HR Assessment: What You Should Know & How to Begin

HR assessment

You think you’re doing everything right, but are you? Where are your biggest exposures? Wouldn’t it be great to know and shore these up so you can sleep better?

HR assessments provide a framework for suggested human resources function improvements. They act like a health check for your HR  function, identifying what’s working, what’s missing, and where changes are needed. This helps you stay compliant, retain talent, and keep your employees satisfied.  Understanding the importance of HR assessments can help your business thrive by making sure your practices are effective and match your business goals.

HR assessment
HR assessment
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What Is an HR Assessment?


HR Assessments provide a strategic and operational analysis of existing workplace policies, practices, and programs. This process can identify any gaps in HR effectiveness that need to be addressed such as recruiting, onboarding, performance, payroll and compensation, non-exempt and contractor classification, benefits, LOA process, all required documentation, separation, and a variety of wage and hour compliance requirements. 

In order for the policies and processes to be considered top-notch, there are multiple steps to complete a thorough assessment from reviewing the current workplace policies, programs, and practices. 

Why Conduct an HR Assessment?

HR assessment

Conducting an HR assessment determines whether employees’ needs are being met. Here’s why it’s important:

  • Compliance With Laws and Regulations: Regular HR assessments help organizations comply with changing employment laws, reducing the risk of costly legal issues and protecting the organization’s reputation.
  • Organizational Alignment: This checks whether HR practices support the organization’s broader goals and examines how well HR strategies align with the company’s mission and objectives.
  • Enhance Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Fair and consistent HR policies improve employee morale. An assessment can evaluate whether the policies are equitable and contribute to a positive work environment​.
  • Develop and Improve HR Programs: An assessment can identify which functions are lacking or need enhancement. This might include employee development, performance management, recruitment strategies, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs​.
  • Resource Allocation: Assessments can help determine whether there are sufficient resources, such as technology or staff expertise, to support HR functions.​

When Should You Conduct an HR Assessment?

Here are some key times to think about doing an HR assessment:

  • Regular Reviews: It’s advisable to keep your company up-to-date on HR practices every few years to make sure everyone is on the same page and policies are being updated to align with changes in the law.
  • Major Regulatory Changes: If there are major regulatory changes or shifts in company size or structure, an assessment can help make sure HR still meets the company’s needs and legal requirements.
  • Leadership Changes: New leaders might have new plans. An HR assessment can line up HR practices with these new goals.
  • After Mergers and Acquisitions: An HR assessment after a merger or acquisition helps combine and adjust HR rules and practices for the new organization.  
  • Identifying Gaps: If it feels like something is missing in HR capabilities or it’s been a long time since the last check, an assessment can identify areas for improvement. 

What Are the Key Questions for an HR Assessment?

Here are some key questions you might consider when conducting an HR assessment to ensure your organization’s HR practices are effective and compliant:

  • Compliance With State and Federal Laws: Do your HR practices comply with current laws and regulations, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
  • Recruitment and Onboarding: How effective are your recruiting and onboarding processes? Are job descriptions up to date, and do they reflect actual job requirements? Are your hiring practices fair and inclusive?
  • Performance Management: Do you have an effective performance management system in place? How are employee performance and productivity measured? How is feedback provided?
  • Record Keeping and Retention: Are employee records maintained accurately and securely in compliance with legal requirements?​ 
  • Compensation and Benefits: Are you properly classifying employees and managing meal periods and rest breaks, reporting for work pay, and overtime in accordance with California’s strict standards? Are compensation packages fair, competitive, and aligned with industry standards? 
  • Safety and Security: Do you have effective health and safety programs in place? Are you compliant with OSHA standards and the new workplace violence laws? How do you protect company data and intellectual property?

How to Prepare for an HR Assessment

To prepare effectively for an HR assessment, it’s important to organize the process carefully. Here are some steps to help you get ready:

  • Define the Purpose and Scope: Clearly identify what you want to achieve with the HR assessment. This could involve examining specific HR functions like recruitment, payroll, or compliance.  
  • Collect Needed Information and Tools: Gather all important HR documents, such as workplace policies, procedures, employee records, and performance data. 
  • Make a Checklist: Compile a detailed checklist to ensure you cover all important assessment areas. This list might include checking for rule compliance, the effectiveness of HR programs, or employee satisfaction.
  • Plan Who, When, and How: Determine whether the assessment will be conducted internally or with the help of external consultants. External consultants can often conduct assessments more quickly due to their specialized expertise in specific HR areas and objective perspectives, potentially reducing the time impact on your team’s regular duties. 
  • Review and Train: If conducting the assessment internally, review your current HR practices and train your team on assessment techniques to ensure a fair and thorough evaluation.
  • Communicate: Communicate with all stakeholders about the upcoming HR assessment. Being open about it will help you get their support and cooperation.

Can I Conduct an HR Assessment on My Own or Should I Hire an Expert HR Consultant?

You can conduct an HR assessment internally if you have the necessary skills and resources. However, conducting a comprehensive and unbiased HR assessment can be challenging. It demands a thorough understanding of HR best practices and an objective viewpoint. This process can be lengthy, potentially spanning several months, and may divert attention from your daily operational tasks. 

For many companies, especially those without a dedicated HR team, the benefit of hiring an HR consultant for HR assessments is significant. External HR consultants bring a fresh viewpoint, help identify potential blind spots, and deliver measurable results and actionable recommendations. They also help you compare your practices to industry standards, which can be invaluable in understanding how your HR functions stack up against best practices.

With guidance from Next Level Strategies, you can confidently address questions like, ‘Is my business HR compliant?’ and ‘How can we improve our recruiting and employee training strategies?’ We will also help you implement effective solutions to attract, manage, and retain top talent. 

Take the first step towards a compliant, productive workplace. Contact Next Level Strategies today for a free consultation to maximize the full potential of your HR operations. 

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