Your End of Year HR Checklist

hr, audit, checklist, end of year

There are only a few weeks left of the year and its easy to just throw your hands up, say the year is up, and flip the calendar over to 2015. It IS hard to get stuff done the last few weeks of the year due to holiday schedules (whether that means your employees are out of the office or purely focused on customers — or both) but I have a quick checklist to allow you to help support the business and still round out your HR year.  The list is not all inclusive, but a good starting point of some activities to focus on and may get your brain jogging on other things to add.

Your End of Year HR Checklist

Get Your Employee Files and Records in Order

  • Sort your termed employees files from your active employee files (whether you have online or physical files) the end of the year is a great time to spend some good time getting your records in order — and maybe even catching up on your “filing”. While often the simplest thing to do, when HR emergencies come up, records management is often the first thing that we drop. Use the down time now to get the house in order.
  • Doing this work now will also ensure that when its time to to your OSHA logs, affirmative action plans, payroll reporting, or any other year end audits will be easier with organized files.
  • This is also a great time to validate your employee data and ensure that its all up to date and that you have good data in your key HR systems.
  • Refer to your “Record Keeping Guidelines” to purge any documents that are no longer needed and store the ones that you will need. Check the retention on each document type and also review the guidelines to see if you have new types of documents that you will need to account for. As a general rule, I recommend working with your legal department before destroying any records — they will confirm that there are no “legal holds” on those records.
  • This time of year, I personally clean out my desk and my computer — what stuff do I need to have handy, what can I put away for later, what can I purge. Encourage your teams to do the same.

Remind Your Employees to Update their Information

  • Benefit cards, tax documents, and perhaps other documents are about to go out to employee’s homes. Start a campaign to ensure that your employees remember to updates their physical and/or mailing addresses. Its also a great time to remind them to update anything else in their employee profiles such as the emergency contacts, dependent information — even their learning records, certifications, and degrees. Give your employees a call to action to go to the HR systems once and review/update all their information.

Look at your Boards

  • So many laws have changed this year, if you don’t subscribe to a service (even if you do) check each state that you operate in and ensure that you have the right posters and signage up for each location.  Remove old and outdated information and consider putting in a plan to have your board regularly reviewed.
  • You many also check your boards for any benefit information — if you change your plans at the start of the year you’ll need to take down the old stuff and make a plan to put up your new information. I’d like to make a call out here to put up information about your EAP information if you have one.
  • … and when I say “boards” I also mean to go in and check any of your internal facing HR websites. Take down any old or irrelevant content (I recommend putting it in an archive so that I can refer to it later if needed instead of deleting it) and begin to state or update new information for the next year. That content doesn’t write itself, so give yourself time to do that.

Think Compliance

  • This is the time of year to review all your policies and handbooks (and note that you’ve reviewed them) as well as make a list of policies that you may want to consider reviewing or revising in the new year (scope that work and give yourself time to work on it).
  • Get an understanding of any audits (not just HR ones, remember, many non-HR audits, often involve HR data) or self assessments that you may have coming up in your company and get them on the schedule for next year so that you can anticipate them (and the work that goes with it)– and by getting your records in order (online and physical) you’ll be better prepared for them.
  • End of year is also a time to put your vendor manager hat on and take a look at all your contracts — what’s expiring, when, and what are the terms. Reviewing your contracts may also lead into some of your strategic work if you want to change or evaluate new vendors or products.

Lay out your next year annual HR calendar

  • This is a great time to catch up on some of the work that you’ve let slip during the year, but its also a great time to look ahead and starting calendaring your next year. Having your project work is helpful, but before you even start to schedule that start with some of the statutory events and dates, fill in company dates and events (think business and HR — key launches, performance review, merit cycle) — and THEN put your project and strategic work in. It will change — but it will be great to have a calendar knowing what things you have flexibility with (project deadlines) and what things you know you have a hard deadline with (ie. a 5500 filing or maybe the end of a contract — perhaps even HR conferences or events that you want to attend).

What does your end of year HR checklist look like? What should be added or called out on the list?

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Andrea Devers

Andrea is an HR technologist and change management expert. She’s has built her career in global HR Compliance, HR process improvement, and shared services across all functions of HR. Connect with Andrea.


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