“Working Audits” are Trending Up

business-people-and-computerMSEC members have led our HR Professional Staffing team to coin a seemingly new term. Allow us to introduce the “working audit.”

The responsibilities and influence of the HR universe seem to be ever expanding. Think personnel files, recordkeeping, retention, recruiting, employee relations, often payroll and benefits, and maintaining post-millennium workplace culture. Add to that an increasing body of employment law and complex health care changes. All this is occurring while organizations have an eye on streamlining processes, improving quality, and reducing costs.

Given these truths, the possibilities promised by HR audits are evolving, as some organizations are discovering a new twist on the cliché of doing more with less.

When we say “audit” please do not think of a dreaded scenario of bureaucrats descending. Simply put, HR audits are meant to take a systematic and disciplined look at the effectiveness of your HR processes, policies, and procedures while enhancing integrity and accountability to mission and policies, as well as conformance to regulations. Audits can identify issues and challenges before they become problems, while uncovering potential opportunities—not the least of which is a fresh opportunity to do things right the first time.

When there is room for improvement, an auditor will turn their observations into recommendations to ensure the function is working in the best way possible to serve itself and the organization. Traditionally, the product of an audit is a final report that is essentially a to-do list. Next to an audit, the last thing any of us usually wants is a longer to-do list. However, the beauty of a working audit is that it delegates the to-do list back to the auditor.

More and more, our consultants are being asked to implement corrections through the audit process. The consultant not only assesses processes, analyzes data, observes procedures, and recommends practices he or she amends whatever observations can legally be corrected along the way.

Audits provide leadership with valuable assurance that risks are mitigated and execution of policies and regulations are (or will be) in place. The working audit simply checks off most of the classic audit to-do items from your proverbial list.

If you and your team are considering an audit, arranging for a working audit just might give you more up front by completing tasks along the way. This means even less for you to do at the other end, giving you time to focus on future change and growth. For more information, call me at 800.884.1328 or email bspencer@msec.org.