Key HR Focus Areas for Success in a Complex Landscape

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by G. T. HR

In the complex and ever-evolving landscape of Human Resources (HR), staying compliant with regulations and best practices is a key HR focus area for HR Professionals. HR professionals play a critical role in ensuring that their department adheres to legal requirements, fosters a positive work environment, and contributes to an organization’s success. In this article, we will explore key HR focus areas HR professionals should address to maintain compliance and effectively manage their department

Hiring and Onboarding Process

Job Descriptions and Hiring Practices

HR professionals must start by creating clear and accurate job descriptions that outline essential qualifications and responsibilities. These descriptions serve as the foundation for compliant hiring practices, ensuring that candidates are evaluated based on objective criteria. They are also essential in providing a solid foundation when contesting unemployment claims or other types of employee litigation. Additionally, HR teams should focus on fair and non-discriminatory interviews and selection processes.

Finding and Hiring the Right Employees

Efficient talent acquisition is paramount for organizational success. Utilizing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) has become a strategic imperative for companies of all sizes. An ATS streamlines the hiring process by automating various stages, from posting job openings to assessing candidate qualifications and scheduling interviews. This not only saves valuable time and resources but also enhances the overall candidate experience. Moreover, an ATS allows for better data management, helping organizations make data-driven hiring decisions, improve their recruitment strategies, and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. By harnessing the power of an ATS, businesses can tap into a larger talent pool, identify top candidates faster, and ultimately secure the right talent to drive their growth and success.

Efficient Onboarding and Documentation

A compliant onboarding process involves collecting necessary documentation, such as employment contracts, tax forms, and confidentiality agreements. A vital part of having a compliant and efficient onboarding process is utilizing a Human Resource Information System (HRIS).  

Using an HRIS not only saves time and resources but also ensures a consistent and efficient onboarding experience for all new hires. HR professionals can leverage these systems to automate administrative tasks, such as paperwork and compliance documentation, allowing them to focus on more strategic aspects of talent management. Moreover, an employee onboarding system facilitates better communication and engagement with new employees, promoting a positive first impression and increasing retention rates. Overall, the adoption of such systems is essential in modern HR practices to improve efficiency, compliance, and the overall employee experience.

Employee Screening

Crucial Role of Employee Screening in Ensuring Safety and Compliance

Recruiting the right talent is a key HR focus area for leaders in order to build continuity and avoid costs of a bad hiring decision. Employee screening serves as a critical step in ensuring a safe working environment, mitigating risks, and maintaining legal compliance. By thoroughly vetting potential hires, employers can significantly reduce the likelihood of hiring individuals with a history of violence, criminal behavior, or substance abuse, thus enhancing workplace safety. Additionally, effective screening helps identify candidates whose qualifications align with the job requirements, promoting productivity and reducing the chances of on-the-job accidents or errors.

In industries governed by strict regulations, such as healthcare or finance, rigorous employee screening helps organizations remain compliant with legal requirements, avoiding costly penalties and reputational damage. Employee screening is an indispensable tool that not only safeguards the well-being of employees but also safeguards an organization’s reputation and financial stability.

Employee Handbook

Crafting a Dynamic Handbook to Ensure Compliance

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, maintaining an up-to-date employee handbook is paramount, particularly for organizations operating across multiple states. Compliance with federal and state labor laws is a complex and ever-changing challenge, making a comprehensive and current handbook an indispensable tool for any company. By regularly reviewing and revising our employee handbook, we not only ensure that our policies and practices align with the latest legal requirements but also demonstrate our commitment to fostering a transparent and fair workplace.

Additionally, an up-to-date handbook serves as a vital means of communication with our employees, providing them with clear guidance on their rights, responsibilities, and expectations. It promotes consistency in our operations and sets the foundation for a positive and harmonious work environment, ultimately enhancing our company’s overall success.

Resources for Your HR Team

Protect Your Company by Providing Your HR Department the Support They Need

A key HR focus area for HR professionals is ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations, while also managing the delicate task of employee discipline and terminations. It is imperative that HR professionals have access to comprehensive resources, such as outsourced HR consultants or legal advice, that can assist them in addressing issues such as harassment, regulatory questions, and other employee issues effectively and navigating their complexities.

These outsourced resources not only enhance organizational compliance but also mitigate legal risks, fostering a stable and legally sound work environment. Furthermore, equipped with the right tools and knowledge, HR professionals can handle employee discipline and terminations with fairness, empathy, and professionalism, which not only safeguards the organization’s reputation but also contributes to employee satisfaction and morale. In this context, access to reliable resources is indispensable, empowering HR professionals to make informed decisions that benefit both the company and its workforce.

