Frequent and thorough audits of the HR function in business is a sure method of improving the maturity of this area of a company’s operation says Teryl Schroenn, MD at Accsys, a provider of HR and payroll management solutions.

As a recognised service provider in the competitive field of HR and payroll infrastructure integration and management, Accsys has incorporated the HR audit process as a front-line service to its clients.

The Accsys approach to HR maturity is based extensively on the ‘life cycle’ of an organisation and the significance of the audit process.

“HR maturity is linked to the stages of an organisation’s development cycle. To accurately assess the level of HR maturity within a company or business, HR departments rely on a Human Recourses Audit or assessment. It is also used to evaluate the HR department’s own efficiency,” says Schroenn.

“The overall purpose is to ascertain the level at which the HR department – encompassing all functional areas – is aligned to the organisation’s strategic objectives.”

Organisational Development experts have described the typical stages of growth within an organisation as falling under the following key headings ‘introduction’, ‘development’, ‘maturity’ and ‘decline’.

According to Schroenn, the audit process provides much needed insight into the efficiency or maturity of HR and to what extent HR processes align with the growth of the organisation.

“If the HR function within a company does not develop and grow with the business or organisation, there is a real risk in creating a gap. This could prove to be detrimental to the business,” she adds. “Conversely, when strategically aligned with the vision of the organisation, HR services definitely encourage higher levels of performance and assist the company in reaching its objectives.”

The audit process is used to assess several areas within the business and draw conclusions based on:

* The extent to which the organisation complies with legal and statutory requirements;

* The degree to which recruitment, selection, and retention processes reflect the organisation’s strategies and core competencies;

* The organisation’s positioning in the market of its remuneration packages and benefits;

* The number of disciplinary and grievance incidents, and their impact on the organisation;

* The degree to which core competencies have been identified and defined;

* The effectiveness, “user friendliness”, and appropriateness of the company’s policies and procedures; and

* The degree to which organisational development initiatives – including training and development – meet the organisation’s current and emerging capital needs.

Schroenn suggests that employers need to conduct audits to ensure compliance and help identify any statutory shortcomings. This, she says, will help the business avoid any penalties and minimise the possibility of labour conflict.

“Audits enable organisations to establish the current base of HR maturity and to develop plans to raise the level of maturity of HR and other functions and thereby transform the organization,” she says.

Accsys has also identified change in labour legislation as an issue that impacts significantly on the HR function within companies.

“Statutory compliance with legislation is obviously non-negotiable. However, the situation is not always clear for decision-makers how this impacts on their HR functionality. This is where clarification, sound advice and input from a credible HR and payroll specialist can and often does make a difference,” adds Schroenn.