2016 HR Goals Need To Be Set Before Year End

As the end of the year approaches, business leaders are busy hitting those last few annual and Q4 goals. As if the end of a quarter weren’t enough to think about, leaders also are trying to set goals for 2016 and formulate plans to achieve them.

According to Mark Sinatra, the CEO of Staff One, “when you’re in charge of the course your business takes, it’s important to devote time to big picture ideas that will propel your company forward, not get bogged down with compliance issues and human resources headaches.”

However, non-compliance can become a costly problem, so the best solution is to achieve compliance the right way, as fast as possible. As the end of 2015 approaches, answering these four questions can ensure that your company is setting itself up for a successful new year and give you the freedom to focus on what really matters.

Are you confident your business is compliant with all regulations? Changing healthcare directives have overhauled traditional HR systems and left plenty of employers puzzled about their responsibilities. Depending on the size and status of their business, employers may have more responsibilities to take on. Ensuring absolute compliance is crucial, yet trying to navigate a changing landscape of codes and directives isn’t easy, even for HR pros. Because the HR world has become so complicated, many firms now specialize exclusively in compliance and administration, which delivers the benefit of expertise without the cost of a full-time, in-house HR resource. If you’re not absolutely sure that your business is compliant, it’s time to invest in a partner who can help sort everything out.

Have you reviewed future compliance regulations for next year? Many newly updated compliance regulations have taken effect on a rolling schedule, giving businesses extra time to adjust as deadlines were extended. However, professionals predict that 2016 will be a major year for penalties as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) bumps up requirements for reporting, disclosure, and notification standards. According to a survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Planspublished in May 2015, 33 percent of employers expect the greatest cost increase from ACA implementation to occur in 2016. The costs of ACA compliance are making plenty of businesses adjust their processes, but the cost of non-compliance soon will incur significant penalties. It’s important for every employer to fully understand the company’s specific responsibilities to avoid extra costs.

Are your human resources processes running as smoothly as possible? When a business starts small, processes grow over time to accommodate new employees and greater HR demands. Such incremental increases, however, can lead to systems that may not be ideally efficient for the company’s evolved needs. If current processes aren’t functioning as well as they should, money likely is being wasted and employees are frustrated. To get a true feel for your business’s HR health, conduct a survey asking employees to anonymously rank each part of their HR experience at your company. Tallying the satisfaction numbers will help you see what’s working well and which processes may require anything from a tweak to an overhaul.

Should your company consider human resources outsourcing? Enlisting an outside HR partner to help assess your strengths and liabilities can save your business major headaches. HR has become outrageously complex in the last decade, and new healthcare initiatives and rules have only muddied the water further. If your business hasn’t had a recent HR assessment from an outside firm, finding a trustworthy human resources consultant should be a priority. A good HR partner will help you accurately assess your systems and costs, as well as suggest more streamlined, cost-effective solutions. They can also point out areas of liability to help protect your business before potential exposure to costly lawsuits that might damage your reputation. Many outsourced HR firms now specialize in a full suite of solutions that handle everything from payroll to benefits, risk, compliance, and total human resources support. Because the HR realm is complicated but necessary, most companies of all sizes are starting to use firms to handle their needs.

As you prepare to wrap up 2015 and begin looking forward to 2016, it’s smart to take stock of your company’s HR health and forecast goals for the New Year. Reviewing current compliance, preparing for updated regulations in 2016, and assessing processes overall will put your business in a better place for a successful new year with fewer unnecessary costs.

Mark Sinatra is the CEO of Staff One, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that was founded more than 27 years ago.