Compliance for HR, HR Management, Training

Compliance and Training – Both are part of the Great Employee Experience

At the start of the year, most organizations, and certainly HR departments, start looking at the calendar for the full year. What must be done, and by when? Who’s going to do it and how much is it going to cost? Maintaining HR compliance and budgeting/scheduling for employee training takes up a big part of this calendar. How can they possibly be part of the Great Employee Experience?

It’s true — Compliance is not the most exciting way to start the year. I’m going to let you in on a little HR secret — your HR staff doesn’t like it, either. We don’t like doing it, and truly we even agree with you that some of it is foolish and takes too much time. However, as most organizations are heading into 2023 with an understanding that they need to level up their employee experience, let’s consider this: nearly all compliance requirements came out of former circumstance in which employees were not being treated as they should be.

Why do we have to track all injuries and report them to OSHA? Well, because once upon a time during our industrial revolution our workplaces were not that safe, and injuries were considered all in a day’s work with little to no consideration of an employee’s future. Why do we have to comply with the Fair Labor Standard Act? Well, not that long ago (1938, in fact) employers had no minimum wage, no limits on how many hours were required to work a week and employed children as young as seven years old in mines, mills, and factories. So, while we may not be big fans of all the regulatory compliance requirements, we get it.

What is compliance, anyway?

In the simplest terms, it’s about following the rules and staying out of legal trouble. However, as we’ve already presented, these compliance requirements ensure basic human rights. The right to work, the right to equal pay, the right to work in a place that’s safe, and the right to have mandated benefits. These are the backbone of the employee experience, and the least that the government can guarantee organizations provide. How you address these basic rights begins the definition of your company culture.

Compliance falls under four main categories:

  • Regulatory: These are the local and national laws and regulations that pertain to a company. They may depend upon company size, nature of the business, and its industry. Maintaining regulatory compliance is part of your organization’s integrity, and it lets your employees (and customers) know that you are focused on doing the right thing.
  • HR Compliance: Many of these also fall under regulatory (such as overtime laws) but also include policies and procedures that may not be governed by law and instead rely on consistent application of your own policies (such as PTO or Holiday pay). When you are compliant and consistent with your own policies, you are much more likely to have a higher trust organization, and one with fewer HR complaints.
  • Data: As we get more and more reliant on technology, it’s more and more critical to ensure that we are correctly collecting, storing, and protecting data against loss, misuse, or corruption. With more employees working remote, how data is protected across multiple devices and how ownership is established and governed is of key concern.
  • Health and Safety: Nearly every employer is responsible for the health and safety of their employees, regardless of how small their operation.

How do you keep up? It’s true the compliance requirements are always evolving. It’s important that your organization has a trusted resource to help you keep current with new requirements that might impact your operations. This could be an HR partner, a newsletter, or a membership organization. Just because you didn’t, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have known.

What does compliance have to do with training?

Organizations meet compliance requirements to provide employee basic needs. However, to really create a great experience, employers must go well above and beyond to not only provide the basic needs, but also intrinsic needs of the employees.

Re-Skill Your Weakest Link

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), hiring managers are now considering a candidate’s soft skills to carry more weight in the hiring process than ever before. These include talents such as emotional intelligence, empathy, resilience, adaptability, and self-motivation. These skills are every bit as important as technical skills when managing a workforce, especially one that has such a focus on mental health. Since the pandemic, employees everywhere have started putting more focus on their own mental and physical wellbeing, and they expect their employers to do the same for them. Companies can do so by focusing on flexibility, career development, and an intentional focus on the safety (physical and psychological) of their teams. This starts with your managers. Even the best companies with the best cultures and best of intentions are only as strong as their weakest managers. HR leaders in 2023 must understand that managers must be given the skills necessary to improve the employee experience to attract and retain employees. If you have managers that rely on micro-managing, authoritarian behavior, or hiding behind their office doors, it’s time to re-skill those managers into ones that are interactive communicators with the employee’s best interests in mind. Our managers need to step up what “great communication” looks like when it comes to their teams.

And Employees Want to Be Better, Too

Training also includes “upskilling” current staff. Employees want to know that they are working for a company doing meaningful work, and that they are making meaningful contributions to that work. This is also part of the career development they need. Employee “upskilling” is training that enhances an employee’s current skillset and is great way to encourage retention. It keeps your workforce sustainable and boosts morale with employees who know that you are investing in them. While this is an investment, it also saves money when compared with the cost of recruiting and onboarding that employee’s replacement if they leave because they’ve gone stagnant or ignored. Identify the training opportunities for your staff so that they can really excel.

First Steps

Work on your compliance calendar for 2023 to make sure you have all your basic needs covered. If that seems overwhelming, or you aren’t even sure where to start, it’s a great opportunity to bring in your friends at HR Affiliates to do an assessment and help you prepare a project plan to get you where you need to be.

Identify training opportunities for managers. We all need it – no matter how experienced we are or what great feedback we might already get from our team. There’s always opportunity to be better. However, I would venture to say that many managers have not been able to keep up with the evolving mental health support needs of the workforce. Help them get the skills they need to be excellent managers.

Identify development opportunities for staff. How can they go from good to great? Who are your superstars in training? They are waiting to do wonderful things for your company – give them the tools!


Sign up to stay up to date

Stay informed about HR issues that matter to you with customized news delivered monthly to your inbox. Sign up now and we’ll share the most relevant developments in the world of HR.