Even if you have great compliance policies in place, using the wrong tools to implement them can undermine your efforts. The good news is, compliance management doesn’t have to be hard or even time-consuming if you have the right tools on hand. Today we will explore five potential compliance mistakes that could happen to any organisation, and most importantly, the ‘best practice’ tips to avoid them in yours.
1. Employing a staff member with an expired license or qualification
Ensuring employees have the right licenses or other qualifications to do their job is usually top of mind when a new employee starts in the business, but over time, keeping track of hundreds of expiry dates is a significant and challenging task. Sometime expiries slip through the cracks exposing your organisation and team to unnecessary risk.
Consider this scenario:
Your children’s charity based in Queensland, Australia requires all staff to hold a valid Blue Card. Recently your CEO’s Blue Card expired and now your organisation and the CEO herself are facing penalties. If this information is revealed to the public, it could cause huge damage to your charity’s reputation and cause your donors to withdraw funding.
The solution: A Qualifications Dashboard
The Qualifications Dashboard allows you to have visibility over every staff member’s Blue Card or any other mandatory qualifications required to do their job safely and legally. You will be notified when these qualifications are close to expiring, allowing time to ensure renewals are organised before it’s too late.
One intelliHR customer went from managing 900 staff members’ Blue Cards on a spreadsheet to a fully automated online process that allowed staff to take ownership of keeping their own qualifications up to date with appropriate system oversight. This helped everyone in the organisation gain greater visibility over any compliance gaps and in turn, drastically reduced risk across the business by ensuring no expiry date goes unnoticed.
2. Losing grounds to terminate an employee
While we must all adhere to Fair Work Laws, adherence can be rendered meaningless without sufficient records. No one wants to be forced to retain an employee who is causing deliberate damage to the organisation or the people around them, but this can happen if there is no evidence to support your grounds for their termination.
Consider this scenario:
An employee has been caught bullying a team member on three separate occasions. Your disciplinary process deems this to be cause for termination. The employee’s manager has delivered a verbal warning to the offending staff member each time, but the HR team was not notified, no diary notes were made and no written warnings were issued. The manager decides it’s time to finally terminate the offending employee and goes to HR who informs them that firing the staff member now will be deemed unfair dismissal as there is no documented evidence. By the time enough evidence has been gathered, the situation has escalated and the victim is forced to take stress leave.
The solution: Centralised Diary Notes
Ensure managers and other appropriate team members can simply and quickly record diary notes in a central, secure, online location so everything is documented, time-stamped and easy to find when you need it. This will also help you see when an employee needs to be escalated in the performance management process.
3. Missing a Visa expiration date
Allowing staff to remain employed beyond their visa expiration can have very costly consequences for employers and the staff member themselves. While many cases of employing illegal workers are deliberate, it could happen to anyone if a key date is missed. If your organisation employs multiple staff on visas it can become difficult to constantly stay on top of everyone’s work rights and expiration dates, but the right tools can help.
Consider this situation:
You employ a new staff member on a 400 visa for a special project with a three month timeline. Two weeks out from the planned completion date, extreme weather conditions cause a delay and the project manager makes a call to extend the project by another two months. The project manager isn’t aware of the staff member’s visa status and the HR team isn’t notified about the project extension. By the time the project is completed this worker has overstayed their visa by 60 days and the organisation is at risk of a serious fine.
The solution: A Compliance Dashboard
The Work Rights section within your intelliHR compliance dashboard will help you track all employees working on a visa and be notified when expiries are approaching. This way when it’s time for an employee to be off-boarded or their visa renewed, you will have full visibility.
intelliHR has helped multiple customers move their manual visa processes into an automated and streamlined approach. These organisations are now able to clearly see which visa-related tasks needed to be completed, and whether the staff member or employer is responsible. Better visibility over key dates and tasks to be actioned drastically reduces risk for these organisations and their people keeping it top of mind when it needs to be.
4. Inconsistent policy dissemination
Occasional updates to policy or the introduction of new policies is unavoidable, and sometimes the changes can cause confusion. What’s important is that everyone receives the same message, in the same way, and there is a record of its receipt and actioning.
Consider the following situation:
Policy changes are being made but there is currently no consistent way to distribute and communicate the changes to everyone in the business. You have tried incorporating policy updates into the morning meetings but employees who are absent miss out on the information and there is no record of the policy changes being communicated or received. As policy changes are communicated verbally, those attempting to relay the information are describing the changes differently and staff are misinterpreting what they need to do, resulting in inconsistent procedures.
The Solution: Policy Management Workflow
Using an online policy management tool will ensure the right policy updates are delivered to all relevant employees in a consistent way, with a record of understanding and acceptance. This way, you can send out a pulse to all staff containing the updates and ask them to confirm their understanding by clicking a button or ask questions if there is any confusion. You will also be able to see who hasn’t completed their acceptance and follow up accordingly.
5. Falling short on CPD points
Many industries including finance, insurance, health, accounting and law, require staff to maintain a certain number of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points in each reporting period. When staff aren’t held accountable to achieving their CPD requirements, sudden panic can ensue at audit time.
Consider this scenario:
Your sales team has mandatory CPD requirements to fulfil each year, which are recorded in a static spreadsheet. With nothing to notify or remind employees to undertake required training, the spreadsheet is ignored for most of the year. As you start preparing for your EOFY audit, you realise the whole team is short on CPD points, forcing you to issue everyone with 20 hours of courses to complete in the next two months. The team now loses hours of productivity from their day as well as their own personal time just to get all the training completed. This results in reduced morale, lower sales figures, and leads to potential retention issues.
The Solution: Centralised Training Records
With a central online record, employees can enter and keep track of their own training throughout the year. Managers and the HR team will also have visibility over training undertaken by each team and individual, allowing them to identify training gaps and ensure sufficient training is being completed each quarter.
If you’d like to find out how we solve these challenges for our clients, just reach out to one of our HR Experts.
We hope these tips have helped you check for potential gaps in your compliance processes and ensure your organisation can avoid making any of these mishaps in the future. Did we forget anything? Let us know in the comments.