A rewarding experience

April 5th, 2017
Written by: Dana Papke

How an HR audit can make sure you are getting a good return on your investment

Used strategically, an HR audit is just as much about maximizing your return on your investment in your people as it is on managing the risks.    

Using a qualified, independent expert to examine and critique your HR policies, processes and practices and to ensure their compliance with changing rules and regulations is, of course, an essential first step – albeit a tactical one. It can be a cost saver, too. HR Audits can often reveal it’s not just about what a company is doing but how effectively it’s doing it. It may be your HR function is spending too much time on one process to the detriment of another and it’s time for a redistribution of attention and energy.

The strategic use of an HR audit is when attention turns to how your company is using HR systems and approaches to make sure you are capitalizing on that most precious of resources, your people. The audit can evaluate the contribution your HR processes are making to the achievement of company goals. For example, do they enable you to recruit and retain the best talent that you can afford for your size and type of business? Do they ensure that people work together collaboratively and co-operatively or are they contradictory and likely to cause the sort of strife that can result in the loss of talent? Are they ensuring that your people are aligned and focused on your customers’ needs and your business objectives and being rewarded and retained on that basis? Here, the benefit of using an external auditor is not just for the added value of their objectivity and wider knowledge but also their ability to identify the gaps between your practice and best practice, helping to identify your strengths, and showing you where you need to improve.

Finally, a strategically focused HR audit can ensure that you’ve got talent succession in place. An unexpected loss of a critical employee – whether leadership or a key content contributor – can result in serious operational setbacks. But a strategic audit which leads to a stronger succession planning process can ensure that you’re ready when the unexpected happens. And, if you’re lucky enough to avoid the unexpected, it can help you develop a critical plan to grow your talent to help them help your company to grow as well.

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