4 human resources mistakes to avoid making in Q4

It happened fast, but the fourth quarter of 2017 is finally here. It's commonly a season of rushing to finish last-minute tasks and making sure business can continue running smoothly amid employee vacations and holiday parties. But the fourth quarter is also a critical time for companies during which they can finish the year strong and prepare themselves for success in January, and human resources professionals have a big influence on how these final three months go. 

To help ensure your company closes out the year with smiles and cheers and not stress and frustration, here are four HR mistakes you should avoid making in the fourth quarter:

1. Not honoring work-life balance 
When deadlines are nearing, sales departments are trying to hit their quotas and clients are determining their budgets for the following year, it can be easy to have the office environment slide into becoming one where everyone stays late and is frantically answering emails around the clock. However, maintaining a healthy work-life balance during the further quarter is critical to keeping employee productivity, morale and engagement high. No one's going to put in their best work if they feel burned out or crushed by unreasonable demands. 

work from homeAllowing employees to work from home more often can support a healthier work-life balance during the fourth quarter. 

HR professionals should communicate to employees the importance of protecting a healthy work-life balance during the fourth quarter, especially around the holidays. They can do this by working with managers to see how certain projects can be broken into smaller pieces or divvied up among a greater number of employees to avoid overtime. Glassdoor also recommends that HR managers prioritize "must-do" items over "would like to do" items as the end of the year approaches. Letting employees work from home allows them to maintain healthy work-life balances while also completing their assigned tasks. 

2. Focusing only on Q4 goals 
No question there's a lot to get done in the fourth quarter, but if HR professionals are only thinking about what's on their plate for these three months, they're setting their company up for difficult times in January. Instead of being able to hit the ground running on new goals for the year, they'll be behind trying to brainstorm ideas on a blank slate. HR employees have the valuable opportunity in the fourth quarter to review the company's performance over the past year and use this insight to set strategic priorities for the next 12 months. Developing a clear vision – or at least the framework of one – of HR goals for the new year will improve productivity down the road. 

3. Having their data in separate systems 
Tax data, compliance information, bonuses and performance reviews – there's much to keep track of in the fourth quarter. HR professionals are going to have a difficult time tackling their to-do lists if their data is siloed into separate HR technology systems. Integrating HR areas – payroll, benefits, talent acquisition and more – into one platform not only streamlines workflows and improves efficiencies, but also enables more detailed, data-driven strategic insights. 

"HR professionals are going to have a difficult time tackling their to-do lists if their data is siloed."

4. Not checking if there are any benefits changes 
Though you may have recently gone through the open enrollment process at your company, there's no guarantee that the details of the plans will stay the same into the new year. As Employee Benefit Adviser noted, tweaks are often made at the start of a new year, including in copays and premiums. It's important that HR professionals confirm if any changes have or will take place come the new year, and that they communicate these concerns with their brokers in the fourth quarter. 

The fourth quarter isn't just a time to tie up loose ends, but a valuable, once-a-year opportunity to learn lessons from the past and set forward on a path to success. With the integrated PeopleStrategy eHCM®, HR professionals can stay on top of their fourth quarter tasks and craft a strategic vision for the future.