Planning for 2021: Conduct an Audit of Your HR Function

With the new year looming, there’s still considerable uncertainty with public health and business conditions in the months ahead.

With this in mind and the new year looming, now is a good time to take a fresh look at how you manage your organization’s people and HR practices, processes and compliance.

An HR audit is an effective tool to assess your present status on a number of HR-related topics, and it provides recommendations on moving forward. “Not only will you learn where you are compliant or where you need to make changes, you’ll have a clear document that is useful in prioritizing your HR needs and focus for the new year,” says Bonnie Monroe, SPHR, Senior Consultant, Client Services with impactHR.

An audit helps identify areas where your business processes may not be in regulatory compliance and illuminates inefficient management practices. An HR audit also helps you evaluate employee management practices and identify areas for growth.

Through this evaluative process, companies and organizations can assess how their employees are doing; uncover work and process issues they may have; and determine how HR practices can best be aligned to strategic business goals.

“HR Audits provide a holistic analysis of your current policies, procedures and management practices,” says Denise Powell, SPHR, CCMP, Senior Consultant, Client Services with impactHR. “Our comprehensive report provides observations and recommendations ranked by degree of risk or priority, enabling you to quickly address areas of concern and effectively conduct strategic planning for new organizational initiatives.”

To illustrate this, here’s a checklist of what an HR audit typically entails:

Develop an audit questionnaire: This document identifies the key areas of your HR management practices with a list of specific questions related to each area.

Collect the data: Collect and review all pertinent written documents, forms, communication materials and personnel files.

Conduct interviews: Gather input from the management team regarding their HR needs, issues, challenges and their day-to-day management practices and employee-related issues.

Summarize the results: Consolidate the information collected. Benchmark the results with market data. Determine which practices are good and which practices need improvement. Recommend specific solutions for improvements.

Obtain approval from senior management: Present the preliminary results and recommendations to senior management. Point out how these recommendations will support their business growth objectives. Obtain their support and approval.
Create action plans: These plans help ensure the audit delivers positive results over the near and long-term.

Foster a climate of continuous improvement: Commit to constant observation and continuous improvement of the company’s policies, procedures and practices. Smart, efficient HR management practices can make a significant difference in a company’s growth path.

In support of this, an HR audit help fuel your employees’ performance and provide leadership with a more focused direction in a time of great uncertainty.

impactAction: If you have questions about HR audits, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Employer Violations Totaling $2.9M

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports it has issued 204 citations (since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Nov. 5) from inspections for violations relating to COVID-19 with proposed penalties totaling roughly $2.9 million.

In its report, OSHA cites a number of common employer violations, including failure to:

  • Implement a written respiratory protection program “with required worksite-specific procedures and elements for required respirator use”
  • Provide a medical evaluation and respirator fit test, plus training on the proper use of a respirator and personal protective equipment
  • Report an injury, illness or fatality

Read more.

impactAction: If you have questions about OSHA compliance, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Protecting Your Organization’s Brand in the Social Media Era

Social media’s relevance in this pandemic era, in almost every sphere of life, is more evident than ever. With so much routine business activity now conducted online – whether sales, services, operations and HR – it’s vital for companies and organizations to strive to do more to manage and protect their online social brands.

When it comes to recruiting for your open positions, for example, knowing how your company is portrayed and talked about in social media, such as with negative company reviews on portals like Glassdoor, can by turns help and harm your ability to optimize your recruitment and retention strategies.

To get started in managing a proactive brand-management and protection strategy, here are some steps companies and organizations can take:

  • Companies can enlist their employees to be voluntary online brand ambassadors who promote their organizations and work culture. Doing so can help companies start to turn the tables on negative reviews on social media platforms.
  • Have your company recruiters research job candidates’ social media accounts early in the hiring process to weed out those who exhibit inappropriate or uncivil social media behavior.
  • For managers, talk with your team members often to uncover their perceptions of your company’s great attributes and learn the ways to build a better work environment aligned with your company values.
  • Build an “Employee Value Proposition” – a statement of why your employees would want to work for you and build their careers for the long-term. This proposition can be included in company internal and external communication materials in a consistent manner.
  • With this dynamic, companies can maintain and build their reputation as a great place to work.

Companies, for example, can raise their positive visibility by encouraging employees to represent their companies at virtual industry conferences, professional panel participation and related networking events. Your employees can share your employment brand when they meet new people (virtually or safely in-person) and help create a lasting positive impression.

Every one of your employees is a potential brand ambassador for you. You don’t want to give them a reason for a negative review about their experience at your company.

impactAction: For more on protecting your company’s employment brand strategy, contact us or call 443-741-3900.

Researchers Develop COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool

Researchers from Georgia Tech and Stanford have developed a new tool that may help employers and employees maintain higher levels of COVID-19 safety when gathering in groups of various sizes.

The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool “shows the risk level of attending an event, given the event size and location,” according to the researchers.

The risk level is defined as “the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event.” The researchers’ online map shows this risk for every county in the US. Learn more.

US ICE Extends I-9 Flexible Compliance Rule Through Dec. 31, 2020

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced an extension through December 31, 2020 of its rule that employers with employees working remotely will not be required to review new employees’ identity and employment authorization documents in their employees’ physical presence.

Reminder: ICE’s flexible I-9 policy only applies to employers and workplaces operating remotely. ICE states: “If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.” Learn more.