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By: Jenna Bishop on November 28th, 2023

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The HR Action List: 10 Things to Help You Make The Right Start in 2024

Business Management & Strategy | Employee Retention

The holidays are quickly approaching, budget and planning sessions are in full swing, and January 1st will be here before you know it. The end of the year is the perfect time to wrap up any of those outstanding tasks you put off during the year and get a great start to the New Year.

But where should you begin?

10 urgent tasks for your HR Action List

There are some urgent tasks to complete in the coming weeks, especially if your team will be out of office during the holidays. Those tasks include: 

  • Encourage employees to review their HRIS information
  • Talk to employees about PTO allowances
  • Send benefit reminders
  • Talk about catch-up contributions
  • Conduct a PTO audit
  • Complete all required reporting
  • Perform a compensation review
  • Issue Total Rewards statements
  • Review the employee handbook
  • Send reminders and notices to employees

Let's look at each task in more detail: 

1. Encourage employees to review their HRIS information

Ask your employees to review their personal information in your Human Resources Information System and/or your Payroll System, paying particular attention to their address to ensure their W-2 is mailed to the appropriate location.

2. Talk to employees about PTO allowances

If your company has a PTO carryover limit, now is a great time to remind employees of that limit and encourage them to use their paid time off if they’re carrying a large balance. Note some states do not allow for ‘use it or lose it’ policies, so it’s important to review statutory requirements about vacation and sick leave for the locations in which your employees work.

This is also a great time to provide an updated pay and holiday schedule to your employees. Make sure to post it in a place easily accessible to all employees.

3. Send benefit reminders

Communicate updated contribution limits for benefits like 401(k)s, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Dependent Care FSAs, and Commuter Benefit plans. It’s also a good time to remind employees of carryover limits for FSAs and deadlines for incurring and submitting expenses.

4. Talk about catch-up contributions

Remind your employees about catch-up contributions for their 401(k)s, as employees can start contributing toward the catch-up contribution limit from the beginning of the year in which they turn 50.

It’s also helpful to remind employees of the current annual maximum contribution limit, especially for those employees who may have contributed to a 401(k) at a different organization in the same year, to ensure they do not go over the annual limit and incur any associated tax liability. You can also include any annual required notices for the 401(k) plan as attachments to your year-end email as part of this process.

5. Conduct a PTO audit

We recommend running PTO reports and conducting a PTO audit for a few reasons. First, you can audit PTO accrual rates to ensure employees are accruing at the appropriate rate, especially if your PTO or vacation accrual rates increase based on seniority.

In addition, these reports will help you identify any employees who may be under- or overutilizing PTO or vacation. It also will help identify any large PTO balances that may create financial exposure for the company if PTO is paid out upon termination.

Finally, take a moment to look at any new or updated legislation related to leave. It's important to ensure that you’re compliant in your PTO offerings.

6. Complete all required reporting

Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting can sometimes sneak up on you. Now is a great time to identify whether this is applicable to your organization and, if so, you will want to look into how the reporting and filing will be managed. Our friends at NFP have pulled together some helpful resources regarding ACA reporting to help you prepare.

EEO-1 Reporting is also currently open through Tuesday, December 5th. This is required for private employers with 100+ employees AND employers with 50+ employees who hold one or more prime or first-tier subcontractor government contracts with a total value of at least $50,000.

7. Perform a compensation review

As part of your end-of-year processes, we recommend several action items related to compensation. We’ve seen a huge focus on pay transparency recently, with many states passing pay transparency legislation in a push for pay equity. As such, we recommend researching state and local minimum wage requirements to ensure all employees are paid at or above minimum wage (both for exempt and non-exempt employees). We also recommend being aware of any pay transparency legislation that is applicable to your business, which may require you to refrain from asking applicants about their salary history and include salary ranges and benefits information on your job postings.

This is also a great time to look at market data and update your organization’s pay ranges if needed. Again, we’re seeing a push for pay transparency and pay equity, so identifying your organization’s compensation philosophy and communication strategy is important. 

8. Issue Total Rewards statements

This is also a great time to provide employees with total rewards statements to give them a holistic view of their compensation package. In my experience, many employees are not aware of how much their employer covers from a health insurance standpoint, so this provides insight into their total compensation.

End-of-year bonus and profit-sharing amounts should also be determined and allocated, and such information should be communicated to managers and/or employees, depending on your communication approach.

9. Review the employee handbook

Take a look at your employee handbook to ensure you’ve added information about any legislative updates and to make sure the policies and practices outlined in the handbook are done in practice.

The NLRB’s Stericycle decision is important here. Take a close look at your policy language to ensure you’re not chilling employees from exercising their rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), even if you are not a union employer. Additionally, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and Providing Urgent Medical Protections (PUMP) Act for Nursing Mothers are newer federal legislation that you may want to have covered in your employee handbook. States and localities have also added or updated regulations for things like paid sick leave, paid family leave, bereavement leave, and workplace violence prevention.

Struggling to keep up with compliance updates? Talk to a Helios HR consultant and let us help with your employee handbook review.

10. Send reminders and notices to employees

Once you’ve completed these tasks, you might issue a year-end communication with all of the important info gathered in one place. Include details about:

  • Reviewing information in the HRIS
  • PTO allowances and carry-overs
  • Benefit contribution limits
  • 401(k) contribution limits and required notices
  • How to interpret their Total Rewards statement
  • Information about HR availability during the holidays
  • Thanks for their contributions in the previous year

If you need individuals to take specific actions before year-end, flag these tasks in a separate communication and loop in their manager, if required.

Other important HR tasks for year-end

The ten items on your action list are essential, but they’re not the only important tasks. Some other tasks to consider for your action list include: 

  • Review your recognition programs; consider engaging employees in the development of new programs and updates to existing programs.
  • Review the effectiveness of your benefits programs.
  • Take a look at how open enrollment went and determine if there are any areas for improvement.
  • Create an HR Planning & Compliance Calendar for the new year.
  • Develop HR goals and assist in HR budget planning.
  • Pull and review appropriate data and metrics (e.g., turnover rate, retention rate, etc.)
  • Review your performance management program.
  • Have employees assist in reviewing and updating job descriptions.
  • Review succession plans and development plans for your high-potential employees
  • Take a look at your training budget and remind employees of training and professional development opportunities.
  • Update your required annual training schedule.

This is a busy time of year, so it’s difficult to get everything done. However, if you can get through some of this review and preparation now, you’ll take a lot of pressure off your team in 2024.

Ready for success in 2024?

No matter what lies ahead in 2024, you'll need to achieve three crucial tasks: attract new staff, engage your current team, and retain your most valuable people. 

It's much easier when you've got the right HR support. If you want to discuss your plans for the year ahead, book a free 30-minute consultation with Helios HR today.

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