The last quarter of the year and the first quarter of the year are always jam-packed with human resources activities. As HR wraps the current year, it also needs to consider beginning a new year and preparing for all compliance submissions due by the end of January.
This is why November and December, the last two months of the fourth quarter, are very busy for HR professionals. It is even better if the HR professionals start working on the Q4 activities when October begins so that there is not a load of work to be completed before employees leave for the holidays.
Must-Do HR Tasks in Q4
Even though HR has planned a lot for the end of the year to wrap things up effectively, there is often something that might be missed in the havoc. Therefore, this list of the top HR-related tasks for Q4 can be a reminder of anything that your business might be missing out on:
Prepare for Year-end Appraisals
One of the most critical tasks to wrap up as the year ends is year-end appraisals. Even though the managers are supposed to keep a record of every employee to give out specific feedback, they still need refresher training before the appraisal season begins.
Some managers might be giving their first appraisals and others might have the details at the back of their heads after a long year.
Therefore, scheduling a refresher training regarding how to give the appraisals in the best way, and letting the managers know of the process of giving the appraisals is necessary.
The process for taking appraisals from employees regarding their experiences should also be ready. This means any material to print, and the file should be ready at least two weeks ahead of time.
Prepare Documents for the ACA Reporting
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting is a requirement due in January. Since the employees will come after a long break, getting back into the momentum of the work from the first day back is difficult. As such, it is recommended that as soon as the healthcare plan is finalized through open enrollment, employers with more than 50 full-time employees or full-time equivalents should fill out forms 1094-C and 1095-C.
These forms are aimed to report the health insurance plans offered to the employees to the IRS and a copy of the report for the employees, so they know what kind of benefits they are entitled to.
Employers employing less than 50 full-time employees also need to fulfill the ACA-IRS requirement by filling out forms 1094-B and 1095-B.
Review Employee Records
December is a good time to review the employee records and ensure that they are up to date. January is a much busier time, therefore, a time during November or December can be used for this task.
This is called the year-end purging in which HR ensures that the records of employees who have left the organization are archived and the information about the existing employees is maintained.
It is important to notify the employees that the HR is going through this process so they can inform the HR if there are any changes. This could include changes in the name of the marital status has changed, changes in family status, and even could be a change of emergency contact.
Review the Employee Handbook
This is a good time to review the employee handbook and assure that the policies are up to date according to the changes in federal and state laws.
Once updated, circulate the employee handbook in PDF format, through your HRIS, or provide a link to the employees to take a look at the company policies and sign an updated acknowledgement form that they have received the updated employee handbook.
Prepare for Employee Time Away From Work
As the end of the year approaches, there is probably a lot going on in the life of your employees. They might need PTO to attend December weddings, attend parent-teacher conferences at school, or enjoy some time with their family. Although the holiday time is approaching, it is good to approve time off and/or leaves of absence for employees who might need them.
However, make sure that the process of leave approval is followed so that there is no shortage of staff for completing the tasks at work.
Planning for an Awards Function or Holiday Party
Recognizing the performance of the employees through a recognition and awards function is a great way to boost their morale and increase their satisfaction.
Keeping a budget for this function can help offer good rewards to the employees including gift cards, and even vacation packages.
Making a Year-End HR Report
Many organizations still don’t have a process to measure the impact that HR makes. Therefore, it becomes hard to get the top management to approve additional funds because there are no calculations to back the progress that HR has made.
Calculating the HR performance and impact in quantitative form is very crucial to end the year on a good note. Good results also call for a celebration which can be a great way to boost the morale of your employees.
Summing it Up
The final quarter of the year and the first quarter of the year are jam-packed with HR activities. This includes making sure that the activities planned in the first month of the year are all completed. Conducting performance appraisals and company-wide awards or recognition events are also some of the crucial tasks to be done before employees leave for the holiday season.
This list can help managers and executives to make sure that they have not missed out on anything. If they were not planning on doing something that is on the list, they might make some last-minute adjustments according to the budget available.