Many clients often want me to a specific piece of work such as prepare a contract of employment or an employee handbook. However I always start with a HR audit, which covers a number of areas to enable me to understand their business, their current HR provision and their future plans for the company. A HR audit enables me to establish their current level of compliance in regard to employment legislation, e.g. If the contract of employment meets the requirements of the written statement of particulars within the Employment Rights Act 1996. 
Secondly, a HR audit enables me to investigate the nature of the business and the type of work the employees perform. This may signpost a number of other aspects such as the need to have contractual obligations in relation to using company vehicles or restrictive covenants to protect intellectual property or customer databases etc. Finally the future plans of the company means I can provide an indication of the HR priorities for the next year. A recent example has been a company that is growing and needs to restructure their organisation to cope with growth in customer demand and enable them to build on the strengths of the current team. This has included implementing a performance management scheme to establish personal development needs and aspirations. 
Followed by a large change management programme to put the new structure in place. A HR audit can support a company in identifying their key employment risks and enable them to consider how they will manage them. For example, a small engineering company has an ageing workforce by undertaking a HR audit we are able to develop a strategy to manage this issue for the future to avoid potential skills shortages. A HR audit offers a good opportunity for the business owner or senior team to not only consider the direction in which their business is going but also whether they have the team prepared and well equipped for the journey! 
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