Year-End is Coming: Time to Check Your HR Strategies Twice

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It's b-a-a-ck. And by "it," we mean incessant holiday music. And by "back," we mean it's been playing in continuous rotation since Halloween.

It may only be Thanksgiving. But the return of roasting chestnuts and Rudolph reminds us that we've only got a few short weeks to wrap up HR strategies for '18 before we have to turn our complete attention to the new year ahead.

What should you be checking off your list?

Ho-Ho habits

Want to help employees trim their holiday padding? We suggest flexibility -- and we're not talking yoga. Healthy habits are less about what people are eating than what's eating them. And a big part of what's eating them is conflicts between work and life. So trying to directly affect wellness with wellness benefits may both fail -- and freak people out. As we've said before, it's not just employees who benefit from response strategies: solve the problems that cause employees' pain -- and everybody (including the organization) feels better.

Black Friday

Swans-a-swimming and lords-a-leaping don't come cheap. So the only thing that expands faster than our waistlines this time of year is our credit card bills. And money problems make everybody (including business leaders) sad. "When people are under water, they can't think straight," wrote my colleague Ellen Oliver. "That hangs people up more than health or relationships -- and it's leaving a mark on bottom lines." Avoid the drag on productivity and start thinking about financial wellness benefits before people start paying for the pipers piping.

Go away!

It's fourth quarter 2018 -- do you know where your vacation days are? Many people don't. And the loss of hard-won PTO costs more than umbrella drinks. "Vacation time is crucial for creativity," wrote Bright Horizons' Andrea Wicks Bowles. "It lets your brain rest. Americans who take vacations have higher well-being, lower absenteeism, and fewer workplace accidents." In other words, vacation is a benefit -- not a gift. We need to start treating it that way. This holiday season, remind your people to go away -- and we mean that in the nicest possible way.

Survey says...I quit!

Fun fact: January is the most popular month to quit a job. Not so fun fact: There are 7-million open positions and the lowest unemployment rate in decades. The math adds up to an epic (and expensive) game of musical chairs. Now might be a good time to check in with employees about how they're feeling. We recommend an employee experience survey. Just make sure to ask the hard questions (many surveys don't). You might get some tough words from your people. But better that than the two no employer wants to hear -- "I quit!"

Applying pressure

It's that time again -- college application -- when worries about kids' college dreams can make parents do crazy spending hours (at work!) Googling, "How to write a college essay" or "What the heck's a FAFSA?" "My child's college applications are a full-time job," said one beleaguered mom, "and I already have one!" No wonder education and college advising for kids is becoming one of the hottest benefits among Fortune 500 companies.

Last but not least, remember open enrollment may only come around once, but benefits are 12 months of the year.

Safe travels this holiday. And take heart:  the holiday music won't be around forever.

After January 1, it'll be gone at least until...July.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
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