Posted on December 27, 2012

Tips from a CHRO: Getting Your HR Department Ready for the New Year

By Karen Crone, Chief Human Resources Officer at Paycor

The months of December and January are a great time to take inventory of your HR practices and policies. I think about HR’s preparedness along three dimensions: workforce plans, benefits and compliance and the HR business function. Within each dimension, I ask myself several key questions.

Workforce Plans

* Do we have the quantity and quality of talent to deliver against business plans? If no, what’s our recruiting or talent development plan?
* How effective are we at managing and retaining talent? Where are the hotspots in the organization?
* How current is our onboarding program and does it align with new hire expectations?
* How will we seek associate feedback on their employment, their engagement, and the business in 2013?
* What is the annual calendar for performance management and compensation activities?

Benefits and Compliance

* Have all new benefits, individual 401k increases, and PTO carryover rules been reviewed to ensure accuracy?
**** How have we communicated 2013 company holidays?

  • How have we communicated Flex Spending plan rules for bringing 2012 to a close?
    * How informed are associates on healthcare reform?
    **** How have we notified them of W-2 reporting of medical plan value?
    **** How are we communicating the impact of state exchanges?
    **** Have we capped Flex Spending at $2,500 for 2013?
    * What is our plan for Form 5500 filing? Will we do it or will our broker?
    * What is our plan for compliance with notifications? Examples include Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD), Summary of Material Modification (SMM), and Summary Annual Report (SAR).

HR Business Function

* When will we conduct our annual audit of associate handbook and policies, posters and notices, and associate records (such as I-9s and retention)?
* How did we do against 2012 goals? What’s most important to do in 2013 to further the business? How aligned are we with business leaders?
* What is HR’s budget for 2013 and how will we leverage it to advance business plans?
* What are the 2-3 focus areas for developing HR team members? What would help HR better enable the business?

Sometimes the list of compliance items and organizational needs can be overwhelming. It’s also easy to park housekeeping items at the bottom of the to-do list because of urgencies of the day. It helps me to look ahead and to map out a 2013 calendar. This lets me focus on two or three major deliverables a month, which keeps policies and programs current and the business in compliance. It also helps me delegate to subject matter experts where appropriate.

Paycor’s suite of HR applications, from our feature-rich HR management application to our HR Support Center, can help your HR practice be more successful in the new year. Contact us to learn more.

All the best to you and your business in 2013! I hope it’s a productive and personally rewarding year.


Karen L. Crone, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), joined Paycor in June of 2010. She is responsible for scaling Paycor’s people practices in support of its rapid growth and for reinforcing its strong culture across an evolving geographic footprint. Prior to joining Paycor, Ms. Crone held a variety of HR and operations leadership roles at American Modern Insurance Group, Kendle International, and Convergys. She earned her B.A. in English from Miami University and an M.A. in Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Cincinnati.