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January Checklist For Your HR Team

January Checklist For Your HR Team_Yellow Spark Solutions Blog
Photo source: Unsplash

Welcome to 2018! After a 365 days’ long haul of meeting deadlines and targets, we have finally overcome the hurdles of 2017 and stepped into a new year of business. The New Year is usually a time when you want to start afresh, rectify last year’s mistakes, set higher goals and adopt a renewed outlook.

Aren’t these the typical thoughts we have as a business owner during the start of the year; but very few are able to articulate what would they do that would enable them to live up to this aspiration.

And no, more leads, more marketing, creativity, innovation are not the only answers.

The answer lies in creating an environment where your employees (read people) support you in realising these aspirations. And that is where the HR comes into the picture.

As far as the HR department is concerned, supporting organisational growth whilst keeping a fine balance between change and consistency is what keeps the rest of the organisation functioning smoothly.

So, here’s how a typical January should look for your HR team:

1. Reviewing company policies

HR Managers, across industries, engage themselves in reviewing all policies- especially employee related policies- employment contracts, financial regulations and others. This helps in making an assessment of what needs to change for the ongoing year and what implications would such changes have on the overall organisational functions. Most importantly, being in the last financial quarter, keeping abreast of any compliance changes only makes the team’s work much easier when books need to be closed in March.

2. Resource planning

In one of our earlier blogs, we studied why manpower planning is the most daunting but important task for the HR, especially at the start of the year. Because, planning at this stage can help uncover untapped potential, thus helping you understand your current resources. By analysing, forecasting and developing your manpower strategy for the entire year, the HR team can help in optimally utilising resources and increase oganisational productivity. The trick is to keep an eye on the annual goals and at the same time set quarterly goals to keep it practical.

3. Taxes and compliances

TDS on salary is one of the most crucial and critical financial compliance for any enterprise. January is the time to collect investment proofs and calculate year-end tax liabilities of employees. Since the HR is responsible to ensure all documentations and tax regulations are met, this period till the end of the fiscal year, is ideal to forgo any bad tax practices and replace with a disciplined approach, which will help everyone reduce tax burdens and maximise returns. Employee communication, grievance handling and follow-ups for submission keep HR custodians busy. These days there are many tax advisors who conduct free series and explain about taxation, savings and tax saving mechanisms to employees. It may be a good time to plan a session to help your staff save on taxes and become better at managing their personal finances.

4. Start of the appraisal process

This is a time when every employee looks forward to their growth, both financial and developmental opportunities within the organisation. And as the one managing the people’s function, the onus is on the HR team to ensure that the appraisal process is carried out effectively and on-time. From reviewing each employee’s performance to ensuring that everyone gets a fair, simple and quick assessment, come January, all HR teams are on their toes, preparing for the yearly appraisals, setting up review meetings, analysing data and optimising their HR budget.

5. Understanding employee behaviour

Since the HR anyway engages in manpower planning at this time, most HR departments also conduct internal surveys to understand employee behavior & expectations, analyse data to see trends in rate and reasons of attrition, identify the areas of improvement, implement operational changes etc. The data derived out of such study helps not only in restructuring the manpower and but also to improve overall business operations.

6. A little redoing of Social Media policies

The millennial organisations have an added task for the HR team- managing and monitoring social behaviour of employees. Of course, every individual has their own social media space and they have the right to manage it the way they like. However, when it comes to interacting with and about the organisation on social, there are protocols to be followed, mainly because the employees are the voice and brand ambassadors of the organisation. Hence, the HR team ensures that employees maintain a certain decorum while interacting on social media, right from the beginning of the year.

7. Process improvements

Everyone wants to make a fresh start in the New Year. It may be a good idea for HR teams to utilise this first month in assessing HR processes. There is always scope to improve and optimise them. After all, each process should have a clear purpose and objective. It is indeed the best time to organise an HR meet, involve team members from different geographies, understand ground level challenges and to make necessary process improvisations for the coming days.

8. Time for strategic planning

Business planning can never be robust without people planning. Workplaces today, are going through a demographic and psychographic shift. With more than three generations of people working within the same system, it is imperative that the HR is able to predict the organisations needs across the board to plan for hiring, learning & development, employee growth and most importantly employee retention. . Come New Year, the HR department spends the initial days to set the foundation for a robust yearly strategy for the organisation.

9. Employee engagement

After a tedious year, the entire staff looks forward to some celebration of their efforts. Hence, we often see all off-sites, team outings and end-of-year engagement activities being arranged for the employees in the month of January. And carrying forward the holiday mood and the cooling effects of the winter season, this is also the time for all HRs to start planning for annual events like rewards and recognition programs. It not only gives everyone something to look forward to in the New Year but also works as a psychological boost for employees to perform their best for the rest of the year.

More or less, irrespective of the industry, all HR teams go through this basic list of tasks in January. When these tasks are performed with a business perspective in mind, they enable an organisation to improve profits, productivity and ensures that everyone collectively focuses on growth rather than individually focusing of targets.

Yellow Sparks can help you develop the most productive work environment, tailor made for your business. From the nitty-gritties of HR planning, to guiding your HR teams, we help your organisation reach unimaginable heights. We find any missing links within your HR processes, so you can grow your human capital and step into another year of achievements, successes, and prosperity.


Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.