HR Software

HR compliance: an introduction & audit checklist

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For small, medium and growing businesses, HR compliance can get overlooked. If your company doesn’t have a HR manager, the responsibility of compliance sits with the business owner or another employee. That’s huge pressure - especially if you have wider responsibilities. 

To overcome the issue of HR compliance, many SMBs outsource their HR or utilise HR software. This can ensure your employment and work practices reflect existing laws and regulations. External support also removes the need to carry out repetitive tasks. Such tasks often lead to mistakes and non-compliance. 

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of HR compliance. We’ll also share an audit checklist. You can use this to determine whether you’re following good practice. It may also help you decide whether HR software (or any other form of external support) is right for your business. 

What is HR compliance?

HR compliance is the process of ensuring that workplace policies and procedures are aligned with legal and regulatory requirements. It also takes a proactive role in maintaining compliance in the workplace. 

Why is HR compliance important?

HR compliance is important because it helps maintain a healthy work environment. All employers must meet certain legal obligations and failing to do so could result in legal action. It also helps businesses keep on track of their employees’ records. This makes your workplace safe, happy and productive.  

Who is responsible for HR compliance?

The responsibility of HR compliance differs from business to business. Larger companies will have a dedicated HR team. They will be responsible for understanding compliance laws, and their job is to communicate them to managers and employees.  

For small to medium-sized businesses, the responsibility can be complex. It usually sits with the business owner or another employee. Sometimes, the role of HR manager is outsourced (via software or an external agency). This relieves the pressure of compliance on existing staff members.  

HR compliance is a big undertaking, no matter how big or small your organisation is. It should be handled (or supported) by an experienced professional, either internally or externally. 

How compliance and HR software go hand in hand

HR compliance software can serve as a powerful tool for mitigating compliance risks within your company. It acts as the central repository for your people data.  

5 ways HR software can help with compliance:

  1. Protect your business from potential dispute - Having robust HR policies and procedures in place will protect your business from disputes and claims. Part of this involves making sure your documentation is always accessible. HR compliance software with an online document management module allows you to easily record employee consent on company policies. It also ensures you keep a definitive record of HR-related documentation.    
  2. Keep your people data safe and secure for GDPR compliance - HR software helps to keep sensitive employee information secure. Password protected, it is only accessible to those granted access. This is helpful for GDPR and data security compliance.    
  3. Maintain accurate information - Keeping data accurate and up to date is crucial. This can be difficult if data is spread across multiple systems. As a centralised, cloud-based solution, HR software makes it easy to maintain accurate information. Employee HR self-service software also allows employees to update their own personal details. 
  4. Health and safety compliance - HR compliance software with health and safety capabilities can help you accurately record health and safety incidences digitally.
  5. Manage risk and compliance with staff training - HR software can also facilitate the training of staff. Many platforms have a built-in learning management functionality that ensures employees are trained adequately. Bear in mind LMS systems are often found in HR software catered to larger businesses. SMBs may not require this level of functionality. 

Poor compliance is a big disadvantage of not using HR software, and if you would like to learn more about disadvantages, you can read our recent article – 5 disadvantages of old HR software and systems.

HR compliance audit checklist

Conducting an HR audit can bring with it many advantages. Most notably, you get a broad oversight of the inner workings of your SMB. An HR audit will often reveal whether HR is fulfilling its daily functions.  

In knowing the inner workings of your company, you can detect potential complications or areas of improvement.  

What is an HR compliance audit checklist?

An HR audit checklist can help you plan your audit. It highlights what essential functions you must review. Often, this activity makes SMBs realise that there are better ways of doing things.  

HR Compliance Checklist UK 

To help you determine what areas you need to create policies on to remain compliant, we've compiled a HR compliance checklist of topics: 

  • Overall company guidelines 
  • Policies relating to: 
    • Annual leave 
    • Sickness 
    • Maternity/paternity 
    • Compassionate leave 
  • Security procedures 
  • End of contract 
  • Health and safety 
  • An employee handbook 
  • Training for line managers 
  • Company-specific policies 

Unsure if you’re staying compliant?

Of course, carrying out an audit will require you to look at all aspects of Human Resource management. This includes: 

  • All company policies 
  • Recruitment 
  • Compensation and employee benefits 
  • Employee relations 
  • Safety, wellbeing and worker’s compensation 
  • Record keeping and documentation 

As an SMB, ensuring you remain compliant across the entire HR function can be a huge undertaking. That’s why it is not uncommon for SMBS to outsource responsibilities. Outsourcing HR to an external agency can relieve you of the stress and burden of HR compliance. However, it does come at a cost. A more cost-effective alternative is to utilise HR software. This provides you with full oversight of your HR, whilst ensuring you stay in-line with legislation.  

When searching for the best HR compliance software for your business, ensure you read providers’ respective compliance policy pages to see how each provider deals with compliance. If you are interested in how Access PeopleHR can help you remain compliant, feel free to request a free trial 

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