Thursday, September 10, 2015

HR Tech: Compliance Pointers

Yesterday, TalentCulture hosted a #tchat entitled “Why Compliance is A Complex HR Necessity.”  (You can read the great recap here.)  Every participant in the chat agreed that compliance is difficult and no fun.  Laws constantly change, and just when one issue appears settled, two or three more pop up that require HR to reevaluate policies, procedures, and job descriptions.  (We’re looking at you, proposed FLSA regulations and paid sick leave.)  The #tchat included a number of questions about the use of technology as a compliance tool.  That got us thinking about what compliance-minded HR professionals need to look for in HR technology.
Vendor Knowledge.  HR tech vendors may not have HR directors or recruiters to advise them on the ins and outs of compliance.  When you’re selecting a vendor, you should ask questions about compliance.  If the technology helps sort candidates, is the vendor confident its selection criteria do not unlawfully select or de-select individuals?  If the tech recommends pay levels based on performance metrics, is the vendor knowledgeable about equal pay considerations?  Testing the compliance knowledge of vendors should be a critical component of any selection process and should be revisited when laws change or when contracts are renewed.
Collaboration and Customization.  HR tech should not be an “off the shelf” purchase.  The “one-size fits all” (or “one size fits most”) mantra of some vendors can result in compliance issues. State and municipal employment laws can differ wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and different laws may require different processes and forms.  Take, for example, the “ban the box” initiatives that have been implemented around the country.  An online application may lawfully ask if an applicant has ever been convicted of a felony in New Rochelle, New York, but the same question is unlawful in New York City.  A savvy HR tech vendor will want to collaborate with you to customize its product to fit your needs.  If a vendor won’t commit to collaboration on compliance issues, their product might not be the right one.
Reporting.  A number of government agencies require or will require some level of reporting of human resources information.  The EEOC’s EEO-1 survey is due each September 30. The OFCCP requires affirmative action documentation and reporting for federal contractors and hopes to implement a new Equal Pay Report shortly. Many states have other reporting requirements.  In addition to reports required by the government, HR departments should be able to use their technology for their own reports and analysis with just a few clicks.
HR compliance is time consuming and requires constant vigilance. HR tech vendors should understand that fact, commit to helping you remain compliant, and assist you in getting what you need.  If compliance isn’t front and center for your tech vendor, it may be time to shop elsewhere.
Posted by Kate Bischoff