By Staff Report
Jan. 23, 2003
Here is a comprehensive audit for all human resources practices. Bulleted items indicate the sections that follow below:
Department Organization Questionnaire
The Human Resources Department is structured, organized and equipped to provide overall strategy, direction and effective management of the organization’s human resources function to accomplish organizational objectives.
Has this mission statement been communicated to all management personnel?
Has this mission statement been communicated to other customers throughout the organization?
If so, to whom?
If so, to whom?
Does the organization chart clearly define functional responsibilities and whom customers can contact for service?
Does the department subscribe to major technical and professional journals?
Are they compensated based on comparable positions within the organization?
If so, is it attentive to the bottom line and does it demonstrate a business orientation?
Are supervisors or managers reporting to other mid-level managers?
How many employees are in the Human Resources department?
What is the ratio of HR department staff to all employees served?
How does this compare to the staffing levels of other comparable organizations offering similar services?
On the same one-to-seven scale, how do you think the employees would rate the overall effectiveness and structure of the HR department?
Explanation of Department Organization Questionnaire
For each of the 11 categories, the Self-Audit questions are designed to rate how well the HR department achieves the purpose of the category definition stated at the top of the questionnaire: Is the HR department structured,organized and equipped to provide overall strategy, direction and effective management of the organization’s human resources function to accomplish the organization’s objectives?
Questions one through nine explore how department leaders achieve organization objectives, are part of management’s strategic planning effort and assist in making decisions that affect bottom-line results. These questions both help ensure that HR’s efforts are in accord with customer needs and suggest ways HR teams can take the lead in helping customers get the most out of the organization’s human resources.
Questions 10 through 26 address communicating department functions and services to all customers, staff objectives and internal relationships, staff’s dual role as internal consultants to management and counselors to employees,staff competence and flexibility, cross-training, balancing employee needs with business needs and a bottom-line results orientation.
The components of question 24 also relate to staff size, structure and span of control. Industry-specific standards for staff size are available from a variety of professional publications, such as the Saratoga Institute’s “HREffectiveness Survey” and national and regional statistics compiled by theBureau of National Affairs (BNA). Any surveys that relate specifically to your type of organization will make that benchmark more credible.
Questions 25 and 26 address resources and planning to ensure the delivery of required services.
Human Resources Planning/Organizational Development Questionnaire
The process of identifying and providing ways to fulfill the organization’s developmental and human resource needs.
Formally/informally? (please describe)
Availability of outside workforce demographics (age, sex, minority classification, education, skills level, occupations, etc.)
Anticipated changed in your organizations technology, processes,products/services and markets.
Personnel needs these changes will require (e.g. new skills, education,knowledge and abilities).
How far into the future?
How far into the future?
If yes, is there a succession plan to target high potential employees?
How far into the future?
Is outplacement assistance offered?
Are there strategies to support remaining employees?
Explanation of Human Resources Planning/Organizational DevelopmentQuestionnaire
Affirmative answers to all the questions in this section means the organization’s development and human resource needs are being met. The emphasis is on connecting organizational development and workforce need projections with internal and external workforce skills.
Questions one through seven deal with influences on the planning process)changing workforce, markets and customers, products, services, technology/skills base and identification of external supply).
Questions eight through 17 deal with internal assessment and availability of these same considerations: organizational development activities in management development, training, career and succession planning to satisfy workforce demands within the organizations. If the internal labor supply is greater than the need, then the tougher issues of resource reallocation have to be addressed(questions 18 and 19).
Human resources planning is particularly important for emerging, rapid-growth and high tech businesses. Mature businesses in need of new products, services,markets, acquisitions or divestitures must also plan to identify, attract or reallocate the talent necessary for revitalization and continued competition.
Here’s a little piece of information about that technological revolution, a headline from an article reporting on a study by Worldwatch Institute back in 1980: Micro Electronics Seen Producing Sweeping Industrial Change. That’s certainly old news about the future, but there’s a reason to go back to this story to remind us they told us what was going to happen. Most of us just didn’t pay attention.
Recruitment and Selection Questionnaire
The process providing timely recruitment, selection and placement of high-quality employees to satisfy the organization’s staffing requirements.
Does the policy contain procedures to guide managers through the recruitment and selection process and describe how to get help?
Is recruitment linked to human resources planning (projected workforce requirements)?
