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Beyond Rules and Regulations - Towards Progressive HR Compliance Framework

By Sarah E Sherer, MSHR, Director of Employee Relations & HR Compliance, University of Utah Health

Sarah E Sherer, MSHR, Director of Employee Relations & HR Compliance, University of Utah Health

We currently get to operate in such an exciting time within the Human Resources/People Influencers profession. I have been very fortunate in my career to work with outstanding people that share a passion for leveraging technology to assist in day to day work, so that we can spend the majority of our time serving our employee population while increasing employee engagement.

When people hear compliance, I think most of the time they think rules, fear of mistake, hammer. However, my team and I use compliance as a catalyst. We know that we are under obligations to both the federal law and our own industry, therefore we strive to be innovative and create systems and processes that will allow our leadership easier access to communicate and create a dialogue focused culture. Yet still maintaining the necessary compliance standards.

Part of the success we have found has been due to the integration of processes across our HR division. We ensure that the systems communicate with one another, so that if a change occurs in one system there is a trickle-down effect that changes all of the systems and eliminates redundancy.

Another aspect is looking at how technology can work for you. We currently have been able to build and use our own web-based platforms that integrate with our HRIS system. This allows flexibility, ease of use, and the ability to pull data quickly.

One hurdle that we faced years ago was tracking licensure/certifications opposed to only using an excel spreadsheets. We found that we were not consistent in validating that staff had completed their renewals on time. We were able to partner with our Human Resources IT team and build a web based tool, which allows leaders to view all of their staff and identify those that would have expiring licensure/certifications coming up within the next few months. This assisted them in planning for staffing as well as ensuring there was enough time to enroll in renewal courses. We were also able to build automatic email reminders to both the individual employee and the leader. This not only shifted the accountability back to the employee, but also provided the employee with additional communication to assist them in being successful in meeting the necessary compliance standards.

"Looking at how technology can work for you, we currently have been able to build and use our own web-based platforms that integrate with our HRIS system. This allows flexibility, ease of use, and the ability to pull data quickly"

The innovation didn’t stop there! We have been able to leverage our own systems to create online performance review forms that are open year long. A big win regarding that process is the total transparency that exist between the employee and the leader. Both parties are able to discuss their goals throughout the year and each person receive an automatic email if there are any changes. This not only assists in building trust, but also helps document success along the way, so that the leader can remember to discuss those opportunities and wins at the end of the year.

By utilizing technology, we have seen an increase in our compliance rates to 100% because we are able to use real time data. Also we have seen a decrease in human error, as we are able to populate data fields from the main system. We have seen collaboration, ease of use, and as mentioned previously, it allows our professional experts within HR to do what they are skilled to do. They have more time building relationships and being a collaborative business partner.

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