sâmbătă, 11 decembrie 2010

Human Resources Audits: 6 Ways Electronic Document Management Can Help You Comply

Managers who are worth their salt work hard to ensure employees have the tools they need to handle everyday business and tackle potential challenges. Strategic planning, appropriate policies and clear communications—proactive and reactive—lay the groundwork for success. Yet without a periodic audit of your practices, it’s difficult to ascertain whether you and your team are adequately prepared and whether practices are consistently being followed or are still even relevant.

Often, auditors demand a sea of documentation that must be dredged from multiple systems. If you’ve ever gone through the process manually—or searched for employee handbooks, applications, contracts, benefits summaries, tax forms, pay stubs and other files scattered among legacy systems, databases, and line-of-business apps— the frustration is familiar. All you really want to do is exchange cumbersome search for meaningful work that advances your business—and yet a well-conducted internal or external audit can advance your business, too.

HR audits raise important questions. They identify gaps between policy objectives and practices, letting you make adjustments to protect your business from future harm. Whether you conduct a comprehensive annual audit or tackle different topics each year (examining written policies, reviewing new hire compliance), EDM can help to address concerns quickly, accurately, and costeffectively.

Ask yourself:

Do our policies and procedures require updating?Are there any that aren’t followed consistently? If so, why? What rules can we establish to enforce observance?Do existing measures help employees to comply? Are they user friendly, encouraging adoption?Is our compliance training sufficient?Are internal communications clear, adequate, and frequent enough to support policy adoption and ensure employees execute tasks compliantly?Are there unwritten practices, inconsistencies, or other potential liabilities that could pose legal risks to our organization?

Audits can give even the most meticulous record keeper an anxiety attack. What if an I-9 or other vital documentation is missing, someone discovers a questionable termination, or employees claim bonuses were unfairly distributed? Will insufficient documentation put the company at risk or mar its reputation? Result in a fine or a lawsuit? If so, how much will the damages be? What changes can be made to protect the company from future harm?

An effective audit uncovers ways you can improve HR practices and business in general. EDM gives you the necessary tools to expedite and ensure improvements. It lets you:

Supply consistent rules for managing information throughout the document lifecycle, governing how data is accessed and used, from capture through processing and archival.Give auditors secure, real-time access to scattered information so they can search, extract, and analyze documentation and practices efficiently and gain the holistic insight they need.Spot discrepancies quickly, rectify concerns promptly, and lay the groundwork for enterprise-wide compliance.

Skillful at establishing and improving best practices, an audit is easier, more effective, and less costly when data and documents are guarded under the watchful eye of EDM.

If you already use Lawson, Oracle, PeopleSoft, or other HR software along with automated accounting procedures, a disaster recovery plan, and more, you may question whether you need EDM. Yet the value proposition begins there: if you’re like most organizations, your information is scattered—and securing, gathering, and managing dispersed information is time consuming, inefficient, and costly. EDM transforms information management, enabling centralized, electronic storage and retrieval of all policies, employee files, and supporting documentation. It allows you to manage HR documents securely and effectively throughout the entire employment lifecycle, from document generation through retention and disposition.

EDM doesn’t replace valuable systems; rather, it establishes a framework for seamless, secure access and effective information management.

Position your organization for successful compliance and audits EDM and its sibling in process management—automated workflow—prepare you for successful audits by ensuring your business rules consistently govern how your documents are accessed, used, and managed. They help you to:

1. Ensure sensitive documentation is secure.

How? EDM lets you:

Specify which document types each user can view or use and control user rights through a central interface. Only documents users are authorized to work with appear on their screens, ensuring compliance with HIPAA and other regulations that govern information access.Dictate how each person can use each doc type, according to individual job roles. Sensitive information is secure, viewable and actionable as your rules allow.

The result: Forced observance of the business rules you put in place.

2. Guarantee your business rules are followed consistently.

How? EDM that includes an integrated workflow component should be able to:

Guarantee employee files are complete, using checklist features to assess portfolio contents and automatically initiate communications to appropriate persons(s) if additional documentation is required.Automate your rules for document and process handling so they are standardized and consistent, ensuring your policies governing file use are observed.Handle common exceptions consistently (such as rejected applications or claims) by creating separate workflows, each with its own set of standardized rules.Ensure document portfolios are complete before they are routed (or contain the minimum required number of documents), reducing the need for re-routing and the likelihood of delaysReduce the probability of missing mandated deadlines for filing, reporting, etc.

The result: Faster turnaround, consistent document handling, fewer mistakes.

3. Respond to changing rules instantly.

How? EDM lets you:

Amend employee authorization to access, view, annotate, update, and delete documents with a mouse click.Enforce observance of new rules instantly by simply updating system configurations.Prescribe rules and amend as necessary using electronic forms that offer drop-down menu choices, fixed formats (such as date formats and alpha-numeric entry with a set number of characters), ensuring data collection meets your current standards.Provide help boxes and explanatory text when processes change, helping workers to adapt quickly to new rules and respond appropriately to change.

The result: New rules are implemented and adapted instantly by simply changing your system’s document access, routing, or processing rules, eliminating the need for constant retraining and saving you time and money.

4. Migrate documents to designated long-term storage and purge files according to your retention policies.

How? EDM lets you:

Establish data-driven rules to automatically migrate documents for long-term archival or purge them, depending on the policies to which they are subjected.Ensure the correct version of documents is retained, and that document versions can be rolled back on demand if the audit demands it.Set rules to notify staff as documents are ready to be purged or deleted, allowing authorized persons to confirm the action is appropriate before it occurs.

The result: Documents needed for future reference or potential litigation are available with a mouse click. Automated retention scheduling ensures files that could put your organization at risk are destroyed promptly.

5. Provide a common framework for accessing documentation, thereby making audits easier, faster, and cost-efficient.

How? EDM lets you:

Integrate HR software, databases, legacy systems, payroll, A/P, line-of-business software and more, centralizing and easing auditor access while letting management control employee access to sensitive information.Enable instant desktop sampling of desired record categories.Make information available to auditors via a standard web browser so examinations can be conducted remotely—yet securely. No more repurposing of precious office space for reviews. Staff work uninterrupted, remaining focused and productive.Lets auditors email, export, and print documents as needed, saving money for the reviewer— and you.

The result: Faster, easier, self-service auditing that’s nobtrusive and less costly.

6. Provide a trail of all document access, use, and transactional activity.

How? EDM lets you:

Keep a log of all actions—who, what was accessed or used, how it was used, when, etc.Track system administration changes so compliance (as well as errors or non-compliance) can be proven.Verify the most recent versions of documents have been archived, with the ability to roll back to prior versions if needed.

The result: Easier proof of compliance; all supporting documentation is available with a few mouse clicks. Instead of constant questions about document versions and rule changes, audit trails supply detailed information auditors need.

No one enjoys preparing for audits, but a thorough assessment is well worth the investment when if it’s cost-efficient and lets you make needed improvements. By establishing a strong, central infrastructure for your information systems and putting the tools in place to manage your information effectively, your audits will produce timely results, be hassle free, and let you respond quickly to a changeable regulatory and work environment.

Rather than drowning in burdensome preparations, work interruptions, and final reports, EDM will empower your auditors to access what they need quickly and effectively so you can make prompt and meaningful improvements. In the end, everyone wins.

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