By: Amy Matthews, SPHR

It’s that time of year again—the ominous fourth quarter. Year end, open enrollment, holiday parties, bonus calculations, office hours are all over the place, and half your staff is missing. It’s a good time to be in HR!

It is also time to ramp up for next year by making sure your company is compliant. Conducting an annual HR checkup is a great practice to get into.

What should you be looking for? HR departments can cross over into many segments.  For purposes of this article, we will focus on the most common areas: payroll, compliance, risk management (with a little IT for flavor) and administration.


  • Review wages (and, while you’re at it, the FLSA classifications).
  • Compare your competitive advantage in the marketplace by title, salary, and benefit offerings.
  • Holiday bonuses (calculate and issue).
  • Make sure everything is set for the first payroll run for the upcoming year.
  • Request that employees verify their current demographic information (those W2s are coming).
  • Create and/or publish the upcoming year payday schedule.
  • Is your PTO a “use it or lose it” policy? Do unused days carry over? Do you pay out unused PTO? Whatever your policy, now is a good time to get everything up to speed.


  • Were there any new employment laws in the state(s) in which your company operates? If so, make sure your handbook reflects this, along with any updated federal laws.
  • Purge terminated files (when legally applicable). See our retention schedule for guidance.
  • Audit personnel files, I-9, and interview documents for compliance. Purge what you can, being mindful to use a secure method of document destruction/retention.
  • Check your labor law postings; making sure they are up-to-date.

Risk Management

  • Mark your calendar to post the OSHA 300A on January 31 (and remember to take it down on April 30th).
  • Conduct or schedule a facility walk. Check the safety data sheets (SDS); look for areas to improve safety for your workers. TIP: some workers’ compensation insurance carriers offer this service for free. OSHA does as well.
  • Pend your business insurances for renewal pricing/vendor negotiations (if you haven’t already). Invite your broker out and make sure all coverages are up-to-date based on the current state of the business .
  • What’s the state of your IT? Verify backups and server capacities. Meet with your IT team/vendor, if applicable.


  • Are you in charge of the holiday party? Make the reservations, create some guidelines.
  • If your budget starts in January, now is the time for last minute tweaks and reviews.
  • What vendor contracts are you responsible for? It may be time to review/renew.
  • Meet with other department heads and/or ownership. See what’s on the horizon for the upcoming year, so you can align your department accordingly.
  • Purge the files that can be purged. Store, shred or scan your terminated personnel files, DETR cases, interviews, resumes, applications, investigations, workers’ compensation claims, and the like.
  • Partner with your finance department on the paper purge. Most items must be stored, so a group effort can take some of the pain out of it.

We hope you find these tips helpful as the new year looms.  Please contact us with specific questions about any of these items or to schedule a year end/year beginning audit.  We are here to help!