Why Your HR Policies Need an Annual Checkup

When it comes to routine “life” maintenance there are some things you are probably disciplined in keeping up-to-date on:

  • Oil change every 5,000 miles? Check.
  • Dental cleaning every six months? Check.
  • Flossing once a day? (Okay, we’ll skip that one.)
  • Replace your smoke detector batteries at Daylight Savings Time? Check.
  • Review and update your HR policies annually? Umm…are those crickets I hear chirping?

Let’s face it, often your HR policies are collecting metaphorical dust. You wrote them with the best of intentions, but then you only pull them out when there’s a question or a problem.

And truthfully the policies that served you and your fledgling business three years ago likely don’t serve your needs today.

Unfortunately you won’t get a nifty postcard with the HR equivalent of a smiling tooth to remind you to review your policies. And there’s no windshield sticker to nag you unless you make it yourself. But reviewing and updating HR policies is critical to ensuring your business runs efficiently, effectively, and without any legal hiccups.

Here are the top reasons you should “look under the hood” of your HR policies at least annually:

  1. They’re outdated. Maybe you have doubled the size of your staff. Maybe you don’t have a social media policy. Maybe you were handed down the policies from your predecessor, when she left seven years ago. As your business grows and the culture changes, your policies should also evolve.
  2. They’re inefficient. If you’re using payroll software, it’s possible that your policies around PTO or shift differentials are not compatible with your payroll program. This means you have to track things manually (which defeats the purpose of automation!) Manual tracking always exposes you to increased risk.
  3. They’re noncompliant. Federal, state, and local employee laws change daily. Do your policies reflect those changes? While there’s not a single source for keeping current on employment laws and regulation, members of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Center for Workplace Compliance are focused on staying current  on legislative updates and their websites offer a wealth of information on state-by-state employment regulations.
  4. They’re not employee-friendly. Requiring employees to work back-to-back days around the holidays or bringing in a death notice to prove their favorite uncle died isn’t good for employee morale. Not to mention if you think your employee is abusing your bereavement policy there are bigger issues going on that a policy won’t address.
  5. They’re irrelevant or unenforced. If you’re not enforcing your policies or you’re not enforcing them evenly, it’s probably time to trim some fat. When it comes to HR policies, bigger doesn’t always mean better.

Now that you’ve updated your policies (insert “virtual fist bump” here), don’t forget to communicate these changes to your team. This saves you both headaches and potentially unpleasant surprises for your employees. (Not to mention you get to be the hero when they learn you’re now giving them the Friday after Thanksgiving off!)

When we meet with new clients we like to assess your current policies around benefits that impact your payroll and HCM processes such as PTO accrual, holidays, and overtime. Our goal is to not just offer tools, but help you get the the most mileage out of your investment. Let’s set up a time to talk about how we can help your business thrive, not just survive.