Fall is totally my favorite season. The cooler weather has made me realize that summer is finally over and I'm generally happy about settling back into a normal work routine at the office.October is absolutely my favorite month of the year. Besides the pumpkin lattes and baked goods, there are so many things I love about this month. Boots, skinny jeans, cardigans...oh wait we're talking about human resources here. I digress.
Fall is also my catch up time at the office. Honestly, there are just some things I can't get done during the summer. Either because employees are in and out on vacations or I'd rather just be out at the beach. So October is the perfect month to really focus in and get some things done. There are specifically three things that I like to accomplish in October. I find that crossing these things off my to-do list just makes the fourth quarter a little easier for me. October is really the calm before the storm. Up next is the frenzy of the holiday season, so having a productive fall, is just a smart idea.
I'm going to share the three things that are on my October to-do list with you in three blog posts. Each task deserves a solo post because really, they are more of tutorials where I share all the details about how I go about getting them. In each post, you will find helpful step-by-step instructions and templates. So, grab us a couple of pumpkin lattes (no whip for me) and let's get to work.
A TUTORIAL FOR CONDUCTING AN EMPLOYEE INFORMATION UPDATE
People move. People change phone numbers and abandon email addresses. Their life situations may change so that means their emergency contact information may also change. Employees don't always let us know when these things happen. As employers, we have a real interest in needing to be able to contact employees. So it is a good idea to make sure that we proactively update our records. It is very inconvenient to attempt to contact an employee only to find that none of their contact information is current. Let's not have that happen. And don't forget about termed employees that were employed during the current tax year. We will have to mail W-2's to those employees, so we include them in our update project as well. Of course, those employees will only need to update their contact information.
Here's why to do it: In a few short months we will be mailing W-2's out to current and past employees. Updating information prior to that mailing will decrease the number of forms that are returned. October is the best time to request and update employee contact information. You will have plenty of time to collect the updates and update to your files. Another good reason is that maintaining current emergency contacts for your employees is critical. In the event of an accident employees will expect for you to reach out to a loved one. Also, updating emergency contacts is not something that most employees think about after completing their new hire documents, so we as employers have to proactively request that this information be reviewed and updated.
Plan For It: A Suggested Project Schedule
Updating employee contact information is a task that can be completed successfully with a little planning. Here's how I go about it:
Prep Work: Set up your schedule
Your time commitment will vary depending on the number of employees in your business. In general you can plan for a schedule similar to this:
Set-up: 1- 2 Days
Give yourself two days for set-up. During this time you will want to:
Note, you will only send terminated employees the employee address change form.
Completion and Submission: 1 Week
This is the time that your employees will complete their documents. I usually provide my employees one week to complete and submit their forms. You can decide on a different time frame if that suite your business better.
Your workload here is pretty light so enjoy the down time. Or you could do something productive but the choice is yours, no pressure. But a few things that you should strongly consider doing during this stage are:
Helpful Organization Tools to Consider
Data Entry and Filing: 1 Week
Set a goal of one day to one week for data entry. The time spent on data entry will of course vary by the number of employees and the type of system used to store employee information. Typically this takes me about one week to complete. I determine a number of updates that I want to make each day for a week and get to work. Processed forms will also need to be filed in the employee's file so account for a little extra time for this final task.
Get It Done: These are the Exact Steps That I Follow
1. Create two spreadsheets. The first spreadsheet should have termed employees. The second spreadsheet should be for active employees.If you have an HRIS (human resources information system) you may be able to run a report of active and termed employees. You will only need termed employees who will receive a W2 because they worked for you during the current year. There is a template you can use in the resources section of this post.
2. Let your team know what's going. It may be helpful to give your employees a heads up that you are conducting an update of their contact information. If you choose to do this step, include the date that the update forms will be distributed and the date the forms are due. It is also a good idea to give them some background as to why you are requesting this information. In the "resources" section towards the end of this post, there is a template you can use for either an email, letter or flyer.
3. Get your collection form together. You will want a form that has space for the employee to write in their address, phone number and email address. To save you some time, and who doesn't want that, you can download and print an Employee Address Change Form here. Literally just download, print and give it to your employees. Easy breezy.
HEY....You can skip this entire step by downloading the ready to use EMPLOYEE CONTACT INFORMATION CHANGE FORM and EMERGENCY CONTACT FORM. Both forms conveniently have all the information you want to collect during this process. And did I mention you can just print it and hand it out? GET THE FORMS HERE.
4. Distribute the collection form. So you've downloaded the Employee Address Change Form and you're ready to give it out. A great way to do this for active employees, if it can be timed right is to give the forms out with paychecks or pay stubs. If your employees have a company email address, sending by email is also a good method. Otherwise, handing them out in person or distributing them to supervisors to hand out will work just fine as well. For termed employees, I recommend sending an electronic copy of the form by email using the last address that was on file.
5. Remind them. About half way through your submission window, send out a reminder to employees that their forms are due and the date. You can also post a flyer in a visible area if employees do not have company email. Also, just talking about the update process when you see employees is helpful to keep turning the form in on their mind.
6. Collect + Track. Part of this step is really easy. Just sit back and collect the forms. As they come in, check off the employees who have given you their updates. There spreadsheets that we made, or that you downloaded in step one are used for this tracking process.
7. Remind the defectors: By remind, I mean nicely harass. It has to be done. There will always be one or two employees that will just forget. You can remind by phone, email, or written notice. A template is included in the resources section for you to use. However, I like to remind them in person and stand there until they fill out the update form. I find that it is a very effective method, but hey your choice.
8. Update your records + file: Now that you have all of your data, the fun part begins. This step is simply updating your HRIS, spreadsheet or the method that you use to store employee contact information. After all records have been updated, you will want to file the forms in the employee files for future reference.
Resources (You'll get through this task super quick if you use these, and they are free and right here so.....)
Here are some resources that you can use for this task. These resources will save you some time. Each link will open a Google Doc. You can choose to download the templates as a Word document if you prefer.
TIME OFF REQUEST FORM
NEW HIRE CHECKLIST
INTERVIEW PLANNING WORKBOOK