By: Angie Addison, SHRM-CP, PHR – Milestones HR, LLC

We get it, growing a company requires attention to many moving parts. Your office manager or accounting professional likely has competing tasks, one of which is managing human resources. Despite the best intentions, simple and honest mistakes in human resources practices happen. We are often asked to partner with professional services businesses, with fewer than 80 employees, to give an assessment of their human resources practices. We bring decades of experience, knowledge, and friendly wisdom to every engagement with the knowledge that whomever is leading HR is doing the best they can with the training they have. We often get asked, what kind of HR mistakes do you often find?

Here are 7 mistakes commonly discovered in our comprehensive Human Resources Audit (and how to avoid them):
1. Job descriptions lack ADA requirements.
Job descriptions without the physical and environmental requirements outlined can cause uncomfortable issues. When these requirements of the job are detailed up front, everyone can understand if an accommodation can or cannot be made. This reduces emotional decisions and confusion for all.

2. Inconsistent Hiring Process
It’s possible not all of your candidates were interviewed the same way. It’s important to score candidates against standard interview questions with a consistent procedure. This provides a level of objectivity that protects everyone involved.

3. Offer Letter vs. Employment Contract
Your offer letter might imply a contracted engagement by accident. Some phrasing that seems perfectly benign to you could create sticky situations after a termination. It’s important for all offer letters to include an “at will” statement.

4. Non-compliant Personnel Files.
I-9 records and HIPAA protected documents require specific completion and safeguarding. For example, employees’ HIPAA protected information must be kept private from their manager. It’s important to implement systems and best practices that protect your company as well as your employees.

5. Inadequate or Absent Employee Handbook
Many small businesses operate with a copy-and-paste employee handbook or none at all. Anytime is the perfect time to make sure that your employee handbook fits your company culture, doesn’t offer unintended benefits, and aligns employees with your mission, vision, and values. See our article on Employee Handbooks for more insight and best practices.

6. Noncompliant with Benefits
Certain government agencies, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), require companies to report out on benefits annually. Be the benefits hero by understanding the proper documentation, the required time to send notices to employees, and when to offer COBRA.

7. Employee Performance Concerns
It’s not comfortable or fun to document employee performance concerns, meetings, or improvement plans, but it’s the right thing to do. Proper documentation provides protection for both the employee and the business.

Checking a few mental boxes of things you want to look in to? We can help! Milestones HR, LLC. “looks under the hood” to discover what’s working, what needs a tune-up, and what’s setting off “check engine” lights. And unlike most HR audits, we’ll suggest solutions to fine tune your human resources practices that you can implement on your own or with our help.