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HR Housekeeping and How to Make the Most of Your Year

January 31st, 2023 4 min to read

With the new year settling in and the longest month of the year finally wrapping up now is the perfect time to get your HR housekeeping in order.

Here are a few HR Housekeeping suggestions to start with as you plan for the year ahead:

  1. Emergency Contacts
    Do you have up to date emergency contact information for everyone on staff? Who can access this information and how quickly? Ensure its access is limited in a way that complies with privacy legislation, but also allows quick access in the event of an emergency. If you are not using an HRIS platform that allows employees to enter and update this info at any time, it’s a good idea to collect and update it every year, especially if it’s only collected at the time of hire. While the personal information of your employees should be limited to a few people, allowing managers access to view emergency contact info for their direct reports makes good sense.

  2. Address Check Up
    While you’re at it, save the scramble and headache at tax time! Encourage your employees to verify their address on file with finance or payroll well in advance of T4 season.

  3. Life Insurance Beneficiaries
    Do you offer basic life insurance as part of an employer group plan? If so, think about the last time an audit was carried out to confirm that every employee has designated a beneficiary. Whether your group is using paper or digital forms, the beginning of a new year is a good time to ask your people to confirm that the correct information is on file for them and offer them an opportunity to update or change it. It is my hope that you will never need to use this information, however a regular practice of auditing and updating it may be the difference between the surviving family members of your employee being able to pay for funeral costs. Don’t let a lack of HR administration on your part expose you to this unnecessary risk.

  4. Vacation Carry Over
    Does your organization have a policy in place limiting the carry-over of vacation accrual from one year into the next? Spoiler alert - you should! Practicing a ‘use it or lose it' approach to vacation carry-over may risk breaching the employment standards rules. The new year offers an excellent opportunity to review and refresh your vacation administration practices. As part of your HR housekeeping, ensure they are compliant, effective, limit your liability and most importantly encourage your people to rest and recharge with time away on a regular basis. Vacation balances growing larger and larger each year as the result of carry-over accumulation can be risky too. Talk to Forward Level HR about how we can help you manage this. 

  5. Active User Accounts
    The last HR housekeeping tip is to review a list of active employees in the HR system against a list of users with your IT team. Terminated users with active accounts can add unnecessary cost and risk (ex. licenses and account/active user subscription fees). If your organization uses more than one system and those systems are not connected, you should audit information across all systems. When address or salary changes don't make it from one system into another resulting discrepancies can cause confusion and negatively impact your employee’s ability to access or claim disability or life benefits.

Now is the perfect time to take a step back and review your HR processes. Taking a proactive approach to your HR housekeeping ensures that your organization is set up for success in the year ahead. If you focus on these areas, you can ensure that your HR processes are running smoothly and that your organization is prepared for whatever challenges the year ahead may bring.

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Forward Level HR partners with businesses to work through the process of considering current and future people and culture needs of their organization. From simple housekeeping items like those listed here to building a strategic HR road map to align with the goals of your business, an HR partner can add value and unique perspective to help you grow your business and support your people.

Contact Leona today to see how HR can help your business grow.