Human Resource Audits and Relieving HR Anxiety

I am in the midst of an HR audit and decided to republish the post below from 2011 because the more things change, the more things seem to stay the same.



What is an HR Audit? Per SHRM (membership required), "An HR audit involves an objective look at the company’s HR policies, practices, procedures and strategies to protect the company, establish best practices and identify opportunities for improvement. An objective review of the company’s “current state” can help you evaluate whether specific practice areas are adequate, legal and/or effective. The results can provide decision-makers with the information necessary to decide what areas need improvement."

 For those of us not always open to constructive criticism, audits can present some personal and professional challenges. What's the surest sign of an HR pro experiencing unnecessary anxiety? They take this stuff personally. 

I am no stranger to questions, challenges, or disagreements. Lately, however, I've felt that the spotlight has been on me, my decisions, my priorities and my leadership.  Bottom line: I don't like it. 

This latest round started with a third party audit. This was our first ever and I welcomed the team with open arms, fully aware they would have findings. What team reviewing a complex HR operation wouldn't?  But did they have to find so much on the first day? I am sure someone somewhere has valuable insight into the "psychology of an audit" but you have to know that I wasn't seeing much beyond loser by the end of the first day. Throw in focus groups and doubt was alive and well.

Day three, it is different. Not all the HR problems of the world are solved, they never will be, but the anxiety level has dropped dramatically for this one HR professional because she stopped making this personal.

The spotlight, the questions, the scrutiny from self and others - it's going to happen. It's unavoidable. Just when you think all is lost and you think about turning in your keys and parking pass, stop and take a look around. Notice that your hands are gripping the reins. They are clenched, sunburned and achy. Notice that your legs are cramped and your spurs are dull.

Now, notice this. You are still on the horse.