Does the job analysis accompany the hiring authorization?
Does the job analysis accurately identify the key objectives and responsibilities of the position?
Does the job analysis accurately identify the essential ‘can do’ skills needed (i.e., skills, abilities, knowledge, education and experience)?
Does the job analysis accurately identify the essential ‘will do’ skills needed (e.g., leadership, interpersonal, entrepreneurial, communication and good attitude)?
If some positions are determined to be filled from within, how is this determination made?
If so, does the job posting contain the job objectives, needs and requirements cited in the job analysis (#6 above)?
Who participates in the strategy development?
Does this strategy include affirmative action and diversity needs?
10. What kind of recruiting sources does your organization use and for what positions:
Special events recruitment (e.g., job fairs and expos)?
Community referral agencies (e.g., state employment and training offices)?
“Quasi-search” methods (e.g., hourly rate paid to recruiting professionals for targeting candidate sourcing or use of professional candidate researchers)?
Internal computerized applicant database?
Professional networking (e.g., associations)?
Direct mail recruitment?
Personal networks (e.g., local competitors, customers, suppliers,outplacement firms or industry research)?
If so, please give examples:
How many people are typically involved in the interviewing process?
Are panel interviews used?
Who makes the final hiring decision?
Who performs the reference checks?
Are they professionally validated?
Are peak and low hiring cycles identified?
Project or contract outsourcing?
Internal temporary placement pool?
Part-time employment and job sharing?
Questions three through 12 examine how the company attracts job candidates.Question 10 deals with finding candidates. Cost-benefit analyses of all hiring sources (questions 11 and 12) will tell you where to place your recruiting energies and financial resources.
Questions on the selection process (13 to 20) may be more important togovernment agencies and contractors because of highly regulated selection criteria, affirmative action and diversity implications. Fiscal constraints andregional preferences may also restrict government staffing professionals to themost inexpensive sources, regardless of their results.
What makes a successful manager is the ability to influence positive behaviorand to hire the best talent. HR professional counseling, guidance and training on effective interviewing and selection are essential to help managers make theright hiring decisions. It is also essential that the selection criteria beequally and consistently applied to all applicants.
Companies’ efforts to reduce both their workforce and their fixed labor costs have resulted in less costly ways to satisfy workforce requirements. These include outsourcing and temporary workers, which transfer costs on a variable basis. This is why Manpower, Inc. has become the largest employer in the U.S.today. If your organization uses these methods, be aware of possible long-term quality problems resulting from reduced commitment and lack of company pride.
A system of evaluating jobs and compensating employees to ensure that the organization attracts, retains and motivates employees to accomplish organizational objectives.
Is this policy linked to the organization’s management philosophy oncompensating employees, and does it reinforce the values of the organization?
Is the organization’s compensation philosophy clearly communicated to allemployees?
Is it clearly supported and monitored by management?
Compensation paid to comparable exempt job functions nationwide?
Compensation paid to comparable exempt job functions industry-wide?
How frequently are there market studies performed?
Are pay ranges wide enough so as not to force vertical pay growth?
Are pay ranges wide enough and procedures available to reward additionalknowledge, skills, abilities and responsibilities and encourage lateral careergrowth?
Do the intervals between ranges clearly define the differences in positionsassigned to those pay ranges?
Are pay differences great enough to ensure that a subordinate is not paidmore than his or her supervisor, including overtime payments?
Are all comparable jobs reviewed for possible evidence of uneven treatment for females or minorities?
Does the performance appraisal establish clear objectives, expectations and performance measurement criteria linked to that specific job?
Does the performance appraisal provide objective, interactive and meaningfulfeedback on performance?
Do performance objectives clearly support departmental and organizational objectives?
Are these objectives and measurement criteria discussed with the individual being appraised?
Do the employees have clear and direct control over the outcome of their appraisals?
Do performance appraisals reflect an employee’s positive behavior, as well as results?
Do performance appraisals include a written plan to improve employees’ knowledge and skills?
Are pay plans linked to rewards for measured performance?
Is the performance rating/pay adjustment reviewed by someone in a positionhigher than that of the rater before discussion with the employee and implementation?
Does it work as intended, or is it a tool for compensation adjustment?
Does an outstanding performance merit an outstanding reward?
Are ranges and limits clearly defined (e.g., pay increments linked to performance measures)?
