information. Some systems also integrate payroll processing, so your company doesn’t have to work with multiple platforms.

One of the challenges businesses face, however, is that an HRIS is sometimes cost-prohibitive to purchase and implement in-house. As a result, many employers choose to partner with a third-party HR service provider for access to robust software in addition to help with other HR functions.

Need Help Developing Best Practices?

Best practices need to be scaled to your organization's needs to be most effective, but sometimes it can be hard to identify those needs when you’re working in the environment every day.

Our Checklist for HR Best Practices can help! We’ve outlined the most important elements of a solid HR strategy to help you stay organized and not miss a step. Download your copy today!

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A collection of articles from the McClone team with the helpful knowledge and insights to ensure your organization is well protected.