28 Nov

The hustle and bustle of the holidays have major HR implications, too.

It is the end of the year - the most wonderful time of the year, right? Sure, and the time of year when your HR to-do list may surpass your holiday shopping list! Let us review year-end steps and best practices.

Employee Experience 

  • Spot check performance reviews completed this year for quality of feedback, rater consistency, and warning signs of employee engagement challenges.
  • Inventory training needs and development opportunities from reviews, exit interviews, and anecdotal evidence.
  • If your organization does reviews in Q1 or Q2 instead, use this opportunity to make sure that the system meets current business needs, managers are trained, and that key deadlines are met.
  • In-person holiday celebrations are making a comeback. HR should always serve as an ambassador for inclusivity, and it is especially important now. Calling events “Christmas parties” and saying “spouses welcome” are examples of how good intentions might exclude some team members. Also consider the impact that in-person events might have on remote team members and look for ways to include them, as well.
  • Review utilization of reward programs, discount programs, EAP, and other benefits. Can you redirect expenses to areas where there may be higher utilization? Or consider a communication plan to remind employees of their benefits and perks in the coming year.
  • Lead the charge for cascading goals. Determine organizational goals or “rocks” for 2022 and help employees gain the line of sight between how their individual efforts have influence.
  • A new year offers a virtual “reset switch.” If you have been on the fence or ambiguous about policies such as remote work, masks, vaccines, etc., the new year serves as a opportune time to clarify and communicate relevant policies.
  • Take stock of your training and development curriculum. What is missing? How is the format working for your team?

 Payroll & Benefits 

  • Many benefit plan years reset on January 1st so employee premium deductions must be adjusted to reflect cost change, coverage adds/drops, and any wellness or other incentives adjusted.
  • The taxable amount of employer-paid life insurance is often calculated by employee’s age. Review and modify employer-paid life insurance rates for anyone who has changed age-brackets.
  • Update any retirement plan limits, contributions rates, and work with your administrator for true-up calculations.
  • Year-end/holiday bonuses or gifts that were not paid through payroll should be added before the last payroll of the year, so the benefits are appropriately taxed and reflected on W2s.
  • Most organizations adjust wages on January 1st, so pay rates should be adjusted in your payroll and/or HRIS system in time for that first payroll of the new year.
  • Ask employees to update any personal information or address changes which may require a new W4.
  • States like Indiana only allow employees to change county withholding at the start of each calendar year.
  • All employees should verify the accuracy of their mailing address for W2s.
  • Review the federal milage rate for expense reimbursements.
  • Reset PTO and leave balances if those run on the calendar year.


  • Ensure all labor law posters are up to date and displayed for in-person employees and electronically for remote teams.
  • Verify compliance with state minimum wage increases, if applicable.
  • Run year-end payroll reports and begin to prepare for retirement, financial, and workers’ comp audits.
  • Complete any missing fields on OSHA logs and be prepared for mandatory posting requirements Feb-April.
  • Update employee handbooks and other policies that might have changed. Consider having employees acknowledge changes in writing.
  • Research state laws in each state where you employ team members to check for any new legislation this year.

May you, your family, and your teams have a safe and prosperous new year! 

-From the DETS team who is here to serve you now and throughout the coming year