The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and the end of 2022 is in sight. But, far from winding down for any end-of-year festivities, the last few months of the year are often some of HR’s busiest.
Before a business can welcome in the new year, it’ll be down to their diligent HR team to ensure all the company’s key workforce administrative duties are completed: duties such as finalising performance reviews, updating annual leave allowances or analysing the success of their engagement efforts over the year.
In addition, HR teams will also want to prepare the business for the challenges of a new year: be it amendments to important employment laws or setting new training plans and objectives. With 2023 shaping up to be challenging for every business, it certainly pays to plan ahead.
But, with so much to contend with, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. So, to help you navigate one of HR’s busiest periods, we’ve put together a checklist of some of the 6 most crucial end-of-year actions HR professionals must undertake.
Prepare your business for expected changes to employment law in 2023
There are several significant changes expected to take place in 2023. While the practical implementation may be handled by your finance or payroll teams, you will need to be aware of the impact on overall HR budgets so that you can plan accordingly. These include:
Changes to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage
The new rates for the National Minimum Wage and National living Wage were announced in the Government’s Autumn Budget, which was announced on the 17th November. The new rates will both come into force on the 1st April 2023. You can read more about the Autumn Statement in detail here.
Changes to Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay, Adoption Pay, Maternity Allowance, and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay
It’s predicted that new rates may be announced sometime in December this year. They normally come into effect on the first Sunday in April, which in 2023 will be the 2nd April.
Changes to Statutory Sick Pay
December this year may also bring adjustments to the rates of statutory sick pay. Any changes that are announced will come into effect on the 6th April 2023.
In addition to changes to staff pay, it’s worth noting two further changes to employment law which are expected next year. The first is that, for businesses covered by the FCA, there will be new reporting requirements relating to diversity and inclusion. You can read more about it via this link.
Secondly, there’s a big question mark as to whether the British government will hang on to or change the EU employment law before it’s automatically repealed at the end of 2023 – the same goes for the UK GDPR legislation which currently mirrors the EU GDPR legislation. Whilst nothing has been confirmed, it is possible there will be updates on both these issues during 2023, and HR will need to prepare accordingly.
Prepare for gender pay gap reporting
If your business has a headcount of 250 or more, you’ll be required to publish your gender pay gap report both on your website and via the reporting portal at GOV.co.uk. The deadline for private sector employers and voluntary organisations will be the 4th April 2023, with a snapshot date of the 5th April 2022.
While the deadline for reporting is still over five months away, gender pay gap reporting can be quite an involved process for HR teams. To learn more about how to tackle gender pay gap reporting, and how HR software can make the process much easier, why not read our blog on the subject? Just hit this link.
Conduct an information audit to ensure your organisation’s GDPR compliance
As HR professionals are the guardians of employee data, it’s good practice from a GDPR-perspective to regularly audit the information your business keeps on its current employees, job applicants and former employees.
HR often collects huge volumes of personal data over the course of a year – especially if your business has undergone a period of growth or turnover of employees. But, once you no longer need personal data for the purpose for which it was originally collected, data protection legislation says it should be deleted unless you have other grounds for retaining it.
Conducting an audit will help you to identify whether the data you hold meets with GDPR compliance (thus avoiding potential fines), or requires deletion. Better still, GDPR-compliant HR software – such as Cezanne HR – can help organisations maintain their own GDPR conformity throughout a year by automatically flagging up what data needs to be deleted or anonymised based on your data retention policies. You can read more about how in this blog.
Run an end-of-year pulse survey
Although the end of year can be a busy time for HR, it’s a good idea to run a survey with your workforce. This will help you to understand whether they’re happy and up for the challenge for the new year, or just dreading the prospect of work altogether!
A pulse survey is the easiest way to discover how your staff are feeling working for your business. You could ask questions such as:
- On a scale of 0-10 (with 0 being terrible and 10 being excellent), how have you found working for the company this year?
- I’ve regularly received praise or recognition for doing good work (yes/no)
- I would recommend working at the company to others
- I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow over the past year
- I am looking forward to the challenges of the new year
Asking these types of simple questions can help you to pinpoint if there are any potential issues that could be hindering engagement, productivity, retention or advocacy – all key areas HR will need to manage closely in 2023. With the answers you collect, investigate whether there’s more you could be doing to improve the employee experience at your business in 2023 and beyond.
Review your performance management processes
With a predicted recession looming, every business will want to be running as efficiently and productively as possible. So, before the year draws to a close, it’s a good idea to catch up on the status of your company’s performance management processes and evaluate whether they are fit for purpose.
For example, you may want to check:
- Have your employees been having regular performance check-ins with their line managers?
- Have your line managers reviewed employee progress against their development objectives for the year?
- Have your employees been meeting their performance and development objectives for the year? If not, what has been holding them back?
- Have development and performance targets been agreed and set for the year ahead?
Having an effective performance management programme is essential if a business is to survive and thrive in tough economic times. When a business has effective formal and informal performance management processes in place, they will help align its employees, resources, and systems to meet strategic objectives – perfect for when a new year and new challenges roll around.
Review your workforce’s holiday calendars
Lastly, as we approach the end of the year, it’s prudent to review your workforce’s holiday calendars. You may have staff who have yet to use all their annual leave entitlements and would be at risk of losing them – especially if they exceed the amount of permitted days they can roll over into the new year. So, take the time to review your staff’s holiday calendars and inform any employees who may be at risk of losing precious annual leave – they’ll certainly appreciate it!
At the same time, it’s a good idea to check whether all your employee’s annual leave entitlements have been calculated correctly. This will prevent any employees getting any nasty surprises at the end of the year, and help to ensure holiday entitlements will be accurate for the year ahead, too.
HR platforms that include absence management software can make these processes much easier and a lot less time consuming – perfect for busy year ends! For example, Cezanne HR’s Absence Management module can handle even the trickiest absence entitlement calculations, including those for TOIL.