Best HR Compliance Practices to Avoid Common Mistakes

By Marianne Chrisos - Last Updated on January 6, 2020
HR Compliance Best Practices

Compliance is one of the key responsibilities of any HR team. It refers to the following of laws surrounding the legal hiring and firing of employees, as well as how companies have to conduct hiring practices, handle sensitive employee information, and other HR-related employment issues.

Businesses that aren’t in compliance with their local and federal employment laws can face steep fines, lose their business license, and business owners can even face jail time. Businesses know that they need to hire employees to run their operation and that they need to provide their employees with certain things after hiring, like some degree of training and paycheck. But does your business know what the best HR compliance practices are? Do you know exactly what laws apply and what they mean? How can you ensure that your compliance is in order?

What are the best practices for compliance in HR?

Tips for ensuring compliance as an HR professional

#1. Conduct pre-hire background checks

Where it’s legally permissible, you should consider running background checks on your employees. Most employers have to follow strict guidelines around hiring people over a certain age to prevent misuse of child labor, and many organizations also have to follow laws around hiring those legally allowed to work in the country, by way of citizenship or work visa. Finally, some businesses won’t hire anyone for certain work who has a criminal record. A background check can be the first step to ensuring that these pieces are in place.

#2. Hire a compliance officer

You don’t have to the expert in all HR matters. Compliance officers are a valuable, highly trained resource whose job it is to understand the ins and outs of employment law and employer data management. These laws do change from time to time – minimum wage, for instance, varies between state and federal mandates and is sometimes subject to being changed by a vote – and a dedicated compliance manager can help to keep an eye on all employment practices, protecting both the employee and the employer.

#3. Provide compliance training

It makes sense to go over HR compliance laws with HR employees, but it can also be beneficial to open up the sessions, as it were. That may employees better understand their rights and know that they’re working for a company that is transparent, honest, and ethical in their dealings. Whether you’re trying to update your HR staff on compliance knowledge or opening it up to share with the whole workforce, a compliance officer or other savvy HR team member should team up with another member of the leadership team to help create an understanding of why compliance is important and support buy-in from all levels of the organization.

#4. Conduct HR audits

An HR audit is a thorough assessment of processes and documentation. It’s meant to cover a lot of things that are shaped by HR strategy to help refine policy and support an overall better foundation for strategic HR decisions. Conducting an HR audit as a part of your HR compliance best practices allows you to more easily discover where there may be gaps in your strategy or problems with your compliance policies.

Making sure your business is following all necessary employment laws is a fundamental part of your HR success. Not only does it help the business succeed by preventing costly lawsuits and fines, it also helps grow and protect your reputation as a company that cares about and values its employees. Companies that are less rigid around compliance are often looking for ways to cut corners or too busy and inexperienced to pay attention to the right things – not qualities that most qualified candidates and customers want to associate themselves with. Keep these best practices in mind as you create a compliance plan.

Marianne Chrisos | Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a company near Dallas and contributing writer around the internet. She earned her master's degree in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University in Chicago and has worked in publishing, advertising, digital marketing, and content strategy.

Marianne Chrisos | Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a c...

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