HR Assessments: The What, Why, When and Who

By Jill Krumholz and Alexandra Lewis

What is an HR Assessment?

We have had many clients ask about HR Assessments and are not sure what they need or where to start. We generally begin by framing our discussion explaining the What, Why, When and Who for them to develop an understanding of the reasons for, the resources available, and the commitment to the HR Assessment and its results.

We begin with the What.

An HR Assessment is a comprehensive review and evaluation of the Human Resources services that are delivered to an organization. An HR Assessment:

  • Provides a strategic and operational analysis of existing workplace policies, programs, and practices.
  • Evaluates the compliance and effectiveness of those policies, programs, practices.
  • Evaluates the structures and competencies of a HR departments workflow, roles, and responsibilities.
  • Addresses the strengths and gaps in service and how those services align with the needs of the employees and the goals of the organization.
  • Provides actionable recommendations for measurable change and best practices.

Why an HR Assessment

HR Assessments The What Why When and WhoAn HR Assessment can be a valuable way to determine whether HR needs are being met in an organization.

  • Compliance with changing laws: An HR Assessment can uncover areas of noncompliance that if not identified and rectified can cost the organization money and impact their reputation. Hiring and firing practices, recordkeeping, exempt and non-exempt employee status, salary and benefits practices, vacation policy and safety are all areas of risk when it comes to compliance. Keep in mind that small businesses may be more vulnerable if they distribute HR responsibilities across the organization rather than centralizing them with an experienced HR professional or HR team.
  • Equitable and consistent policies and practices: Beyond complying with government-mandated policies, fair and consistent organization driven HR policies and practices are important and can measurably increase morale, performance and ultimately, employee satisfaction. Conversely, policy inconsistencies can be interpreted by team members as inequitable, biased and showing favoritism.
  • Inventory of HR Programs: The importance of the quality of HR programs provided to an organization and supported by senior leadership, cannot be stressed enough. An inventory of HR programs should include the recruitment, hiring and onboarding process; compliance and equity of salary and benefits programs; performance management; diversity, equity, and inclusion for all prospective and existing employees; communication tools; and employee access to Information through up-to-date technology. Where these programs and practices exist, organizations will want to evaluate the quality of service. Where they do not exist, organizations will want to consider building out these programs and how they can impact employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
  • HR skills, expertise, and resources: If there are gaps in service delivery it may be a result of HR skill or competency deficiencies among team members, that may require further education, reorganization or possibly replacing staff. It may also uncover a need for researching and implementing HR-related technology or an upgrade in an organization’s technology platforms and continuing education to support those upgrades.

An organization’s commitment to conducting an HR Assessment and making changes based on results and recommendations creates trust and confidence in the HR function and an organization’s commitment to its HR practices.

When to Conduct an HR Assessment

There are multiple reasons and particular circumstances that can or should prompt an HR Assessment:

  • A desire to ensure that HR programs are meeting organizational needs and delivered efficiently and effectively
  • A change in leadership or organizational structure
  • Significant HR regulatory changes that impact are impacting policies and practices
  • When the number of employees or growth in the business passes a certain threshold
  • Due diligence after a merger or acquisition

That said, an organization doesn’t need to wait for these or any other developments to perform an HR Assessment. An organization should consider conducting a mini–HR Assessment annually to ensure that they are maintaining compliance.  We strongly recommend conducting a full HR assessment every few years to evaluate HR policies and best practices and ensure that programs support organizational goals, optimize performance, and foster a strong and healthy culture.

Who Should Conduct Your Organization’s HR Assessment?

An organization’s commitment to conduct an HR Assessment and follow through on resulting recommendations is critical to an organization and the confidence employees have in leadership and the HR function.  It is important to commit adequate resources whether internal or by hiring an expert to conduct a professional HR Assessment that will result in actionable and measurable results. Consider that an outside consultant will be more experienced and generally more objective and able to bring the greatest value to an organization.

Are you interested in learning more about how to conduct an HR Assessment? Please contact us.

This blog should not be construed as legal advice.