Is distribution of compensation among departments reviewed by management forconsistency and equity before awarding increases?
Profit-sharing awards based on organization-wide profitability.
Special recognition awards, e.g., bonuses for meeting a combination of results criteria, including department contribution performance, major productivity increases, sales and profit increases, and cost savings.
Group or team productivity based on team performance and distributed by teammembers.
Gain-sharing awards based on local performance.
A special pay-for-knowledge system, e.g., payment for increased development of employee knowledge, skills, abilities and/or responsibility (allowing a broader job design without changing assignments).
Explanation of Compensation Questionnaire
It is important for the organization to distribute a clear policy statement on its compensation philosophy to its employees. Guidelines are important to ensure consistency and equity in the reward systems. Compensation is probably the most objective aspect of HR management. You should be aware of this when scoring questions one through seven.
Compensation methods can help motivate the fulfillment of organizational objectives. For this reason, compensation experts receive higher pay than other HR professionals. Major consulting firms specialize in this area because compensation affects the organization’s bottom line.
If compensation alone drove performance, companies with big payrolls would always be the most profitable, but that isn’t the case. In fact, eliminating higher paid positions is the trend. Compensation programs should motivate and reward people for accomplishing organizational objectives.
Companies need to find new ways to reward individual, team and other group performance. Reward systems should take into consideration self-directed work teams, cross-functional problem-solving teams, matrix management, taking on added work responsibilities and more risk taking. If the organization wants a closer correlation between compensation and quality work, then the recognition of team performance is critical. Questions eight through 11 deal with these incentive issues.
Employee Benefits Questionnaire
Programs by which employees receive non cash compensation to ensure that the organization attracts, retains and motivates employees to accomplish organization objectives.
HEALTH CARE COST CONTAINMENT
How often does this occur?
A. Have you analyzed both of the following alternative health care programsfor their cost containment processes, including services offered, accessibility,quality of care and cost?
HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATONS (HMOs):
What are enrollment numbers for the past three years. (Rapid enrollment ratesma result in poorer service.)
Is the HMO accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)?
Were any conditions attached to the accreditation?
What is the public perception of the HMO (has it received bad press)?
Have organizations similar to yours fared well under this HMO? (Ask for alist of clients and call some of them.)
What are the exclusions or limitations on procedures, such as transplants, rehabilitative procedures and mental and nervous disorders?
PREFERRED PROVIDED ORGANIZATIONS (PPOs):
In addition to all the questions for HMOs above, what is the ratio of network vs. non-network charges?
Do employees accept the network doctors?
B. Has HR reviewed the following administrative controls:
In-house company data on premiums paid and claims processed?
Retention provisions of carriers, such as rebates or favorable rateconsideration for retention of company funds?
More favorable stop-loss arrangements with a carrier?
Encouraging employees to report errors in medical bills?
Health-care spending accounts and changing rules?
Nonduplication of benefits instead of traditional coordination of benefits?
Initiating a probationary period before health coverage begins?
C. Has HR reviewed basic cost management programs, including the following:
Increasing deductibles, coinsurance responsibility or copayment amounts?
Requiring second opinions for surgery?
Instituting pre-admission testing and certification?
Concurrent hospital stay reviews?
Closely managing chronic or costly illnesses?
Patient auditing of hospital bills?
Requiring employee plan usage data from health care carriers/administrators?
D. Has HR reviewed employee health promotion and education programs?
E. Has HR communicated with health care providers to review customized planoptions and cost containment measures?
Explanation of Employee Benefits Questionnaire
Employee benefits are necessary to attract and retain quality employees. Few organizations, however are able to find new ways to contain costs and use benefits as an incentive to improve employee productivity.
Health care cost containment is covered in questions four to seven. Aggressive negotiations with carriers, a closer look at administrative controls and cost-benefit analyses must be routinely carried out if an organization wants to convert high costs into increased profits. An annual review of benefit plan vendors should be conducted, especially for health care services which consume a large portion of expenses. The remarketing of a benefit program, however, should take place no more frequently than every three to five years, unless there are serious concerns about rates, service or accessibility. More frequent remarketing of a benefit plan damages the credibility of the employer, in terms of seeming disinterested in a long-term relationship. In an insured arrangement,the vendor will be left ‘holding the bag’ on runout claims.
