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By: Sarah Shepherd on April 18th, 2016

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10 Best Practices for Spring Cleaning your HR Department

Risk Management

Spring has approached, which always seems like the time of year I like to get organized and get rid of unnecessary clutter.  It is also the perfect time for your HR department to do some of their own spring cleaning for better order in the workplace. 

As an HR consultant serving as the HR leader for my clients, I typically have a lot going on in Q4 and Q1. We may be managing open enrollments, setting budgets, hiring new employees, finalizing payroll, and conducting performance reviews.  Come spring, I like to take advantage to ensure my HR function is up to date with the latest compliance obligations as well as purge files to create less unnecessary clutter.

If you are ready to reset for Q2 and the months ahead, here are 10 tasks I tackle each spring to get the HR Department better organized for the year.

10 Best Practices for Spring Cleaning your HR Department

  1. Clean up the employee files: Look through your employee files and purge those that no longer belong with the current files and relocate the ones for terminated employees to another secured storage location.
  2. Record retention policies: If you do not have a policy for maintaining paperwork this is a great opportunity to create a retention policy or if you have one, update the policy so it reflects your current practices as well as Federal, state, and local regulations.
  3. Organize your employment applications: Shred any applications that are past their retention date and then file the remaining ones either by the position applied for or date of receipt.  If you are a government contractor, you must keep applications for 2 years.
  4. Purge I-9 Forms: Ensure all I-9’s are filed separately and the terminated employees’ I-9’s are separated from the active ones and labeled with a retention date.  Remove any I-9’s that are past their retention date and shred them. For tips on remote I-9's, check out my colleague's article.
  5. Review your employee handbook: If your handbook has not been revised in over a year, it more than likely needs to be updated.  Since regulations change on a continuing basis, it is important to update these to reflect the most recent changes in the law.  Make sure your policies match current best practices and if you need any help revising your handbook, you can reach out to our team to tackle that project for you while you accomplish some of these other tasks.
  6. Audit benefit premiums: This is a great opportunity to review your current benefit premiums and ensure the correct amount is being deducted from each employee’s pay.
  7. Update your compliance posters: Ensure your posters are easily visible to all employees and they are the most current for both federal and state requirements. If you have multiple locations you must have compliance posters at each location.
  8. Federal required forms: Federal forms sometimes change each year or every other year so check to confirm you are using the latest version of these forms such as FMLA requests, COBRA notices, I-9 Employment Eligibility forms, etc.
  9. COBRA administrators, and workers’ comp carriers: Review all required documents to ensure you are using the most recent documents such as the COBRA Initial Notice as well as review your current carriers and premiums listed on the COBRA notices to confirm the correct information is being relayed to your employees.
  10. Review of Projects: Review the status of current projects as well as future ones helps in assuring goals will be met for the department and the organization by the designated timeframe.

By making an effort to purge and review your current policies, processes and procedures will save you time in the long run, and allow for an efficient running department.  If other departments see Human Resources is getting organized, they may follow suit.