12/07/13 By Jennifer Brown

2014With the New Year just a few weeks away, it’s time to ensure your HR function is ready for 2014. This includes:

■ reviewing any new laws and regulations that are going into effect as of or after January 1, 2014 (e.g., some states have new minimum wages).
■ updating any HR standard templates (e.g., offer letter, consultant/contractor agreements) that state the current year within them – in other words replacing “2013” with “2014”.
■ gathering any documents that

are updated yearly with new dates (e.g., Federal W-4).
■ determining if you need any new labor law posters.
■ meeting with employees to get their input on what is working and not working within your organization and any resources or help they need in helping the business to achieve its objectives for 2014.
■ identifying your top 3 to 5 HR goals for 2014 and developing action plans for meeting them.
■ reviewing your HR processes and procedures in light of your 2014 business and HR objectives and ensuring they still make sense and are aligned with your objectives.

A great illustration of this is Seth Godin’s recent blog entitled “Who’s left”: “The classified section of the Sunday New York Times used to be more than twenty or thirty pages long. Now it’s down to one. Part of this is due to the lack of new jobs in the post-industrial economy, but mostly it’s due to job listings moving online. I was fascinated to see some of the jobs in last week’s paper and confess befuddlement at the thinking of those that ran them.

Here’s one, from Amazon, for a level II programmer in their New York office. Just a mailing address, no online method for contacting or applying. They’re using the newspaper to search for programmers unable to apply online, perhaps the best place to find this sort of programmer, but really, do they want them?

Or the ad from Paul, Weiss, a prestigious big law firm in New York. It’s the biggest ad on the page, and goes into a long, long list of requirements for the job–Magna Cum Laude from a famous law school, more than three years with one of their competitors, etc. Which high-powered New York lawyers are reading the last single page of newspaper classifieds?

And my favorite, an equally long ad for Deloitte that instructs the applicant to go to a website and enter a 15-digit code, including several “1”s, some “I”s and a bunch of letters and numbers. Almost unreadable in the paper, and hard to transcribe. More than a billion combinations… why not just enter NYT1124

Lots of time and money being spent chasing the wrong people with the wrong ads.

My point, and I do have one, is that if your HR department is run by policies that were established a decade ago, worth a new look. And if you are serious, truly serious, that talent is your competitive advantage, please understand that the way you look for and sort that talent is the highest-leverage way you’ve got to increase what you end up with.”

Spending a few hours this month getting your HR function ready for 2014 will pay off significantly in helping to ensure you have effective HR practices in place that will prevent problems and help you achieve your goals.

YOUR TURN: What do you do to make sure your HR function is ready for success in the New Year? Please leave your reply below.


photo credit

Jennifer Brown is the founder of PeopleTactics LLC, she is devoted to helping small business owners implement solutions to prevent Human Resources problems that drain them of their time, money, and energy. Jennifer works with small businesses in order to help them build stronger employee relationships, understand and comply with employment laws, establish policies, and set up easy-to-use HR systems to consistently avoid problems.

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