Pay particular attention to cost-management programs under question seven.Spending more time on these details will result in better claims management.Question 7C should answer the following questions:
You are entitled to this information. By monitoring how the healthcare planis used, it is possible to decrease claim costs. Some negotiation with thecarrier/administrator may be necessary to obtain reports in a meaningful format.
Because health care accounts for the largest portion of most benefit packages you should strive to raise your performance standards as an employer by applying your business strategies to health care management. According to David W.Kempken, Executive Director of Benefits for Chrysler Corp., you should re-examine your standards for plan design, administration, communication and provider relationships with the goal of “best practices.” Nonhealth-related employee benefits, such as vacation time, sick leave, pension formulas,retirement incentives, holidays and unemployment compensation tend to remain untouched. There is literature which addresses these issues. They could save your organization quite a bit of money.
Benefits can increase productivity by meeting lifestyle and family demands in a diverse and changing work force. Daycare centers, flextime, work-at-home options, alternate leave provisions, cash options and other benefit bartering arrangements may improve worker productivity. The principle that a happy worker is a more productive worker still holds. Likewise, funding benefits that do not meet the needs of the workforce are both counterproductive and unprofitable. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey (March 31, 1995) cites useful benefit cost benchmarks: total benefit costs as a percentage of payroll average 41.3% nationwide. Medical benefits account for 11.1% of the total.
Employee Relations and Communications Questionnaire
This section audits programs that govern employee treatment, communications,support systems and services that encourage greater employee satisfaction,motivation and productivity.
Are follow-up employee orientations scheduled?
If so, briefly describe:
If yes, how frequently?
Do you communicate survey results to employees?
Is there a demonstrated commitment to introducing changes based on survey data?
Are they consistently applied?
Do you consider this high or low?
In what departments/areas are absences particularly high and why?
Do you consider this high or low?
Who is given feedback from the exit interview and how is it used?
How is this analysis used?
What has management done in the past two years to reduce turnover?
Explanation of Employee Relations and Communications Questionnaire
This section covers employee satisfaction. This critical aspect of humanresources management is broad in scope, complicated and difficult to measure.Since almost half of our waking hours are spent at work, an interesting andpleasant work environment is essential to retain quality employees.
The questions in this section are designed to help you understand and dealwith intangible employee relation issues. These include communication, howemployees are treated, support systems and those conditions of employmentconducive to employee satisfaction, motivation and productivity. Three majorissues are covered here: (1) communication, (2) employee treatment and (3)statistics as a gauge of employee satisfaction.
Policy statements, newsletters, bulletins, messages and information handbookshelp the employer communicate with the employee. The employer’s willingness tocommit to its philosophy in writing sets the stage for a candid dialogue. Astandard of openness displays a sense of trust. While employees may not readevery word, these communications help the employee identify with the company andits success.
Most important in this section are the responses to questions nine and ten. It is important for your organization to have scheduled an interaction with employee groups and representatives for discussion of issues of mutual concern.
How the company treats employees is certainly important to them. It is also crucial to the organization’s well-being. Bad or inconsistent treatment is the number one cause of voluntary turnover. Money can’t compensate if basic human needs, such as dignity, respect, justice and social interaction, are lacking. An increase in work hours, coupled with a decrease in the quality of work life,loyalty and security issues, is responsible for a resurgence in union membership. The unionization of white-collar employees and frontline workers is increasing, particularly in services, such as government, hospitals, insurance and financial firms. How the employees are treated should be of utmost concern to you.
Policy guidelines help managers make decisions concerning specific workplace issues. From the employer’s point of view, personnel policies and procedures which guide managers to do their jobs better are extremely valuable and help the organization achieve its objectives.
Personnel Policies/Workplace Rules Questionnaire
Statements of guiding principles intended to translate organizational objectives and means into operational terms and help managers make decisions.
How? (please describe)
If yes, does management periodically review such outside rules to see if theyreflect the organization’s current needs?
Explanation of Personnel Policies/Workplace Rules Questionnaire
Personnel policies and workplace rules are intended to make organizational objectives reality. They should guide managers to do their jobs better and help them make decisions concerning workplace issues. Policies and procedures should cite their bases and resources to help managers make informed decisions.Personnel policies should also be flexible enough for managers to exercise discretion.
In a flattening organizational structure, policies and procedures can supportdelegating decisions. They should serve as a basis for managerial direction,accountability, consistent and effective behavior and compliance monitoring.
