5 Essential Year-End HR Activities

5 Essential Year-End HR Activities

5 Essential Year-End HR Activities

1. Update Job Descriptions

Job descriptions should be “living documents” that are evaluated annually. It’s not uncommon for job descriptions to grow outdated or need minor adjustments each year. Job descriptions are generally regarded as legal documents, and are necessary for maintaining compliance with ADA, FLSAFMLA and other employment laws.

They also help managers evaluate performance and set performance criteria or goals, determine compensation or grade level, and help to identify training needs.

Good sources to use to develop new job descriptions include:

  • CCH Job Description Tool (available through myERC)
  • O*Net / Job Description Writer
  • Dictionary of Occupational Job Titles
  • ERI’s position analysis tool
  • Compensation or salary survey job descriptions
  • Sample job descriptions from other organizations
  • Job postings

For more details, check out our post on Job Descriptions: An Essential How-To Guide

2. Review and Update Company Policies

Company policies, commonly found within employee handbooks, first and foremost reserve and protect the rights of an employer. In addition, they can help clarify expectations and facilitate better communication with employees. Handbooks are not a one-size-fits-all. 

As you revise your policies and procedures, keep in mind that ERC and Employer Risk Solutions Company (ERSco) offer a unique and innovative service exclusive to ERC members that provides an employee handbook for private employers that is easy, legally compliant, customized and affordable. For more information about this service, click here.

For more details on ensuring your employee handbook and company policies are up-to-date, check out our post on Why Employee Handbooks Matter

3. Conduct Performance Reviews

Performance can be measured in a number of ways—usually ratings on competencies and behaviors, specific performance objectives or goals, and/or performance metrics. Whatever measurement is used should accurately reflect the performance and job of the individual, what is truly required to be successful on the job, and the results that the business needs most.

Here are a few tips for a positive and engaging performance review experience:

  • Prepare and be objective: Throughout the year, it’s important to collect information about your employees, including their specific accomplishments, performance problems, progress in their development, and current skills. This information will help you form a more objective evaluation of your employee.
  • De-emphasize ratings: Ratings can serve a purpose in the performance review process, but the focus of a performance review discussion should not be where the employee fell on the Likert scale or how the employee ranks compared to other employees. Employees can often get caught up in how they were rated and miss the bigger picture of the conversation.
  • Uncover causes of high performance: By identifying an employee’s successes and reasons for their success, you can better understand the factors that lead an employee to perform well, and maximize these factors in the future by recreating conditions that facilitate great performance.
  • Focus on improvement: The performance review discussion should explore ways to close those gaps and expand skill sets, and discuss barriers to employees’ success as well as how those can be bridged or alleviated.
  • Help employees learn and develop: Explore learning and training opportunities and look for ways to align development with employees’ preferred learning styles.
  • Set goals and objectives: Setting goals towards the end of the conversation helps close the conversation on a motivational note, and get employees excited about new objectives and projects.
  • Close with support: Express confidence in the employee’s abilities and let them know that you are there to support their success throughout the next year as they work towards their goals.

For more details on how employers address the performance management process, check out our Performance Management Practices survey.

4. Review Record Retention Guidelines

All HR departments must adhere to record retention standards by keeping or purging certain records each year. Below is a table describing several record retention guidelines, including the length of time to keep certain records and the types of records to retain.

1 yearPhysical exam results; employment tests, results and validation; ADA applications and other personnel records and requests for reasonable accommodation (keep for 1 year after personnel action)
2 yearsVets—100; applications, resumes, other inquires sent to employer; help wanted ads, job opening notices, notices for opportunities for training, promotions, overtime, job opening notices sent to employment agencies or labor unions; employee personnel files (including hiring, disciplinary notices, promotions, demotions, discharges, training, tests, physicals, transfers, layoffs and recalls, job evaluations, merit systems, seniority systems)
3 yearsI-9s (or 1 year after termination); FMLA documentation (3 years after hire or 1 year after termination); polygraph tests; business records, including yearly total sales volume, total goods purchased; union contracts and individual employee contracts
5 yearsDrug testing; OSHA forms 101, 200, 300A, and 301; compensation insurance, or for occupational injury or disease; first aid records of job injuries causing loss of work time
6 yearsStandard ERISA documents (benefits plan, disclosure of Plan Description, Annual Reports Summary of Annual Reports, and Summary Plan Description)
7 yearsEmployee wage records (time cards, wage rate tables, shift schedules, hours and days of employees) records explaining wage differentials, deductions from pay; all payroll records
30 yearsRequired medical exams and exposure records (OSHA)

Looking for more details on this subject? Check out our article on What HR Needs to Keep Confidential.

5. Review Compensation

The best practice for reviewing compensation is at least every two years. If your organization has made a number of changes to jobs, has fallen behind on benchmarking pay in the past few years, is competing for hard-to-find talent, or is focused on retaining above average talent, then it may consider benchmarking compensation more frequently.

There are a few key things to look for when evaluating compensation survey data:

  • You’ll want to research who participated in the survey and what geographic region the survey represents.
  • Make sure you also know when the survey data is effective so that you make appropriate aging adjustments to ensure that you are comparing data according to consistent time periods.
  • Look at participation in the survey, specifically the number of employers participating for each breakout reported. Breakouts which have more participation are more reliable than breakouts that do not. That’s why you may see less reliable salary trends in positions that have less participation.

For more information on this topic, check out our article on Why Having a Compensation Strategy is a Must.

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