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People Risk Management: Taking Employee Risk Out of Your Business

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Establishing effective human resources (HR) practices is a good way to manage the biggest asset in any business: the people who work there. If People Risk Management (PRM) is not a part of training and everyday life at your company, many minor problems can become larger ones, and potentially lead to disaster.

There are risks related to people that can result in expensive litigation, fines and even criminal punishment. Some of the issues which need to be monitored for effective compliance to lessen risk include:

  • Recruiting and Hiring Practices
  • Discrimination (EOE, ADA)
  • Employee Relations
  • Culture and Engagement
  • Wage and Business Hours
  • Worker Classification and Compensation
  • Health Benefit Compliance (COBRA, ERISA, HIPAA, ACA)
  • Performance Management Policies and Procedures
  • Leaves of Absence (FMLA, adoptions, PDL, USERRA)
  • State and Regional Law Compliance
  • Safety in the Workplace and OSHA requirements
  • Harassment
  • Substance Abuse and Marijuana Laws
  • Employee Mental Health
  • Cyber Security Enforcement
  • Conflict Resolution and Workplace Violence
  • Terminations

While this list of potential risks associated with employees is lengthy, good onboarding and regular training by knowledgeable staff can help ensure that a business’s biggest asset remains that, and not its largest risk.

How Human Resources Can Help With Employee Risk

Today’s human resource departments are more strategic than those of years past. They are involved in workforce optimization, talent management and culture development—all essential HR foundations that can determine and reinforce good PRM. Every company’s HR plan should focus on being proactive in order to get and stay ahead of issues before they become a problem. Staying ahead of the PRM curve may well be the way to avoid any issues. There are two ways to do this:

Providing A ‘Living’ Employee Handbook

A current handbook will include organizational policies and procedures, standards of behavior and elements of a company’s culture. It will be continuously reviewed and updated as needed to ensure compliance with the latest legislation across all regions where a company conducts business. It will ensure accountability by requiring an employee’s signature at onboarding and when there is a change to the handbook.

Employees need to understand how they are expected to behave, be ready to confirm that understanding and ultimately be held accountable for their actions. A living handbook creates the ‘line in the sand’ that businesses need to highlight in order to communicate both what’s great about the organization and the behaviors considered unacceptable.

Establishing A Risk Awareness Culture

The ability to handle an incident when it occurs, such as a sexual harassment complaint or a workplace injury, is only part of a strong PRM strategy. It is critical that businesses have the tools and expertise to manage and mitigate risk before, during and after an incident.

This includes:

  • Anticipating and preparing for potential risks
  • Staying on top of changing legislation
  • Knowing where to turn and how to respond when a risk becomes real
  • Having the resources to react to an issue, limit liability and lessen further risk
  • Establishing a risk awareness culture so all employees contribute to the work of identifying and mitigating people risk

Best Practices In People Risk Management Strategy

EmPower HR stays on top of the PRM issues by helping our partners keep up to date on the latest and best ways to help minimize these kinds of risks to their businesses. We help from the first day a person walks in the door, until they leave. It begins with the employee handbook and continues with ongoing, comprehensive training. In addition, we provide real answers from real experts. There’s no need to search the internet, we provide immediate access to certified, experienced advisors to help navigate your people-risk management issues.

Though there will always be risks in every workplace, EmPower HR has proven methods in PRM to help businesses build and maintain a strong culture, drive employee engagement and performance, and mitigate the numerous people-related compliance risks that exist in every organization.