Making Your (End-of-Year HR) List and Checkin' It Twice

2017 is just a few weeks away! Use this handy checklist to wrap up 2016 to-dos and prepare for a Happy -- and compliant -- New Year.

The end of the calendar year can be a hectic time. While many employees sink into "holiday brain," either taking off work for long periods of time or simply checking out mentally, HR has to tie up loose ends and prepare for the coming year.

It can be difficult to stay focused and balance everything out!

Checklists are an effective way to dot every "i" and cross every "t." While this list is not 100 percent comprehensive, it will give you a place to start and help you focus on what needs to be done, no matter what's happening around the office.


  • Review existing procedures and policies to ensure they are updated and compliant with any new changes in rules, laws and regulations.
  • Conduct an audit of filing systems to ensure security and compliance. Take the time this year to schedule an impartial audit with a third party for next year.
  • Make sure all HR staff understand which documents to retain for 2017 and which to discard, and reinforce the policy for proper disposal.
  • Make sure that critical 2017 reporting and filing deadlines are saved to your calendar and the team calendar.
  • Review regulatory updates coming in 2017 and review them with necessary staff to ensure preparation.
  • Update the employee handbook for compliance.
  • Update OSHA logs.
  • Order updated compliance posters and notifications that will need to be hung by January 1.


  • Verify that all health and retirement plan benefits descriptions and disclosures have been completed and are compliant.
  • Review health benefits for ACA compliance.
  • Review contribution benefits offerings for IRS compliance.
  • Send out a reminder that flexible spending account dollars must be used before the end of the year to avoid forfeiture (if rollover is not an option for your plan).
  • Notify COBRA participants about any rate changes.
  • Schedule time in mid-2017 to start gathering competitive bids for 2018 benefits for:
    • Health insurance
    • Life insurance
    • Disability insurance
    • Supplemental insurance


  • Remind employees that if they have experienced a change in status during the year or have experienced a major life event, their withholding may be impacted. Set aside time to review those changes.
  • Remind employees to update address data, demographic information and emergency information for tax filing purposes.
  • Work with company leaders to make cost-of-living adjustments to salaries.

Need expert salary advice? Call Winston Resources for the insights you need.

  • Schedule and distribute end-of-year bonuses.
  • Schedule year-end paychecks.
  • Order W-2s and 1099s.

HR Housekeeping

  • Review the HR budget for the new year to begin to allocate resources.
  • Print out and distribute 2017 holidays for employees to display at their workspace.
  • Distribute vacation/PTO planners to employees so they can keep track of their time off.
  • Send out a formal reminder that time off requests are first come, first served.
  • Verify that managers have completed their annual performance reviews and submitted any paperwork for employees receiving modifications in pay.
  • Formally request meetings with department heads to review staffing needs for 2017.
  • Work with department heads to update job descriptions.
  • Review vendor contracts and set up renewal details.

The end of the year is a good time to tie up loose ends, but it is also an ideal time to start planning the year ahead. Make a list of all of the initiatives you'd like to focus on and any tasks or projects you'd hoped to accomplish this year, but for whatever reason did not. Plan the steps you need to take to get those off the ground and put them on your calendar for 2017.

As you plan the coming year, think about the ways in which you can ease the strain on you and the rest of the staff. Hiring and staffing can take up a great deal of time and resources. Working with a staffing partner can help alleviate that stress while controlling hiring budgets. Make this the year you make a positive change by choosing an effective staffing partner so you can free up your precious HR resources.

Productivity problems? Turnover issues? Struggling to hire the qualified people you need? Give Winston Resources a call, and we'll cut your 2017 workforce challenges down to size. Schedule your 2017 workforce consultation today.