Insider Tips to Streamline HR’s Ever-Changing Compliance Role
In many ways, employees are operating in a much more flexible workforce than before. However, for HR managers and teams, this has made workforce compliance increasingly trickier amid ever-changing workplace systems — especially when you factor in new or revised federal, state, and local regulations and laws.
This development isn’t surprising news to HR professionals. UpCounsel reporting found that about half of HR leaders surveyed felt wary about their ability to remain compliant in the workplace.
Yes, there’s a lot involved in maintaining health and safety in the workplace. But the HR teams that can keep track of and document these changes can remain ahead of the curve whenever change occurs.
Developing an Action Plan to Maintain Health and Safety in the Workplace
What makes record-keeping and maintaining health and safety in the workplace so complicated for modern HR departments? First is the sheer volume of responsibilities HR has to balance (e.g., employee recruitment and onboarding, payroll and benefits, training and development, and risk management and safety). Managing all these duties can be difficult at best, which is why many HR teams work with third-party vendors that already have compliant policies and procedures.
Next is maintaining employee handbooks regularly. Revising the handbook to avoid fines, penalties, and damaged corporate credibility makes the process more involved.
Finally, there’s the challenge of tracking new hire paperwork (e.g., I-9s, W-2s, drug tests, background checks, etc.), all of which must be completed and confidentially secured. In the event of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation, or a workers’ compensation petition, those items can be invaluable. They can also protect the company against unwanted actions.
Maintaining HR compliance takes time, money, and energy. Yet it’s worth the effort. Here are a couple of key workforce compliance solutions you can adopt to ensure this goes smoothly:
Say goodbye to paper.
It’s beyond time for HR to go electronic. Housing safety records and other documents electronically makes them easier to retrieve and review for analysis. For hybrid HR workers, being able to pull down an employee’s file from a secure, encrypted, centralized cloud or physical server location makes everyday life simpler.
Some programs even feature software and apps that allow employees to document worker injuries, internal audits, and other pertinent items. Are paper backups still OK? Absolutely, as long as they get scanned and uploaded to the centralized database before being stored as required by law.
Investigate incidents immediately.
HR teams are busy and sometimes make the mistake of overlooking minor worker injuries. Why? They assume those injuries won’t require outside treatment or become a factor in litigation. Yet all incidents — including near misses — should be investigated and documented right away. Waiting even a few hours can make it challenging to retrieve uncorrupted evidence or collect accurate eyewitness statements.
Conducting a proper investigation as soon as an incident happens allows everyone to have information on hand if the issue bubbles to the surface later. Even if it’s never mentioned again, the data and insights from the occurrence could be used to prevent similar situations.
HR departments are more vital than ever in a world where laws change quickly and a company’s workforce may span the globe. Still, staying on top of workplace compliance and safety isn’t impossible. It just requires HR teams to refine some of their processes.