It is fall. And that means kids are beginning a new school year and it’s (sadly) time to get ready for winter. While I have not been in school for many years, every year at this time I get a little nostalgic about the possibilities and optimism that is associated with starting a new school year: new experiences and classes, new teachers, and the opportunity to learn new things. I browse the Adult Education brochures that come in the mail to see if there are any courses that might spark a new interest or provide me with the knowledge that would allow me to enhance my skills. And as I prepare my house and wardrobe for winter and the new year, I tend to reflect on the past year – what did I accomplish? Where do I want to be next year when I take time to reflect again? And how can I get there?
I like to think of this time of year as my fall checkup. For me, it is a time of reflection and new beginnings. I have to say that the excitement I feel in the fall about the possibilities of starting something new brings a renewed energy to my passion for HR. As I am thinking about my own personal and professional goals related to my career in Human Resources, I cannot help but wonder if others might be thinking the same way.
I may not be the only one that is taking time for reflection and review at this time year, as many of my clients have recently reached out asking for assistance with review of their HR policies. The need for a review of policies and procedures may stem from varied reasons: recurring issues for which a policy does not exist or perhaps outdated policies are hindering the growth and advancement that both employees and businesses are looking for. Whatever the reason, it may be the perfect time to think about reviewing, renewing, tossing old policies or introducing new policies.
You may want to take time to think about the HR policies and procedures that your organization has in place now. Are procedures still relevant? Have policies become obsolete and no longer followed? What problems or issues have come up over the past year that were maybe not addressed in the most efficient way because there was no policy in place?
- In the past year, new legislation has been introduced that requires companies to have thorough harassment, violence and bullying policies in place. Employees need to be trained on these issues and they need to know how their rights as an individual as well as the need to know how their organization will handle complaints or concerns.
- The job market makes it difficult to find the right talent to fill key roles. Education and training programs may be the answer to enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of current employees so they can take on new duties or jobs.
- Taking time away from work to relax can be a key factor in workplace success and a work-life balance. Does your organization’s vacation policy provide employees with the right amount of time off, yet allow the business to operate during vacation absences?
- There are ever increasing concerns about individual privacy rights and basic human rights when it comes to Information Technology related policies or pre-employment testing procedures. Reviewing these policies for compliance should be an on-going process.
- Many companies conduct employee performance reviews in the fall to assess the successes and failures of the past year and help plan or budget for the new year. A fall checkup of your performance management program could help align business initiatives with salary budgets, career advancement and talent management.
Your PEO Human Resources representative is available to assist you with review of your existing policies, provide you with information on current legislation or give assistance with policy development. It’s back-to-school time for your children and as they are learning and experiencing new things, it might just be the right time to bring a sense of newness to your HR policies.
Carolyn Olson / HR Administrator / PEO Canada