The anchoring role of HR in global compliance

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Global HR Compliance

By Reshma, 06 June 2019

Organizations are keenly deploying new digital strategies paving the way to process automation, sophisticated cybersecurity and a constantly evolving regulatory environment. Over the years, we have witnessed a huge surge in complexity to implement local and regulatory laws and organizations are exposed with a greater degree of compliance risk than ever before.

Compliance structures in the HR industry are critical to any organization to maintain its reputation and legal requirements. Right from onboarding to the exit of an employee, HR professionals directly or indirectly deal with hundreds of laws that are specifically enacted to ensure the safety of the employees as well as the employers. Any compliance specialist will agree on the fact that financial safety is the foremost benefit associated with regulatory compliance. Regulatory non-compliance costs organizations exorbitant penalties. In a scenario like this, the challenges for HR professionals to ensure compliance are skyrocketing.

The following are the key points for HR experts to keep in mind to maintain compliance standards across organizations.

1.  Improving corporate governance
An extensive corporate governance framework can help in addressing effective administration of risk management and regulatory compliance. The ultimate responsibility to foster better corporate governance rests on the shoulders of executives, the board of directors and shareholders. Nevertheless, HR professionals can succor in this process by shaping the culture and practices that would, in turn, enhance corporate governance.

2. Zeroing on data protection
With the growing rate of cyber-threats, it has become a necessity to revamp the security systems regardless of the type of industry that we are in. A compromised security system would lead to financial damages and loss of confidential data. The 2018 Annual Cybersecurity report by Cisco specifies that cyber-attacks have caused damages of more than 500,000 USD. An HR professional can ensure that the organization’s data security is not compromised by,

– Hiring cybersecurity professionals
– Being cognizant of cyber threats faced
– Training the existing workforce to comply with data protection initiatives

An HR executive need not be a cybersecurity expert but has an imperative role in maintaining a secure environment in the organization.

There are numerous instances where organizations have struggled to achieve compliance to new regulations. To put things into perspective, let’s take the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the European Union in 2018. International Association of Privacy Professionals published a whitepaper which revealed that, more than 144,000 complaints of non-compliance to the GDPR had been raised within a span of one year and more than €56,000,000 in fines had been collected. Imagine the intensity of the losses!

HR professionals can focus towards managing and protecting employee data by building an org-wide task force, creating awareness regarding data protection, performing data audits and developing a data breach response program.

3. Keeping pace with the ever-changing laws
Whether you are an expert in HR or a novice in the field, it is critical to be aware of all the changes in the law and its impact on your existing policies. The laws governing wages, discrimination, leaves, compensation and benefits are bound to challenge your company’s policies from time to time. An employee handbook describing the nature of the business, state laws and consolidated details of the laws associated with the relationship of employers & employees should be issued. Periodic review of the handbook with the updated changes in federal, state, and local government laws should be made so that information shared by the government is never overlooked.

4. Mitigating risks and transgression
A robust compliance risk assessment can help in uncovering any compliance risk or error and provide a road map for future compliance checks. HR audits at periodic intervals should be done to ensure that all regulatory compliance requirements are met. This will also help in identifying the gaps within and take necessary actions before it is reported as non-compliance.

5. Dealing with recruitment and background screening
The recruitment process deals with a lot of employee/applicant documentation and requires loads of data to be stored. Even the slightest misuse of this data could lead to significant consequences. Considering the huge amount of paperwork involved, automated tools such as applicant tracking systems can be a lifesaver in facilitating and governing hiring procedures. This will eventually result in a hassle-free onboarding process with data being accessible as and when required.

Background screening of candidates as a part of the recruitment process holds a considerable number of complexities pertaining to data protection and compliance. The Neeyamo Global Research Institute conducted a survey on the impact of GDPR on background screening providers and reported that 50 percent of the background screening providers who responded to the survey said that GDPR was a top priority. The HR department holds the responsibility to maintain compliance regarding screening.

Organizations abiding by regulations will have a higher chance of retaining their market value, goodwill and reduced legal intrusion. Furthermore, this will also result in building a reputable brand image in the competitive market and reap profits, big time.

Are you wondering how to manage global HR compliance for your organization? For assistance, expert advice and action plans, write to us at

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