Over the years I have seen it all… As we all know, no one is perfect, at least, no one I can find!
So, in an effort to try and help you spot the issues before an auditor (maybe even me) does, here are the top 8 HR audit mistakes!
What does an HR audit look like?
It’s quite simple really, we look at all areas that relate to the compliant and competent delivery of your HR systems (aka. the processes that look after you and your people)
Areas we love to delve into include:
These eight areas form the foundation of any good HR department. As you’ll see, most mistakes tend to fall in to one or more of the following areas.Some are so simple that the get over looked.
It’s important to understand that an audit isn’t carried out to place blame, its there to assist you and your teams in getting things right and to make life easier!
If your documents or contracts are missing or incomplete, then you’re setting yourself up for expensive consequences. In a good number of audits we complete with new clients, the top missing items include, proof of the right to work in the UK, disciplinary warnings, and even contracts of employment.
Missing these vital elements of basic employment can prove to be a VERY costly mistake!
Not issuing contracts in a timely fashion, or at all!
You should be issuing new starters with a written contract of employment within eight weeks of their start date. Ideally though, you should be doing this even sooner – because while a verbal contract of employment is still legally binding, it’s much harder to monitor or enforce.
The consequences of this are that where there is a later dispute, the employer cannot show the terms on which the employee was employed. As you can imagine, this has the potential to be a real nightmare and very expensive!
Managers failing to follow procedure
One of the biggest mistakes that auditors pick up on is managers failing to follow HR processes correctly. For example, they may not keep a record of important conversations, which is not only an issue for employee relations, but can also cause litigation issues for the business in the future.
If you have a conversation about a given subject, NOTE IT!
Biased recruitment practices
Whether you intend it or not, you are probably drawn towards certain genders, ages, or ethnicities, when you hire for a new role. Sub-conscious bias is very common in the recruitment process, and a lot of companies don’t even realise they’re doing it.
Unconscious bias is easy to eliminate from a business with the right training, we have done loads of it and it once again makes sure you and your team stay on the right track when recruiting.
One piece of training we do is to produce a ‘blind CV’!
A blind CV exercise involves removing any information from the CV that could influence your decision, without actually telling you anything about the candidate’s ability to do the job. Factors such as age, gender and ethnicity could be completely censored until you have decided who to invite for an interview.
Some businesses still see training as a ‘nice to have’ and despite numerous examples of why training is an absolute must, they still choose to skip even the basics! In one case more recently, the company handbook stated that all new team members should have been given a full building tour inclusive of all the basic Health & Safety information that you’d expect with it… In 4 cases there were team members who’d been in the building for 4 weeks without any sort of base level training, let alone ‘on the job’ or ‘systems based’ training!
Poor performance management
I’m going to take a punt that we have all ignored performance management issues at one point or another. Now, even more than ever this just isn’t acceptable! Managers need to manage, not ignore, or this in turn makes them as bad as their team members they are not managing. What’s more, poor performance maybe being driven by something that you are not aware off.
All in all, this could be a situation where someone really needs some support, not managing and communicating means that this can easily be missed!
Not paying the minimum wage
Believe it or not, this still happens!
Normally this is driven by poor or no understanding of the contractual situation that an employee is being asked to sign in to. A typical example recently involved gratuity payments and the total non-understanding of what they did and didn’t count towards… Interestingly, the company employs well over 300 people…. I’m never shocked!
Refusal to adopt new processes
A common shortcoming of many HR departments is their tendency to stick to what they know. This is understandable – after all, there is so much law and legislation caught up with an HR department, that making a radical change can cause a snowball effect, sometimes for very little gain. This is where an independent (like ourselves) can be really useful!
Bigger companies in particular have difficulty adopting new processes. Not only do they need to consider a complex web of business operations, but they also have stakeholders to convince.
Unfortunately, the law is the law and these things happen!
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