‘New year, new you’…
For the past several years we’ve provided a list of things you can do each year to enhance your HR function. These tips can help with your planning and ensure that by the end of the year you’ve made some meaningful enhancements to your HR processes and continue to build and refine your overall people strategy.
First, make sure your required postings are updated. There are certain federal and state postings that must be displayed so that your employees can see them. They cover minimum wage, Family and Medical Leave Act, Equal Employment Opportunity, and others. Your state may also have separate required postings…in Ohio we have to post coverage with workers’ compensation and the state minimum wage. Your municipality may have additional postings as well. If your employees are remote, you can place these in a share drive or append them to your employee handbook.
Second, review and update your employee handbook. We’ve talked about this before…a current employee handbook helps your managers manage and helps your employees know what’s expected of them. We know it seems like a chore to do this, but it can be one of the most useful tools for managing. You don’t have to agonize over perfect wording…you can always revise it as needed. If something doesn’t work…change it…but make sure you let employees know so that they aren’t caught off guard.
Third, audit your HR processes. You may not get to this in Q1 because of all of your other priorities, but make sure you get it into the queue for this year. Are there better ways of doing things? What gaps do you have? Performing an audit of your HR department can help you spot ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness, and free up time to provide your customers with new or better services. It can help you get in front of compliance issues as well.
Fourth, update your job descriptions. JDs may seem like a minor part of your overall HR strategy, but they are in fact an important foundation for many of your HR activities. Current job descriptions help with:
- Recruiting. Current JDs can be modified into job postings that tell candidates what the job duties are, and what qualifications are needed. Don’t just copy and paste the JD into the posting; most JDs have too much job-level detail for a job posting and not enough about your organization and the value proposition you have for candidates.
- Compensation benchmarking. Accurate job descriptions are necessary for compensation benchmarking. The job title itself isn’t sufficient…clearly stating all of the job duties, qualifications, and experience necessary are required to make determinations about appropriate pay.
- Overtime exemption testing. The nature of most jobs is such that employees performing this work are eligible for overtime which means that if an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek, they are eligible to receive overtime at a rate of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate [this varies by state and sometimes locally…check your state or local regulations]. To determine of the job is exempt from overtime, you need up-to-date job descriptions to ascertain if a job meets the requirements of the various exemptions tests. Remember, it is not a management prerogative to simply decide a job is exempt for the sake of convenience or cost…the job must meet the requirements of the tests. Job title alone is not sufficient either.
- Developing appropriate training and development activities. The most efficient way to train and develop employees is to find ways to leverage your resources to get the biggest return-on-investment. Training for jobs with similar duties or requirements can be developed that allows many employees to learn with the investment in time you make. It also ensures that you are providing to your supervisors the specific training they need to be effective leaders since supervisory responsibilities are so distinct from staff roles.
Having led HR departments in the past, we know how busy the beginning of the year is with winding down annual enrollment, managing performance appraisals, and getting ready for merit increases. Spending some time on these other matters in the first quarter will help you prepare for a good year managing your HR function.