The policy manual should serve as a guide for the department to maintainaccountability for managing and delivering human resource services effectively.A balance between staff and managerial controls will ensure the most likelyachievement of the organization’s mission and objectives. Principles ofteamwork and recognition of employees’ input should be emphasized as the mostimportant components of an effective human resource philosophy.
Here is a sample human resource philosophy.
The XYZ Company recognizes that employees are its most valuable resource. Thesuccessful evolution of the organization depends on the support and performanceof all employees in achieving its stated mission. Accordingly, the XYZ Companywill strive to become an employer of choice by providing those programs andservices which support employees in the performance of their jobs, enhance thespirit of teamwork and quality of life, and provide for employee well-being fromhire through separation from XYZ Company.
Equal Employment Opportunity and Regulatory Compliance Questionnaire
Policies and practices to ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity laws and other governmental regulations as they relate to recruitment, selection, placement, compensation and treatment of employees while enhancing the validity and effectiveness of related personnel systems.
Physical/mental handicap or disability?
How is this policy communicated inside and outside the organization?
Can all hiring decisions be defended against these criteria?
Has a procedure to resolve sexual harassment claims been implemented?
Does your organization have a policy statement that prohibits discriminationagainst qualified handicapped or disabled individuals?
Do your organization’s job descriptions distinguish between thosequalifications, physical requirements, duties and responsibilities which areessential and those which are nonessential?
Are policy manuals, handbooks, recruitment notices, job postings andadvertisements consistent regarding qualified individuals with a physical ormental impairment of a major life activity?
Can disabled individuals apply for job openings and gain access to thepremises?
Is there a review process for employee restrictions and reasonable accommodation requests?
If yes, does it have an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) in place for each ofthe organization’s establishments?
Affirmative Action Plan Narrative?
Job Group Analysis?
Goals and Timetables?
Publish a policy statement prohibiting the unlawful manufacture,distribution, possession or use of a controlled substance in the workplace andspecifying what actions will be taken against employees who violate the policy?
Provide a copy of the policy to employees working under the contract?
Provide guidance/training on policy requirements?
Have a drug/alcohol-free awareness program?
Notify employees they must, as a condition of employment, notify the employerif they are convicted of a criminal offense occurring in the workplace withinfive days after the conviction?
Explanation of Equal Employment Opportunity and Regulatory ComplianceQuestionnaire
Governmental regulations affect every aspect of personnel management.Regulatory compliance is one of the foremost concerns in human resources management. Knowledge of employment law provides job security to the HR professionals who specialize in this area. Human resources management literature, seminars and government publications cover these legal issues. ManyHR professionals–no matter what their specialty–have of necessity become paralegals.
Questions in this section have been designed to highlight pressing regulatory issues. Emphasis has been placed on complex issues, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Drug-Free Workplace Act.
The HR department should review internal procedures that both address due process in handling complaints of discrimination and harassment and encourage training and awareness to ensure a harassment-free nondiscriminatory workplace. A qualified senior-level individual should oversee these efforts and keep top management informed of progress. Organizations that demonstrate genuine concern for EEO, affirmative action and diversity issues also resolve most claims in-house.
Legal fees and ‘no fault’ settlement awards have reached outlandishproportions. The rapid increase in claims, particularly in the sex anddisability categories, has created a backlog in the EEO Commission and forcedclaimants to initiate civil suits. Aging baby boomers who are being rapidlytrimmed from large corporations are expected to launch a new wave of legalsuits. They are more likely to have the financial resources to encourage thelegal community to aggressively pursue age discrimination claims. Increasedattention to compliance issues necessarily must include self-audits patternedafter the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) as publishedin the Federal Registrar and Bureau of National Affairs.
All organizations should find ways to prevent discrimination and harassmentclaims. This section of the self-audit is critical to understanding and usingregulations to enhance both prevention and in-house resolution of claims. Properjob specifications and requirements, valid testing and screening techniques,equal opportunities for all employees, consistency in employee treatment andvaluing diversity demonstrate good business management.
Training and Development Questionnaire
Programs, processes and strategies that will enable organizations to develop and improve their internal human resources in order to optimize their contributions to organizational objectives.
If yes, how is this assessment carried out?
How often is the assessment updated?
Who participates in the assessment?
If yes, how is this assessment carried out?
How far into the future are the needs projected?
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