Here’s to the bright New Year,
and a fond farewell to the old;
here’s to the things that are yet to come,
and to the memories that we hold.”
The New Year is often a time to reflect on the past year and to set resolutions for the coming one. Not only is this a perfect time to work on personal growth, but it is also the perfect time to work on how you manage your relationship with your employees. Here are five considerations as you enter the New Year:
- Dust off your employee handbook and really review it. Do the policies contained within it reflect your employment practices? Does it contain all of the policies you enforce? Is it compliant with the law? Once you have reviewed the handbook, resolve to update it to reflect where your business is at today – you want to be sure it accurately captures the way you manage your business and the policies you do (and do not) actually enforce.
- Reflect upon the employment issues you have encountered in 2015. Engage in this practice honestly and ask yourself the following questions: Was there an issue that kept coming up? What was the root cause? Could the issue have been prevented? If so, how? Once you have identified a significant issue or issues, resolve to address them either through training, discipline, or a change to your policies.
- Are you compliant with the law? Have you recently had a discussion with an employment attorney or human resources professional to evaluate whether you are aware of and following the law with respect to your employment and payroll practices? Do you have the required postings regarding employee rights? West Virginia law can be a trap for the unwary, and some laws present a moving target (NLRA anyone?). Resolve to touch base with an employment law specialist early in the year to protect your business from easily avoidable mistakes.
- Review the continuing education opportunities you have offered your employees and management teams. Have you touched upon topics such as harassment, discrimination, or workplace accommodations over the past year? Have you educated your employees on the reporting requirements if they experience or witness harassment or discrimination or if they need an accommodation due to a medical issue or a religious need? If not, resolve to do so.
- Consider how you communicate with your employees about your expectations and their performance. Ask yourself: do the current job descriptions accurately reflect what your employees actually do? Do employees generally know how they are doing from a performance standpoint (whether good or bad)? Are they being honestly evaluated (or are managers just going through the motions)? Resolve to do better communicating with your employees in these areas.
Cheers to the New Year!