4 tips to help one-person HR teams track legal changes
May 26, 2021
HR departments are always busy. They track hiring trends, follow market-rate salaries, manage benefits, oversee learning content, mediate employee conflicts, fill out paperwork, developing workplace policies and more. So what happens when you’re a one-person HR team? You do everything yourself.
And with the legal scrutinies put on the HR department, the stakes are high.
With constantly changing laws, court cases and EEOC and NLRB rulings — not to mention all your other responsibilities — how can you possibly keep track of what updates might impact your company?
Here are four tips to help you stay on top of legal and legislative changes in HR so you can make the most of your time.
1) Build a reliable source list to help answer issue-specific questions
You don’t have to know every HR law under the sun, but you do need to know where to find reliable answers and information. For instance, if someone needs time off for medical reasons and you have more than 50 employees, double-check the official government website for the Family Medical Leave Act. If you have someone request an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, AskJan can almost always help you find an answer for your situation.
And consider subscribing to a newsletter so that valuable resources and information come directly to you. A variety of email newsletters provide daily or weekly roundups of the latest news in employment law. I use Lexology, but others include the Employment Law Information Network and Ogletree Deakins newsletter. When the email hits your inbox, you can quickly scan to see any changes in rules or regulations that directly affect your business, industry or location.
2) Join your local Society for Human Resource Management chapter
Sure, you can join the national Society for Human Resource Management — their website has frequent updates, which are great. But a local chapter will have a better handle on employment changes happening in your specific area, which can be especially helpful for hiring trends and local salary information.
Of course, with more companies going remote and hiring workers across geographies, you may have employees in multiple states, so don’t assume that one state’s updates apply to your entire workforce.
3) Invest in compliance technology
Using HR technology can be a great way to keep your time free for other, more strategic, people-focused tasks, all while staying current on changing laws. Automatic updates to your software can make for a seamless transition to new regulations at the federal and state levels. The right tech solution can also help with reporting or preparing for certain audits.
4) Consider keeping an employment attorney on retainer
This sounds like an expensive option, but getting quick legal advice is far cheaper than ending up in court. If a question comes up and you can’t find a reliable answer quickly, an employment attorney can be a valuable resource to make sure you’re staying compliant.
Most importantly, don’t panic if you feel like you don’t have all the answers. The important thing is to acknowledge when you might need help. When an HR manager thinks they know everything and refuses to ask questions, organizations can get into trouble. Don’t be that person. Ask. Read. Google. Join. Call. Do these things, and you can feel confident in your knowledge.