Archive for the ‘Talent Management’ Category

Importance of Conducting a Human Resource Audit

Human Resource (HR) Audit is a comprehensive examination of organization’s current HR policies, systems, and procedures to evaluate compliance with employment regulations and identify areas for improvement. A well executed HR Audit will reveal gap areas that can potentially lead to costly legal disputes and governmental fines. It is advisable to conduct an HR audit once every year. Additionally, conducting an HR Audit after a significant change in the organization (such as reconstruction, expansion, or deduction in force), will help to identify the right practices and highlight functions in need of modification.

Types of HR Audit

  • Legal Compliance Audit: This audit ensures compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and reviews whether the current HR policies and systems meet the legal requirements.
  • Comparative Audit: This audit involves comparing the current procedures of the organization with other organizations in the market that have proved to be successful in practice, in order to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Strategic Audit: This audit involves evaluating the SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the HR processes to ensure that they are in alignment with the organization’s strategic plan.
  • Function-Specific: This audit focuses on specific functions in HR such as Training, Compensation and Recruitment and helps to measure their effectiveness in relation to long-term business goals.

The HR Audit Process Model

Process Model


Areas of Focus for HR Audit

  • DocumentationReview of hiring practices often uncovers inadequate documentation, such as a missing or incomplete I-9 Forms. Employers can be fined between $100 and $1,000 for each failure to accurately complete an I-9 Form. Fines for these violations can easily add up, with reported cases of repayment totaling over $100,000.
  • Personnel FilesA review of personnel files often reveals inadequate documentation of performance (e.g., informal, vague and/or inconsistent disciplinary warnings). Performance evaluations may be ambiguous, inaccurate or outdated. Personal health information is often found in personnel files, despite medical privacy laws requiring such data to be kept separate. Accurate and detailed records are essential for employers to defend any type of employee claim, particularly unemployment compensation or wrongful termination claims.
  • Attendance PoliciesControlling excessive absenteeism is a big concern for most employers. However, the complexity of family and medical leave laws, with sometimes conflicting state and federal protections, has made many formerly acceptable absence control policies unacceptable. Absences affect workers’ compensation, family and medical leave, disability accommodations and pregnancy laws. Companies often have policies that either do not comply with relevant laws and regulations or grant employees more protections than required.
  • FLSA ClassificationAlmost every company has job positions that are misclassified as exempt from overtime eligibility. The complexity of wage and hour laws and regulations makes it easy to err in classifying a job as exempt, thereby exposing the company to liability to for past overtime.
  • Time RecordsEmployers typically require nonexempt employees to punch a time clock or fill out time sheets reflecting their time worked each week. The records generated by these systems typically are the employer’s primary means of defense against wage and hour claims, so it is essential that timekeeping policies and practices by clearly communicated and consistently administered.

Body Language: Mastering the Art of Powerful Postures

Researchers from Columbia University and Harvard University have found a link among powerful leaders besides pure charisma. The connecting factor is their use of powerful body postures to convey authority.

So how does posture relate to power and authority? A study titled Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance by Dana R. Carney, Amy J.C. Cuddy and Andy J. Yap indicated that males and females express power through expansive postures (i.e. standing or seating with relaxed limbs) as oppose to contractive postures (standing and seating with hands and legs closed). Individuals whose postures are more expansive exhibit higher levels of testosterone, lower levels of cortisol (adrenal glands or pituitary glands), and an increased tolerance for risk. Expansive postures are high power nonverbal body communications that exude confidence, illustrate a lack of nervousness, and demonstrate an individual’s ability to overcome challenges.

With practice, you can use expansive postures to present yourself in a more powerful demeanor and boost  your confidence.

Body Gestures

1. Eye Movement: Maintaining eye contact with your audience reflects confidence and honesty, and makes the speaker appear more experienced. To maintain correct eye contact with a person, visualize an inverted triangle in the person’s face with its base immediately above the eyes; this is the area to look at during discussions. While speaking to a group of people, make eye contact with everyone and not just one person.

2. Hand Gestures: During conversations, use your hands confidently to express sweeping gestures. Utilize your hands to explain or to stress a particular point. However, avoid using them too frequently because they will become distracting.

3. Facial Expressions: A simple smile when you agree can enhance your nonverbal communication skills. Keep in mind that people can recognize even a most fleeting expression such as anger or annoyance, so cautiously manage your reactions when people are sharing thoughts.

