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How to Navigate the Complexities of HR Compliance

How to Navigate the Complexities of HR Compliance

HR compliance is the process of aligning your workplace policies with the laws and policies of your specific location; state and country, those of international bodies and those peculiar to your industry. Because of the technicalities and nuanced expressions of this matter,  a HR compliance officer and your organization’s legal team may need to get involved.  If your organization is not HR compliant for whatever reason, you are prone to earning yourself a bad reputation in the industry and you also risk expensive lawsuits.

The world is changing at a fast pace and many things are becoming unpredictable. Take the Covid for example, some countries in the world like the US came up with new policies for HR during the pandemic. These were certainly unplanned for by the organizations involved, thus the massive layoffs. Challenges like constant changes, territorial differences, etc are compliance issues  faced by every HR team. The title of this article presupposes that HR compliance can be a bit tricky, thus the word ‘challenges’, however there is a lot we can do proactively to keep things at their best. Let’s find out those things now!

Tips for Navigating HR Compliance 

1. Begin HR Compliance Early:

The requirements for HR compliance should be followed right from the process of hiring and recruitment, this prevents issues that could have been avoided from cropping up later. Such issues include discovering you have not taken into consideration laws about age, work hours, territorial regulatory bodies’ rules etc.

The Different levels of compliance all the way from International Labour Organization to a country’s law, to state laws, to policies of regulatory bodies, to union laws etc. should be noted carefully in the hiring and recruitment process in order to prevent wastage of resources as a result of non compliance in the long run.

2. Maximizing HR Compliance Officers and Services:

You should have an in-house HR compliance officer, but it would be even wiser to have an external specialist too. It is a given that external specialists usually have more experience than those in-house, and can tell you more about the different interpretations of the law in different territories, especially new ones and that may save you a lot of trouble. In-house officers may be best at applying these policies to your organization.

If you have a legal team, they would be of great use in the interpretation of laws regarding HR to your organization. This is very important as you may not be conversant with the jargon of the law.

3. Customize Your Efforts to Territories and their Peculiarities:

In America alone almost all states have different HR laws, some even at odds with the federal law. All of these should be taken into consideration as you create your HR compliance function.

The laws on gender and such in places like the Middle East are vastly different from what you expect to find in a country like the United States. Therefore, as you grow and scale, never let HR compliance get lost amidst the thousand and one things you have to take care of, if not you will have even more work on your hands – lawsuits.

Your HR compliance system in different territories should be up to date. In different countries, different figures count as the minimum wage, the number of hours to work also differ, take for example the 35 hour work week in France. The age for employment differs too. There is no one size fits all solution for HR compliance. Be on your toes.

4. Take Note of HR Tech Compliance in your Different Locations:

Usually companies work with vendors for these services, say SAP HR. These  systems collect information and data. The laws on data collection and use could get you into trouble if you are not quite clear whether or not your vendor is HR compliant. 

Therefore always verify with these vendors about what data they collect, what they are used for, and how HR compliant they are. 

5. Update your HR Compliance System Regularly:

Change is something that is constant in life and laws change at alarming speed now. If you are to know that something has changed as soon as it does and then implement it just as quickly, then you must be current. 

Some laws and policies are not permanent, an example would be the one governments of countries came up with during the pandemic. Your company should be able to let such policies go once they no longer apply.

Update your system at least annually; let it become your company culture and in the near future you will have nothing to fear. Your HR compliance system should be updated everywhere your business is found so that you don’t spend your time and resources on unnecessary lawsuits.¬†

6. HR Compliance in Your Organization:

Your organization’s culture must reflect the laws and policies of your territory, as only the practice of what you do know about HR compliance will keep you in the clear.

In practice, I am talking about the application of these laws, it must become the culture in your organization. It is wise though to make the managers knowledgeable about your company’s HR system and HR compliance at large. At the end of the day, they are the ones that see to the day to day running of your organization. Training regarding your HR system should be organized for them so that you don’t end up in a law court for what you clearly took care of in print.

HR compliance is no theory, it is practical, therefore everyone involved in the life of your organization should be privy to how it works in your organization.

In conclusion, at the heart of HR Compliance is human rights. If you as an employer are fair, then you don’t need to be paranoid about HR compliance. HR compliance may be a bit tricky but by adhering to the advice above and continually verting and improving your process, things will only get better and you will become more confident. Remember to factor in HR compliance issues from as early as recruitment and don’t forget to act like the Romans when in Rome as you scale.

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