An End of Year Checklist for HR Professionals

As we enter the last month of the year, we are all buoyed by the sights and sounds that are part and parcel of the Holiday Season where in general society puts on its best face and there is a sense of wonder and excitement in the air. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

If you’re a member of the Human Resources family that refrain might be more like; It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year? You are involved in open-enrollment, performance management, merit increases and a plethora of areas that encompass a wide range of compensation, benefits and taxation issues, all of which seem like they need to be done NOW!

This time of the year presents us with some significant opportunities to close the calendar year on a high note and begin to put those processes in place that will ensure the New Year starts on a positive note. So what are the things we need to focus on now that will ensure a successful wrap-up to 2018 and a positive kick off to 2019?

  1. Verify employee compensation:In HR there is one area that we can never get wrong and that is compensation. So as we wrap-up the year we must ensure we accurately verify employee compensation.
  2. Report benefits enrollment:An outgrowth of the above deals with reporting benefits enrollment to your insurance carriers including health and retirement plans. As our employee population continues to age, we must continue to be abreast of the changes in the laws that impact these areas.
  3. Communicate changes to benefits:One change for 2019 is flexible spending account caps. This has risen to $2,700, so we must ensure this is accurately communicated to our employees, as well as any other changes to benefits.
  4. Update beneficiary information:One of the most overlooked end of year activities is updating beneficiary information. This is vital, especially when an employee is traveling for the company on a routine basis. Take the time at the end of the year to ensure you have updated emergency and beneficiary contact information for all your employees.

When you look at the basics I’ve identified above (and there are many more!), you will notice these are all things HR does for others, but what about us? HR can never forget that we need to take care of ourselves and not always be the cobbler’s children who have no shoes. Here are a few things HR can do to help usrecharge as we enter the New Year.

  1. Celebrate success: Get out of the office and celebrate your successes. While many departments consider this a rite of passage, many HR teams routinely overlook this area
  2. Identify professional development opportunities: Look for events and courses that expand your knowledge base in areas that impact the organization, such as employee engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion and emotional intelligence to name a few.
  3. Understand the business:Become better engaged with technology and work to improve your communication skills. I look at these two areas along with knowing more about the business as essential to providing HR with a chance to be more impactful in the organization and ensuring us not just a seat at the table, but a prominent voice at that table as well.

Author Bio:

Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR is the Vice-President of Human resources for the American Osteopathic Association and also the Founder and Principal of the mpr group ( a Human Resources and Management Professional Services Firm he has operated for 25 years. In addition he is the author of the book and workbook; BRAND: YOU Personal Branding for Success in Life and Business and a much sought after speaker and presenter on myriad topics. You can follow him on Twitter: @jerhodes42 and you can contact him at

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