In today’s volatile economic climate, with rising claims of harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination, the responsibility for an organization’s human resource (HR) department to provide objective and well-documented employee relations is more critical than ever. In fact, according to Deb Muller, CEO of Florham Park-based HR Acuity, the way in which employee issues are handled has as much to do with the resolution as the issue itself.
“It’s about developing a consistent and required process so that when a claim is made and something happens, employees know what to expect with how they are going to be treated as well as what protections they will have from a retaliation standpoint,” Muller says.
Muller launched HR Acuity in 2006 initially as a third-party workplace investigations company, but in a few short years, she transformed the venture into a technology-centric employee relations case management solutions provider, based on the desire of customers to have an internal HR management process within their own company. HR Acuity currently has 35 employees with satellite locations in Texas and New York.
“Every company had a different way to deal with employee issues,” Muller says. “There was typically no one specific process required or used within an organization – which continues to be true today. … No one was looking at [dealing with employee issues] in a proactive way to understand the impact on business and how one could really use the information to better the business, protect the brand and help employees.”
HR Acuity’s software allows companies to track all sorts of data related to employee relations issues, policy violations, performance issues, and more, allowing it to analyze the data and make tangible changes based on various trends.
“You can peel back the data to better understand what is going on in your organization,” Muller explains. “A lot of companies have been sitting back on the fact that they have a workplace harassment policy and do employee training and think, ‘we’re good.’ However, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 75% of people do not report issues. An organization can’t fix things it doesn’t know about or are turning a blind eye to.
“In putting more transparency in a company’s processes, the outcomes of those processes will go a long way in making employees feel safe at work,” she says.
HR Acuity can also help protect a company itself, limiting risk when it comes to claims.
“If there is litigation, companies can be much better armed with the documentation, statistics and the process itself, to show that it did the right thing and did the best it could to make sure that inappropriate behaviors are stopped,” Muller says. “No organization can prevent these types of issues from happening, but it can control, as an organization, how it responds.”
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