The beginning of a new year is a great time to internally audit some of your HR-related practices. The following are a few tips to get you started:Employee Handbook – It is not a bad idea to have an HR Professional review your handbook annually for compliance issues. Also, if there are any policies that you would like to edit, the beginning of the year makes for a clean break for new policy implementation. If you do not have a handbook, the first of the year is the perfect time to create and implement one into your organization.Paid Time Off Benefits – If you are looking at making some changes to your paid time off benefits (i.e. vacation, sick, personal leave and holidays), the beginning of the calendar year is typically the best time to do so. One of the more popular changes that we have seen in recent years is the transition away from a traditional vacation, sick and personal leave benefit policy in favor of a more flexible, all-inclusive “Paid Time Off” or “PTO” policy. Feel free to reach out to your HR Professional regarding the benefits and drawbacks of making such a change. Additionally, we recommend sending all employees the 2013 holiday schedule at the beginning of the year so they may plan accordingly.Performance Management System – The start of a new year is also a great time to determine when annual performance reviews will be conducted. Some businesses prefer to conduct such reviews throughout the year on or around each employee’s anniversary date. Others prefer to choose a month during the year (perhaps when business is typically slower) to conduct reviews for all employees.Health Care Reform Requirements – Most likely, your next Health Care Reform task will be to issue an “Exchange and Subsidy Notice” to each employee on or before March 1, 2013. It is important to ensure that you have determined the best method to distribute such notices. You may also wish to speak with your insurance broker or carrier to determine if their organization will be available to answer employee questions arising out of these notices.Posters – A few states have recently experienced poster updates. We recommend reviewing the list of required posters (both federal and state-level) and ensuring that your business has all of the required posters posted in a conspicuous location within your workplace. To review the posters required for your state, simply log in to your HR Support Center and view the “Laws” tab.OSHA 300A Summary – Many employers are required to complete an annual Summary of Workplace Illnesses and Injuries (OSHA 300A) and post it in a conspicuous workplace location from February 1st – April 30th annually. If you had ten or fewer employees during all of the last calendar year (2012) or if your business is classified in a specific low-hazard industry, you are not subject to this requirement.Hopefully, these beginning-of-the-year tips will assist you in establishing your Human Resources priorities and improve your organization’s Human Resources functions this year. Please let us know how we can help. We wish you much success in 2013!

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