HR compliance risk management is a challenging responsibility for any professional in Higher Education. Federal, state, and local laws and regulations are in constant motion, and sometimes your university or college's standards are as well. While there are certainly a number of strategies to help reduce or eliminate workforce compliance risk, to follow are three of our top practices and action steps, specifically geared towards Higher Education institutions, to help get a handle on managing HR compliance risk.
1. Partner With The College’s Compliance Professionals
When it comes to reducing HR compliance risk, you are not alone. Depending on your college’s size and complexity, you will have several partners to approach. For example, you may reach out to finance and legal to discuss training and communication strategies to aid in the efforts of compliance risk management. To engage these professionals, you will need to speak their language. For finance, that means demonstrating the business case – a $3,000 training program may be successful in preventing a $50,000 lawsuit. For legal professionals, it pays to cite specific laws and regulations that impose fines, penalties and other consequences on the college.
Action Step: Write a list of two or more internal partners (e.g. finance managers, attorneys) who work at the college who would be open to collaborating. Introduce yourself and request a meeting to brainstorm further options.
2. Equip Yourself With Compliance Training and Knowledge
As the old saying goes, knowing is half the battle. As an HR professional, compliance matters may not have been an area of focus for you in the past. However, your managers and stakeholders look to you for advice and suggestions on how to protect the institution and staff from compliance risks. You can make yourself more valuable by reading books on HR compliance risk management (e.g. Employee Risk Management: How to Protect Your Business Reputation and Reduce Your Legal Liability by Helen Rideout) or accessing resources created by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Action Step: Identify three resources (e.g. books, courses, association training events) that you can use to build your knowledge of HR compliance risk management.
3. Leverage Outside Expertise
At this point, you may feel frustrated and say, "I just don’t have time to take on these additional responsibilities." This is one of the more common responses, and while you cannot fully outsource your compliance risk management responsibilities, you can at least share the burden with outside resources. For example, you may bring in an outside HR training professional each year to provide training to your managers. Further, you can reduce risk in the hiring process by working with a staffing firm who understands the unique pressures associated with hiring in the academic world.
Action Step: Contact us for a compliance risk assessment focused on higher education.
Too Busy To Manage HR Compliance Risk?
After reading this article, you may realize that you simply cannot take on another responsibility. Yet, ignoring this risk isn’t a great option either. After all, an auditor or executive may one day ask how you are taking care of compliance risk in staffing. You can reduce the burden substantially by working with an experienced staffing agency.
To find out more, please contact us to discuss your staffing situation and discuss ways to reduce your compliance risk.