One of the Most Interesting Trends I’ve seen lately is high-priced, complicated training to educate hiring managers in the mysteries of Federal Labor Compliance paperwork.  Now don’t shoot the messenger.  I’m a huge fan of an educated workforce.  My premise is that humans are by nature ill-suited to be compliance all-stars. What humans are great at is developing tools to help them do something they otherwise couldn’t do.  Why is labor law compliance so difficult and what does an “effective” tool look like?

Too Many Rules… have you seen what a comprehensive publication looks like that covers the rules for labor compliance?  You have rules for how the forms are filled out, what can be asked, when certain types of informational questions can be asked in the staffing process, when you can do a background check, which work authorizations auto-renew, rehire I-9 rules, etc.  The list goes on and on and on.  It is unrealistic to expect a human to remember and apply this knowledge perfectly, every day, every form, every audit, every hire at every location.  So, a good tool for this process has to be able to do all those things.

Humans Aren’t Great at Compliance Tasks… humans get sick, they get bored, they get distracted.  To my knowledge it’s impossible for a human to look at an address on an I-9 form to determine if it’s complete or needs an apartment or suite number.  Humans are notoriously bad at being dispassionate, which is exactly what a good compliance program requires.    There are numerous sad tales, like the WA state food processor, an E-verify participant, that was fined $225,000 for asking for specific types of identification deemed discriminatory.  They got nailed for trying to be “extra” compliant.  So much for getting an “A” for effort!

Lack of Compliance is Expensive… how big does a fine or forfeiture need to be before it gets your attention?  Mess up on a few I-9s and you can lose thousands of dollars pretty quickly.  Lose documents or show the auditors a poor process that caused the compliance event and you can zoom right past the $10,000 mark.  Asplundh was handed a combined fine and forfeiture of $95 million USD for violations of work authorization and process policies.

Set Up to Fail… when I read about all these case studies I can’t help but feel for the hiring managers.  The stakes are personal criminal liability, personal fines and most are still forced to use some archaic paper process, or what’s maybe even worse, a paperless HR system that isn’t even built for compliance.  And the best part about filling out the federal forms – the least experienced person in the building (new hire employee) is usually filling out the forms!  You wouldn’t expect to win the Daytona 500 with the mechanic driving, would you?  It stands to reason if you want your hiring team to hit the compliance bullseye, you need to provide them with the tools to succeed.

Chance to Win… the best thing you can do for your hiring managers is to provide a tool to help them be successful. The transactional process of converting an applicant to an employee is very similar to calling in credit cards for an authorization code.   Remember that?  Nobody wants to go back to that.   The little POS box can do it instantly and correctly 100% of the time.  It’s a much better solution.  Shouldn’t you provide your HR team with a solution to your compliance requirements and let them do the HR activities that only a human is equipped to do?

Digital compliance workflow provides the following benefits that are critical to compliance success:

  • Dispassionate about ID’s, sensitive information and personal matters.
  • Always there, always compliant at every location.
  • Every complex compliance rule is programmed inside the workflow.
  • Labor rules aren’t meant to be interpreted, just followed.
  • Never misplace a document, which is coincidentally deemed to be one of the most egregious documentation errors.
  • Built-in help menus and data checks to guide applicants.

Love your HR humans and give them the tools they need to succeed!