Are human resources assessments needless or a business necessity? Perhaps the answer to the question depends on whether, as an employer, you've had to experience an employee lawsuit or a knock on the door by government regulators. Chances are the employer who's survived either of these scenarios would say they're a business necessity.
You may be thinking to yourself, "Why should I bother with an HR assessment? We don't even have an HR manager." As the owner or manager, perhaps you wear the HR hat along with a multitude of other responsibilities, which is all the more reason to take a closer look at the employment practices of your organization.
In today's competitive environment, organizations must operate within the restrictions of a heavily regulated employment environment. This includes dealing with complex laws and regulations including ERISA, COBRA, OSHA, ADA, FMLA, FLSA, Equal Pay, and VESSA-to name a few aimed at protecting the employee's rights.
An HR assessment should be a vital part of your comprehensive strategy to help your organization avoid legal liability. Though time-consuming, such assessments help protect companies by identifying the areas of concern or gaps that need immediate attention.
So what exactly is an HR assessment? It's an objective review by an internal HR manager and an attorney or outside HR consultant of the organization's current HR policies and practices to identify whether specific areas are adequate, legal, and/or effective. The results obtained from the review can provide decision makers with the information necessary to decide what policies and practices need to be revised and/or improved. Organizations that have the most successful results from an HR assessment tend to conduct an annual "checkup." Events that may serve as a trigger to perform an HR assessment include:
- Significant organizational changes such as a merger or acquisition.
- Major regulatory or legal changes.
- An organization meets certain thresholds of 15, 20, 50, and 100 employees.
- Organizational growth to the point that supervisors are making hiring, discipline, promotion, or termination decisions.
- An employee handbook is created or modified.
- A new HR manager is hired.
- Employee morale, turnover, attendance, or excessive discipline becomes problematic.
- An organization becomes a government contractor or subcontractor.
Where does one find out more about conducting an HR assessment? Listed below are helpful Web sites:
- U.S. Department of Labor (www.dol.gov).
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.eeoc.gov).
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (www.osha.gov).
- Institute of Internal Auditors (www.theiia.org).
- Equal Employment Advisory Council (www.eeac.org).
- Employers' Association (www.eaconnect.com).
HR practices make a significant difference in an organization's bottom-line results. In the pursuit of "being an employer of choice" HR practices go a long way in an organization's ability to attract and retain the highest quality and most talented employees possible. IBI