Compliance may not be the rock star of HR tasks, but it is the one that is necessary to keep the band together. In every country, laws and regulations exist to make sure that companies are conducting business with a certain level of standards.
Without compliance, businesses are at risk of fines, lawsuits, bankruptcy, and closure. Research by Forrester concluded that businesses who do not effectively manage risk or implement compliance policies are at risk of losing billions of dollars.
For many companies, technology has changed the ways in which they manage HR compliance. When going from a paper-based to an electronic based HR system, there are many changes to adapt to, a lot of new information to learn, and many challenges that arise.
One of the main challenges is that technology speeds up the change process and makes data more accessible to all people, even to those who should not have access to it.
It is pretty common to hear about hacking leaks where people have their personal information listed online. Increasingly, people are concerned about what they post online, given that it can be so easily accessible. This is true for businesses as well.
Many businesses are now performing HR tasks online or storing information in cloud-based systems. This leaves the information open to attack from hackers. Consero recently surveyed a group of compliance officers and found that 46% were active in cybersecurity and data privacy. 65% stated that had a data privacy compliance plan.
As HR tasks move away from paper, compliance managers have an added challenge of keeping online data safe. This requires them to work closely with IT departments to make sure that the technology they’re using meets the needs of compliance.
As technology innovation moves faster and faster, regulations have to keep up. Compliance officers at organizations have to be on top of all these changes. In a survey by Thomson Reuters, results showed that a majority of compliance officers feel that risk management will become more of a focus area in their jobs and that most companies now spend time equivalent to one workday a week analyzing changes in regulations.
In order to do this many compliance officers look to social media, online publications, and bulletins for information. With access to up-to-date information HR staff can know where they need to make changes. It is also important to use online media to stay informed about compliance infringement cases. Sometimes compliance regulations, especially ones related to technology, can seem ambiguous or not relevant given the speed at which technology evolves. By analyzing how regulators are interpreting the regulations, businesses can try to predict how they should adapt.
The advantages of compliance technology
While there are some new challenges that technologies bring to compliance in HR, there are many ways that technology can improve compliance.
Some software companies have tried to streamline the compliance process by creating compliance management software. With these systems, companies can easily manage all the details that come with compliance.
Using a reliable compliance software will also assist in finding the applicable rules and regulations. Instead of having to annually search for the regulations and research how to apply them, the software can find relevant regulations and keep compliance officers up-to-date on any changes. With software compliance, officers can track these changes and the updates needed to any files, in real-time.
Complying with various regulations requires the storage of a large amount of information. In the past, HR kept filing cabinets full of folders about departments and employees. With technology, much of that paperwork is now electronic. Tax forms, employee handbooks, disciplinary actions, health forms, and all other documentation can now be stored electronically. Companies can accept electronic documents from employees and keep them on secure servers or cloud storage. Electronic files are also easier to organize and search when looking to do compliance audits.
When needing to report on compliance issues to regulators, auditors, or legal teams, compliance software can help create reports automatically.
As agencies change regulations and add new files, leaders and managers can use the software to track these changes in electronic documents or in their management systems. This tracking system can be useful when looking to see when changes to documents occurred, what the changes were, and who made them.
Another important aspect of HR is training new employees. Due to many regulations, HR needs to train employees on a variety of topics: sexual harassment, diversity, safety, and health. In case of an audit, they also have to have proof that all employees underwent the training.
An electronic training software system can make it easier to track who has the training, who needs the training, and when the training needs to be retaken for certification purposes. Many of these trainings are also kept up-to-date to comply with any changes in regulations.
Applications and other recruitment tools can be free of bias and stereotypes by using recruitment software. This keeps the HR department in compliance with nondiscrimination regulations and protects the company from lawsuits and auditor actions.
Having an electronic absence and payroll system can help HR departments avoid any issues with federal leave acts and other regulations pertaining to time off work and pay. These systems can also track hours worked and overtime discrepancies.
An automated system can help departments track times and wages more accurately, preventing issues with employees and auditors.
A culture of compliance
Using social networks, training platforms, and compliance software compliance is something that everyone can be aware of and help maintain. If all departments are aware of compliance and audits then it becomes a part of the culture of the organization.
Employees from different departments can collaborate with each other to make sure business is accomplished, while also keeping compliance in mind.
There are numerous advantages to using compliance technology, the above list just being some of the main ones. Companies who learn how to use compliance technology while also planning to address some of the challenges can improve the efficiency of HR tasks while also improving compliance.
Still, the risks of having poor compliance are huge. While it is almost impossible to be 100% compliant, 100% of the time, compliance is not something that will get any easier or will go away anytime soon. The same can be said for technology.
However, effective companies can manage both; with the right amount of planning and collaboration, technology can bring many changes to HR departments, including making compliance and audits a less stressful task.
I've been an entrepreneur for the past 10+ years building great software companies together with fantastic teams. I believe that a culture of learning can make organizations thrive and become more competitive, that's why I founded Teamfluent. I like to spend most of my free time reading.
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