HR managers have been stretched and challenged in new ways throughout the last few years as they adapted to support their workforce throughout the pandemic and the many changes that came along with it. Companies relied on HR teams to create plans to keep employees safe and healthy, and to ensure employees have what they need - from emotional support to technical equipment.
While HR teams have been going 1,000 MPH, as we approach 2024, there are six things HR teams should consider doing before year-end to be best prepared for the year ahead.
1. Consider employee engagement
Heading into the new year is a great time to get a feel for employee engagement levels. What do they need more of? Less of? Consider surveying staff on their sentiments regarding work satisfaction, work styles, leadership, benefits offerings, and more. Depending on survey results and budget, propose new or modified benefits offerings to the executive team and other ideas to help increase employee engagement in 2024. One strategy many employers are considering is investing in mental health benefits for employees to help support their people emotionally in 2024.
Within their own team, HR Managers should connect with direct reports to ask what their main learns were from the year and what they’d like to accomplish professionally next year. What do they want to learn more about or be trained on? Can these be worked into overall team goals for 2024? It’s also important to consider how the team is feeling and any personal goals they have for the coming year. As a team that supports the company's employees, it’s imperative they feel supported and have the resources to set themselves up for success, so they can do the same for the organization's employees.
2. Notify employees of changes or deadlines affecting them
For instance, if the organization provides a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), employees that are signed up should be notified of their balance and whether they need to use it by the end of the year or if it can be rolled over. If the organization encourages employees to use their PTO or does not roll over PTO days, evaluate how much PTO has not yet been taken and remind employees to do so. This can go a long way in helping employees feel supported inside and outside of work.
3.Rethink the company handbook
Review company policies and update or adjust if any laws have been passed (or will be passed come January 1). This includes any federal, state, and city mandates regarding vaccination status and documentation.
Consider how workplace policies have changed or will need to be changed in the new year when it comes to work-from home, flexible scheduling, mask or vaccination requirements, dress code and any other modified perks or benefits and update the handbook to reflect these additions. Remind employees of these changes via company-wide messaging, and as new handbooks are distributed.
4. Collect updated staff information
Between moving, marriages, births of children, etc. it can be difficult to keep up with employee addresses and emergency contacts, so HR Managers should gather up-to-date personal information from staff. When benefits notices, W-2’s, or tax forms are sent, it’s crucial to ensure they’re sent to the right person and place.
The end of the year is also a great time for organizations to revisit their internal filing system. Whether the team relies on electronic filing or paper, HR Managers should make sure to start the year off fresh ensuring that active and inactive employee paperwork is filed and data has been entered into online systems correctly, as needed. For the many businesses working towards a paperless filing system, HR Managers should set aside time to get organized, scan needed paperwork, and create a system for remaining organized in 2024. For businesses in which it applies, this also includes a system for appropriately collecting and storing vaccination information.
5. Conduct an open enrollment audit
For many in HR, benefits and open enrollment takes up a large part of their time and resources in the last quarter of the year. It’s crunch time to check for any changes in benefit rates, getting employees enrolled and making changes to any plans before the deadline. Make sure the hard work doesn’t go to waste by conducting an audit of the year’s open enrollment. HR Managers should also connect with their broker to check that the employees who wanted to make changes or needed to enroll were actually signed up and no mistakes were made.
In December, it’s important to block off times to look back on the year and consider any issues or inconsistencies within 1095 ACA reporting prior to their due date. HR Managers should also preemptively schedule a meeting with their team in the new year for an open enrollment “blind spot” meeting to recap what processes went well during the year-end push, and what could be improved for the year ahead. Rule of thumb - don’t let this meeting get pushed out any longer than January 31st – it's best to meet and share ideas when the experience is still fresh!
6. Review salaries
Especially with increased turnover at many companies, annual raises and bonuses may be wise to deliver to applicable employees before the holidays, rather than after, in order to ensure employees head off for the holidays feeling appreciated and valued by their organization. Note that while this may help with engagement from some employees, for those already with one foot out the door, this could lead them to put in their notice earlier. While managers should play a big part in advocating for employee raises, HR professionals should still be reviewing salaries at a high level.
Inform managers of their team’s salary data and dates of the last increase for their direct reports. Especially during a staffing shortage, it is even more important to try and hold on to top talent, and offering raises is one way of doing so. This may also be a good time to remind employees of any referral bonuses available to them, as they mingle with friends and family during the holidays.
If you’re looking to add to your team in 2024, find out how we can help by clicking here.
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