This is one of the most famous optical illusion pictures of an impossible object. It has two rectangular prongs at one end that morph into three cylindrical prongs at the other.  When I look at this puzzling optical illusion, I think of how companies view their labor compliance management, and the tools they use trying to achieve 100% compliance.

Many companies set up systems that are intended to deliver a compliant process.  Best efforts are made to load the system with correct forms.  Efforts to be compliant are to be commended as it shows a level of understanding that this is a critical function in the company.  The problem however, is rarely lack of effort, its most likely a systemic problem.

What do I mean by that?  While performing a labor compliance check, it’s common to find HR tools have been implemented to perform the compliance function.  When this occurs several failure points are introduced, leading to a systemic failure in the compliance process.

Some examples of failure points include but are not limited to:

  1. The format of the stored electronic documents
  2. Have the labor rules and regulations been interpreted correctly within the system?
  3. How private, confidential data is handled inside the system?
  4. Access control and logged documentation
  5. Loss of control of electronic copies. (Public cloud, I’m looking at you)
  6. Are the documents produced suitable to be presented in a court of law?


Those opportunities to fail can be traced back to HR tools being designed to do one thing, and forced to be something they aren’t, a labor compliance tool.