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Human resource service knowledge article

Year-End HR Housekeeping to Keep Things Running Smoothly

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HR Governance

The year has flown by, and suddenly it’s November. The end of the year is fast approaching – which makes it a great time for companies to do a bit of HR housekeeping to prepare for the end of the year, and the beginning of the next. Our team at Honiva thought it would be nice to send out a few friendly reminders to help you enter 2020 smoothly.

Employee Information Updates

One key thing to take care of this time of year is ensuring you have current mailing addresses on file for your employees – both those still with the company and those who left during the year. You will need this information in the new year to generate and send out T4 slips (or, in the United States, W-2 slips) for tax filling purposes.

Plus, it is always a good idea to have an address on file in the event of an emergency where you need to locate a missing or absent employee in cases of domestic violence or job abandonment, which do happen. It is just simply paramount to keep employee records updated at all times. You are the steward when it comes to information management and protection. Don’t be lax, ensure there is a defined way to collect, capture, store, use, and destroy the employee data that comes into your possession.

Benefits Spending

Then taking a look at managing employee programs. Some benefit plans and flexible spending accounts operate on a use-it-or-lose-it basis where coverage amounts do not roll over into the following year. If that is the case in your company, employees should be made aware of these deadlines to ensure they get the most out of their total compensation package. Further, for companies where there is an annual renewal, there should be a double check to ensure all pertinent life events are communicated with the benefits provider. That way, employees are covered appropriately and benefits programs are priced accurately. That will help an employer make the most efficient use of the benefit dollars.

Vacation Scheduling

Along the same lines, if employees have unused vacation time it may be a good idea to encourage them to take time off. It is always important to refresh the mind and body. Another benefit of encouraging employees to take vacation time is to allow the business to spread the cost of time off over a longer time horizon. If unused vacation time is paid out annually, that will decrease the impact at the end of the year from a monetary standpoint. Another option is to allow employees to rollover their unused vacation time, but just be careful and keep an eye on the mounting obligation that will ensue. It is important to have a strategic discussion before setting up time off rules.

HR Budgeting

If your company’s fiscal year matches the calendar year, you may be looking ahead to a new budget. A good way to start the budgeting process is to review past HR costs over the year, then project forward based on decisions of what to keep, change, or remove. Speaking of which, it is important to consider both direct labour costs and indirect labour costs. By doing so, it will give you a much more clearer image to make fiscally responsible decisions.

Annual Review

You may also want to complete employee performance appraisals and compensation reviews. By completing these reflective activities on a regular basis, you will enable your management team to plan ahead and make better decisions. For companies that do not have an established HR work cycle, you may find that over time your productivity levels slip or actual employee pay does not match with your compensation structure. By the time you notice, it may be very difficult to course correct. It takes discipline to detect slight changes that can escalate in a positive or negative way over the long term. Your business can generate an amazing amount of useful information, it is up to the leadership team to determine what is important to measure and how to act upon it.

Update HR Work Processes

Another beneficial activity can be the review and improvement of internal HR work processes. Business operations may have changed, lines of authority may have shifted, growth or shrinkage might have impacted the workforce forcing your team to work differently. All of these changes should be captured in work processes and procedures to ensure key steps are not missed along your value chain. Whether you choose to capture your work processes on paper or digitally, they should be kept updated. In many jurisdictions where we work, there have been countless legal changes. Hence, it is very important to double check that you are legally compliant on a regular basis.

Plan Next Year’s Calendar

Lastly, tie it all together with an overarching plan or calendar that captures all of your upcoming HR initiatives, as well as projects that might be on the agenda for the following year. That way, you can ensure there is adequate time to complete your list of priorities and gain a better grasp of resources you may need to make each initiative come to fruition. In terms of the HR realm, your calendar can capture dates relating to company holidays, payroll processing deadlines, employee evaluation time frames, and pay out dates for any approved salary increases or bonus payouts.

Here to Help

Would you like more information on essential HR systems or processes to propel your business forward? We can be reached for a free confidential consultation at +1-403-470-5350 or [email protected].

For further details on how Honiva helps businesses build great HR programs, please view our service offerings.

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Further Reading

Other articles you may be interested in:

Employee Files: Stress-Free Information Storage

HR Systems: Tech Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Safeguarding Employee Data

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