Human Resources News & Insights

Opinion: HR’s role in saving money and aggravation

Ever get the feeling that other managers think of you as a nag who’s always on their backs about following the rules and the law? Good. That means you’re doing your job.

Being in the legal spotlight is never good for an employer. Take Wal-Mart, for instance. The mega-retailer’s image as an employer has taken a beating the last few years over a series of lawsuits alleging the company discriminates against women and minorities and chisels its employees out of overtime pay.

Faster than you can say “price check in aisle 5,” the company has gone into action:

• It created a compliance office – staffed by 140 people – to ensure managers follow the law and company policies.

• A new round of TV ads features actual employees touting Wal-Mart’s generosity and fair treatment of employees.

• The CEO announced he and other execs will have their bonuses chopped if the company fails to meet diversity goals.

HR’s role

We don’t know if Wal-Mart is guilty of even one violation of employment law. Maybe there’s just a lot of smoke and no real fire.

We do know that countering the ugly image revealed by the bright spotlight has cost the company plenty. And if the whole mess proves nothing else, it shows that it pays to have solid policies and be diligent about making sure the policies are being followed.

That’s where you come in. Don’t be deterred if a couple of managers roll their eyes when you remind them about following the rules. It’s your job to remind them, and it’s their job to listen and act accordingly.

Or maybe they think it’s better to have to create new departments, start public-relations campaigns and cut bonuses.

What do you think Wal-Mart has to say about that?

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