4. Body Image: Keep your body balanced and slightly wide by distributing your body weight evenly on both the feet. Make sure that you are on level without bending on one side, and your shoulders are relaxed. These posture techniques illustrate that you are an action-oriented person with exemplified authority and stability.

Practice Power Poses: People that use up more space, meaning those who use open and large gestures, have high levels of testosterone flooding their systems which causes them to feel more powerful. Before a meeting or presentation, locate a quiet corner and stretch your hands and legs in expansive positions in either sitting or standing positions. When you dominate the space around you, your mind receives the message.

Make Powerful Gestures a Habit: It is essential to monitor your body language to evaluate your efficiency in conveying messages. Make it a habit to use powerful postures in your daily routine.

Voluntary Resignations

Hiring the Right Person for the Right Job is an important goal of any organization. An organization’s employee-team is one of the determinative factors of the organization’s success. However, in recent years, employers often hear the words ‘I quit’ from their employees.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), voluntary resignation levels have increased from 1,576 in January 2010 to 1,744 in January 2011, which currently surpasses the level of employee layoffs. Reasons for voluntary resignations include personal dissatisfaction with job; unfavorable time and work conditions; non-job related problems associated with the employee’s personal life; new career opportunities; fear or anticipation of involuntary termination; and retirement (based on an employee’s age).

The subject of voluntary resignation presents an opportunity for the employer to reassess strategies and restructure workforce. When an employee voluntarily resigns, it is imperative for the employer to assess the reason behind the resignation. If there are job-related issues, they need to be resolved in advance to ensure that these issues do not create a negative impact on other employees in the organization.

Studies indicate that the cost to hire a new employee is five-times the salary of the position. To avoid the financial burden of hiring a new employee and to maintain productivity, employers should take steps well in advance to prevent voluntary resignations. For example, employers should track key performance indicators for each employee. An organization should perform the following tasks upon each voluntary resignation:

  1. Documentation: Documentation is essential to protecting employers from unfavorable claims made by employees. For example, employers should ask for a letter of resignation that includes the employee’s reasons for resigning, and last day the employee intends to work.
  2. Verify: To the best of the employer’s ability, it is important to verify that the reasons given by the employee for the voluntary resignation are correct and to obtain documentation to back up statements.
  3. Complete an Exit Interview: Conducting exit interviews is a great way for an organization to gather additional information to assess the situation and the work environment.

In some situations, it is not advisable for an employer to allow an employee to start or complete their work assignment based on the individual’s intended last day of work. Doing so may at times jeopardize the work product.

Helpful Ways to Manage Employee Turnover
  1. Evidence suggests that recruitment and selection practices strongly influence turnover. Employers should present applicants with a realistic job preview during the recruitment process, and select candidates based on a multitude of criteria including skills needed to complete the job, ability to interact well with other employees. and inherent individual characteristics that align with the organizations vision, mission, and values.
  2. Plan and implement socialization practices that help new hires become familiar with the company and the current employees. These practices may include shared and individualized learning experiences, formal and informal learning activities, and assigning seasoned employees as mentors for new hires.
  3. Provide and plan for continued training and development to keep current employees satisfied, engaged, and well-positioned for growth opportunities.
  4. Consider compensation and rewards that fit the organization’s business and HR strategy through approaches such as: tailoring rewards to individual needs and preferences, promoting equality and fairness in pay and reward decisions, and explicitly linking rewards to retention.
  5. Invest in the development of high-quality managers. The quality of an employee’s relationships with his or her supervisors is a crucial factor of turnover. You’ve heard the cliché phrase: “people leave because of bad bosses.”
  6. Strengthen employee engagement within the organization. Engaged employees are satisfied with their jobs, enjoy their work, take pride in the company, and believe that their employer values their contributions.
Signs of Employee Disengagement
  1. An employee stops attending or participating in company activities and functions.
  2. A normally competitive employee loses their drive to compete.
  3. Decrease of an employee’s focus on tasks and duties – the employee may begin to miss deadlines on a regular basis and no longer cares about work-performance.
  4. Attendance and leave patterns change and/or increase.
  5. A  conscientious employee no longer goes out of his or her way to welcome new employees or volunteers to help out.

These are just some warning signs of a disengaged employee; managers should be aware of these signs and address them. Treating an employee with the same care you took when hiring them will bring substantial rewards to the company and their employees.