Monitor Leave of Absence Requirements

The Strategic Significance of Complying with Federal and State Leave of Absence Requirements

It is paramount for organizations to stay vigilant and proactive in adhering to federal and state leave of absence requirements. Compliance with these regulations is not merely a matter of legal obligation but a strategic imperative for any responsible enterprise. Failure to do so can result in costly penalties, litigation, and damage to the company’s reputation. By continuously monitoring and aligning leave policies with the latest federal and state mandates, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to both legal compliance and the well-being of their workforce. This not only safeguards the organization but also contributes to a more productive and inclusive workplace culture.

Benefits Administration

Drive Efficiency and Compliance with Benefit Administration Software

The role of HR professionals in managing employee benefits has become increasingly critical area of focus. To streamline this essential function, the adoption of benefits administration software has proven to be a game-changer. This technology not only enhances operational efficiency by automating time-consuming tasks like enrollment and payroll integration but also elevates the overall employee experience by providing self-service portals and real-time access to benefit information. Moreover, benefits administration software plays a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with ever-evolving regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of costly penalties.

Navigating COBRA Compliance: Essential Steps for HR Professionals

Compliance with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is essential for organizations that offer health benefits. HR professionals should ensure that employees and their eligible dependents receive information about their rights to continue health coverage after certain qualifying events. Timely notifications, accurate record-keeping, and premium collection are essential aspects of COBRA administration. Due to the high administrative burden, it is common for COBRA administration to be outsourced to third-party administrators to free up internal resources and ensure compliance.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Compliance

Determine if You Must Comply with The Affordable Care Act

The ACA mandates that eligible employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees, known as “applicable large employers” (ALEs), provide affordable health insurance options to their employees. ALEs are subject to specific requirements, such as offering minimum essential coverage, adhering to affordability standards, and fulfilling reporting requirements. Failure to comply with ACA regulations can result in significant penalties and increased administrative burdens. Therefore, it is important that HR professionals determine if they are ALEs and must comply to avoid significant penalties. You can learn more about the calculation to determine ALE status HERE.

Smaller employers, with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees, are generally exempt from the ACA’s employer mandate but may still be required to perform ACA mandated reporting if they provide self-funded insurance benefits to their employees.

Reporting and Documentation

Performing year-end ACA (Affordable Care Act) reporting is of paramount importance for Applicable Large Employers (ALEs). This regulatory requirement ensures compliance with the ACA’s employer mandate provisions and serves as a critical tool for the IRS to monitor and enforce healthcare coverage standards. ALEs must file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C to report information about the healthcare coverage they offer to employees.

Form 1094-C acts as a transmittal form, summarizing the information provided on Form 1095-C, which is provided to each eligible employee. If the filer is submitting more than 10 returns to the IRS in a year, they are required to e-file them to the government. Accurate and timely ACA reporting helps employers stay in compliance with the law and avoid potential penalties. As the regulatory landscape evolves, ALEs must prioritize the diligent completion and submission of these forms to ensure ongoing compliance with ACA requirements.

Utilizing Available Tax Incentives

Leveraging Tax Credits

Utilizing Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC) and Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits can yield substantial financial benefits for businesses. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal program designed to incentivize employers to hire individuals from specific target groups, such as veterans, ex-felons, and individuals receiving government assistance. By hiring from these groups, businesses can earn tax credits that can significantly reduce their federal income tax liability.

On the other hand, Research and Development Tax Credits are meant to encourage innovation and technological advancement. Companies that engage in qualified research activities, such as developing new products or improving existing ones, can claim a portion of their R&D expenses as tax credits. These credits not only provide a boost to a company’s bottom line but also foster innovation and job creation.

By taking advantage of Work Opportunity Tax Credits and Research and Development Tax Credits, businesses can not only reduce their tax burden but also promote diversity and innovation within their organizations, ultimately leading to long-term financial success.

Managing The Key HR Focus Areas is Vital for HR Professionals

In conclusion, compliance is a key HR focus area for HR professionals as they navigate the complexities of managing a workforce. From the hiring and onboarding process to benefits administration, employee handbook development, and regulatory compliance such as the ACA and COBRA, HR departments play a critical role in ensuring that the organization operates within the boundaries of the law while promoting a positive workplace culture. By staying informed, fostering compliance, and effectively managing employee experiences, HR professionals can contribute to the overall success of their organizations and create an environment where employees thrive.

MyHRConcierge Will Help You With Key HR Focus Areas

MyHRConcierge’s services are designed to assist HR professionals in ensuring compliance with key HR focus areas. We offer comprehensive solutions that simplify processes, from hiring and onboarding to benefits administration and regulatory compliance like the ACA and COBRA. By staying informed and maintaining compliance with our guidance, HR professionals can contribute to their organization’s success and create an environment where employees thrive, while minimizing legal risks.

Contact us today at 855-538-6947 ext 108, or schedule a free consultation at your convenience below: