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Closing Out the Year

By December 12, 2016December 16th, 2022Benefits

As you’re wrapping up the year, I’m sure you’re making your end-of-year to-do list and checking it twice. There are numerous HR tasks to manage and strategies to consider at the year’s end. Affordable Care Act compliance and reporting, preparation for compliance with new state or federal regulations, succession planning and compensation strategies are just a handful of items on the larger list of year-end activities. It can certainly be overwhelming, but the more organized you are, the less stressful you’ll find wrapping up 2016. And, don’t worry if you won’t get it all done by December 31 – there are many items that can be tackled at the start of the new year.

Let’s put year-end tasks in five buckets to try and simplify things – Benefits, Payroll, Compliance, Hiring and General HR:


  • Prepare for ACA compliance responsibilities
  • Examine benefits package
  • Finalize employee open enrollment details
  • Verify employee dependent coverage
  • Ensure proper end-of-year PTO carryover in the system or pay employees out for PTO, depending on your policy


  • Review company-wide salaries
  • Prepare for the first payroll run of the new year
  • Confirm new year payroll schedule
  • Order W-2s and 1099s
  • Review employee wage, tax and withholding information (such as W-4s)


  • Ensure employee classification compliance
  • Update employee handbook
  • Audit personnel files for compliance
  • Verify that correct labor laws are properly posted
  • Update OSHA logs
  • Distribute annual notices to employees, e.g. ERISA
  • Ensure that anti-harassment training is completed
  • Move terminated personnel files to storage


  • Review hiring processes
  • Have departments check staffing needs to plan for new hires
  • Create and update succession plans
  • Update job descriptions

General HR

  • Review HR budget for the new year to begin to allocate resources
  • Perform annual performance reviews
  • Make departmental New Year’s resolutions/set goals
  • Review and update company policies
  • Remind employees to update information (addresses, tax documents, etc.)
  • Review vendor contracts and set up renewal details
  • Back up any necessary HR data and personnel files
  • Clean and organize personal workspaces
  • Create and distribute vacation calendar for new year

Which of these items are priorities for you this month? Which you will you put on your list to start 2017?

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