Why HR needs to stay on top of increasingly changing legal issues
In the past, the HR department simply provided operational support and performed back-office personnel tasks in most workplaces. Today’s competitive and highly regulated marketplace has created significant changes in the human resources function.
HR has evolved beyond a worker bee existence into securing a significant advisory role within an organisation. These days, senior leadership relies heavily on your department to ensure that the company’s overall business strategy is consistent with the many complex laws and regulations that govern the workplace environment. Each year, new legislation is passed or substantively changed, bringing about more concerns & issues for human resources professionals and highlighting the importance of remaining compliant in a heavily regulated workplace environment.
The HR function must ensure that companies successfully operate by effectively dealing with all the compliance issues affecting the modern workplace – employment discrimination, harassment, immigration, employee privacy, unemployment, workers’ compensation, age, race & sex discrimination and employee benefits, to name only a few.
As each of these areas continues to change, the HR function must evolve and change as well. It’s crucial that you avoid complacent, resistant-to-change attitudes by staying informed of the constant changes affecting labour & employment law. Take care to proactively revise and implement policies on a timely basis in order to efficiently assure compliance with the increasingly changing regulatory & legislative landscape that governs the contemporary workplace.
There’s no doubt that HR capabilities extend beyond compliance. On any given day it’s likely that you and your team spend time doing interviewing and hiring, employee documentation, job descriptions, staff and management training programs, performance evaluations and implementing various organisational development programs.
With such an extensive list of responsibilities, it’s possible to overlook the importance of staying informed of changes in labour and employment law. However, a well-informed and reactionary HR department is likely to operate more efficiently and cost effectively than one that favours a complacent and resistant-to-change attitude. Proactively implementing policies that align with changes in labour and employment help your company to avoid liability for being non-compliant.
When working to remain compliant, be sure to avoid the tendency to engage in benefit analyses that assess the benefits of refusing to comply with the law with the costs associated with compliance. Fully understand that the ramifications of noncompliance, which can include various penalties, risk of civil action, and lost profits, often are greater than the costs associated with remaining compliant. Knowing the impact that non-compliance may have on the overall success of the business is essential for understanding and appreciating human resources’ role within the compliance framework.
Don’t put your organisation at risk — make sure that every step you take is legally sound & compliant.