In auditing, standards are fundamental. In HR, they still appear to be optional in the mind of many HR practitioners.

- Dr Chris Andrews, Bond University, Australia

This site is dedicated to the professional practice of Auditing the Human Resources activities within organisations (HR Auditing).  
Human resource auditing is located both within and between each of the fields of human resource management and auditing.  

The literature on human resource auditing has been described as ‘flawed’ with the term audit used ‘indiscriminately so that almost any kind of study of human resources can be considered an audit’ (Clardy 2004).  On this website the term ‘human resource audit’ describes the professional practice of auditing applied to human resources activities. Human Resources is a broad term covering people based activites, no matter who undertakes the task. These activities are not limited to those of the HR Department.

Auditing comes from the Latin 'audire'- to listen.  It is a profession specilaising in evaluation and the provision of assurance. The context of auditing firmly establishes the boundaries for the examination, highlighting ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’, auditing. The significant issues that emerge are: audit independence, audit methodology, audit reporting, risk assessment and audit assurance (rather than management assurance).  A performance audit has been found to be a suitable method of evaluating the contribution of human resource activities to current and future organisational objectives, assessed on the basis of value-for-money (Andrews 2008).  

A human resource audit is not a form of management assurance undertaken in relation to the human resource activities of an organisation.  There is a risk that human resource practitioners may claim to be undertaking a human resource ‘audit’ when they are actually undertaking a management ‘review’.  This can present legal issues (it can be misleading and might also be deceptive conduct) or insurance issues (particularly professional indemnity insurance coverage) and should be avoided (Bernhardt & Andrews 2006).

In order to evaluate HR activities you must have standards. If there are no organisational standards then the first task is for management to establish standards. 

Key HR AuditingConstructs:

  • The need for independence
  • There are different types of audit for different purposes.
  • Performance should be considered on the basis of efficiency, effectiveness and economy.
  • Standards must be developed and agreed organisationally if national or industry standards are absent.
  • A consideration of risks, along with objectives and standards, are part of the HR Audit process.
  • Competence in auditing is required by the national standards and the professional practices framework for auditing.

Thank you visiting this site.

Please suggest additions to literature via email to: candrews@bond.edu.au 

Selected reading:

The role and benefits of HR Auditing: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/business_pubs/880/