Are you all set for that HR audit, or does the mere mention of it make you break out in a cold sweat? 

Whether you’re gearing up for a scheduled audit by a professional agency, or you just want to be ready for an unannounced visit from the Department of Labor, periodic self-audits are the best way to prepare. 

In today’s competitive climate, organizations operate within the confines of a heavily regulated employee environment.  Dealing with complex employment and labor laws and regulations can be extremely challenging. Only in retrospect do many companies become aware of the high costs of ignoring non-compliance issues. 

Read More: ValidHR™ Audit: What is it and Do I Need it?

ConnectedHR works with companies across Northeast Ohio to build and grow their human resources departments. Use these tips to spot and correct problems early, so you can increase compliance and prevent fines and litigation:

 Know the Law

Employment legislation is continually evolving.

Make sure:

  • You’re up-to-date on the latest federal and state laws.
  • You know which laws – federal, state or both – impact your organization.
  • Those laws are being correctly applied to your employees.

Review Primary HR Functions and Related Documentation


Assess your strategy — including processes for attracting candidates, applying for work, interviewing and even sending rejection letters — to ensure you extend an equal opportunity for employment in accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Onboarding and Ongoing Employment

Compliance problems can arise at any point in the employment relationship:

  • Make sure employment paperwork is completed properly. Check I-9, W-4, and 1099 forms, employee handbook, workplace harassment policies, direct deposit forms, personal information forms, non-compete agreements, etc.
  • Periodically review job descriptions to be sure they’re comprehensive and up-to-date.
  • Scrutinize performance reviews, disciplinary actions and all related forms for consistency and compliance.
  • Ensure your organization follows proper procedures for granting requests for family, medical and other forms of leave.

Read More: What is an Employee Handbook and Do I Need One for My Ohio Business?

Workplace safety

Conduct a separate audit to ensure:

  • You have eliminated obvious threats to workplace safety.
  • Employees are adequately trained to report potentially dangerous situations.
  • You have adequate evacuation plans.
  • Employees know how to respond to incidents of workplace violence.
  • Your safety policies comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, applicable state laws, or both.

Compensation and Payroll

Scheduling, pay, employee classification and time reporting are prime targets for audits (and employee lawsuits).

  • Review your payroll records, identifying specific issues, patterns and/or exceptions in your workforce.
  • Make sure you’re properly classifying employees as non-exempt and exempt; part-time or full-time; and employee or non-employee.
  • Ensure that your organization compensates employees with equal pay for comparable work.
  • Review benefits offerings and policies to ensure they comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and that employees receive equal benefits.


Examine employee termination practices and forms (including termination letters, unemployment insurance, non-compete agreements, confidentiality agreements, and COBRA notifications).

ConnectedHR’s Action Plan

ConnectedHR is a professional services company that takes a unique approach to human resources. Our elite HR team is comprised of experienced and dedicated Human Resource professionals, trained to make your business their business.

Our team will look at the following four areas:

  • Legal Compliance – focus on compliance with current federal, state and local laws/regulations.
  • HR Best Practices – align with companies identified as having exceptional HR practices.
  • Strategic Planning – ensure HR functions are in line with overall company strategy.
  • Administrative Support – confirm administrative processes and systems are functioning effectively.

The results obtained from this audit review process will be used to create an HR “action plan” which is essentially a roadmap for compliance and best practices.  It will serve as the guide to organizing and prioritizing key HR initiatives/challenges.

By following the plan, it will provide peace of mind on how to effectively and lawfully address complex employee issues and find solutions to issues before they become unmanageable and affect business in a disruptive and costly way.

Our first steps:

  1. Meet with owner/managers and any other staff currently handling HR functions to discuss audit questions and other pressing employee issues
  2. Conduct a review of all HR systems and policies/forms
  3. Follow-up to review results, identify compliance gaps and process inefficiencies, discuss strategies for improvement
  4. Create an HR action plan and update all needed policies/forms.

It’s important that companies in today’s world understand what it takes to recruit and retain qualified employees and develop managers to be true leaders. Building a workplace culture with a shared vision is necessary as is having effective and well-thought-out organizational policies and practices in place.

As your strategic business partner, we work to align all HR functions with organizational goals to achieve maximum output and success. Contact us today to learn more about how you can get started on your HR Discovery Audit today!

Start an HR Audit