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Lions, Tigers, and Audits, Oh My!

The word audit brings a shudder to most of us. Visions of an external government official come to mind as we cringe at the mere thought of a paperwork invasion. In our collective experience, the person conducting an audit isn't looking for all the things we are doing right. The person combing through our files and asking questions is looking for what we are doing wrong. Once the wrong has been found, there are typically dollar signs attached to corrective action.

Like most HR challenges, we can get ahead of this by being proactive. Before the government official pays a visit, let's conduct our own internal audit.

You can develop a checklist to get started. Make sure all of the policies you're required by law to include in your policy manual are included in language that your employee population can understand. While we're talking about your policy manual or your employee handbook, let's also consider what should be included that communicates our rules of engagement to employees.

Then deconstruct your human resources function into small, manageable segments. Remember, an audit identifies compliance deficiencies and you want to find them before anyone else does. Be hard on yourself and look for trouble. Walk through processes and procedures. Get input from everyone who touches your processes. You may think they're working great when, in fact, they're only working great for you.

You're probably thinking that you don't have enough time to audit your internal human resources function. You can't get your work done now so how will you be able to add this monumental task to your already full plate? Decide it's a priority and then put together a timeline for accomplishing one audit task per week until your audit is complete.

Conducting an audit requires a commitment of resources. First, you'll need to conduct the research so you can determine what your function should include. And, second, you'll need resources to actually conduct the audit. Once the audit is complete, you'll need to develop a priority list to tackle your challenges.

Don't stick your head in the sand thinking, if I don't know about it, it doesn't exist. You don't get a pass because you're not aware. Understand the business of the business you're in and audit your human resources function to ensure you're in compliance. Your human resources strategy cannot be aligned with your company's strategy unless your function is compliant.

Need help? Let us know. We do this for our clients and we do it well.

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