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Stuff happens! Often, human resources professionals encounter the unexpected. When employees bring surprises, priorities get rearranged, if not completely usurped. Still, having a plan helps everything stay on target and go much more smoothly. The new year is the perfect time to anticipate and plan, making all the difference in what gets accomplished. Here are a few ideas on getting started:

Know your organization. Understand the overall business goals and objectives. Identify how the human resources department can contribute and obtain top management support. Create a human resources strategic plan that supports the organization, its goals and mission.

Stay on top of deadlines. Whether month-by-month or week-by-week, develop a calendar or other means to track tasks for legal compliance and other deadlines that predictably occur. Overlay this framework with the additional HR projects you need to accomplish.

Update your employee handbook. Take into account changes in state and federal law as well as the National Labor Relations Board stance that social media policies not constrict employees' right to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment. Check for clear, concise wording and readability. Make sure policies are consistent with one another.

Revise job descriptions. Job duties change and job descriptions need regular updating. Make sure they are clear and accurate and convey the essential functions of the job. Well-written job descriptions provide a road map to employees, serve as a foundation for performance evaluations, and justify exempt vs. non-exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Use wording that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (HR Made Simple subscribers may access HRSentry's Job Description Tool to quickly create ADA-compliant job descriptions.)

Train managers and supervisors. Your need to depend on these folks on the front lines to properly implement your policies and procedures and state and federal employment and non-discrimination laws. Help them understand their role in claim prevention, especially in areas such as sexual harassment and retaliation. Teach the importance of proper documentation and let them know that HR serves as an internal consultant to help prevent and solve HR-related problems.

Target problem areas. Do you have high, unplanned turnover? Is FMLA abuse or absenteeism a problem? Are independent contractors vs. employees classified properly? Are you paying overtime lawfully? Are work-related injuries too numerous? Every organization has areas to improve. Identify the two or three most pressing issues and make this the year to solve them!

Need more in-depth help? Expect the unexpected and plan for what you can! HR Made Simple subscribers have all the resources and tools they need at their fingertips 24/7.

Enjoy a stellar 2016!

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