A No-Fail Plan For Crushing Your HR Goals This Year

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A new year always feels like a fresh start. That's why so many people set lofty goals for their personal and professional lives. Without a plan, though, the best intentions quickly get lost in the daily grind of meetings and to-do lists.

The best way to make sure you meet your 2016 goals? Write down your plan "“ and then let others know about it. This is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg did. At the start of the new year, the Facebook CEO wrote a post announcing his New Year's resolution to run a mile a day in 2016.

We've written down the key factors our internal HR gurus and many independent prognosticators believe will add up to HR success in 2016. Use it as a head start to creating your own written success plan.

1. Master Legal And Compliance Changes

From minimum wage increases to ban-the-box laws, changes at the local, state and federal level have a big impact on HR policies and programs. Stay on top of changes in these key areas, as well as any local laws relevant to your business:

Minimum wage increases. In 2016, state minimum wages will increase in 17 states. The current Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but many states have are increasing the minimum wage to a higher rate.

The Affordable Care Act. Chief among the changes ACA is undergoing in 2016 is the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision. This rule requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees (or part-time equivalents) to provide affordable health insurance options to at least 95% of their full-time employees and dependents up to the age of 26 or to pay a fee to the IRS.

New classification for non-exempt employees. In 2016, more workers will likely qualify for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. That's because the Department of Labor will be issuing its final rule altering exemptions to overtime pay. The agency proposes to raise the salary threshold for exemption to the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers (to $921/week, $47,892 annually).

Your Plan:

One of the best ways to keep up with notable changes in employment law is to sign up for newsletters and alerts from organizations that track these issues. Examples include the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which also offers state-specific editions, and HR.com, Recruiter, and HR.BLR.com.

For more information on specific changes, check out these sites:

  • The EEOC: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides information on laws concerning job discrimination, prohibiting HR managers from hiring, firing, or paying employees based on race, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • The Department of Labor: The Department of Labor enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to assure that individuals are paid a minimum living wage and overtime payment.
  • Gender-pay differences: The EEOC also enforces the Equal Pay Act to ensure that employees can't pay female employees less than male employees for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility.

2. Get Ahead Of Technology Trends

Technology is rapidly transforming into the HR sphere. At the beginning of 2015, 57% of HR professionals said they intended to purchase HR technology within the year. With more solutions on the horizon, it makes sense to stay on top of technology developments. Commit to thinking through the implications of the following HR tech trends.

Datafication of HR. Big data represents a huge opportunity for recruiting, hiring, and retention. Predictive analytics provide insight into the drivers of performance and retention, the best types of candidates to hire, and how pay correlates to performance. Few companies use data this way today, but research shows a 30% higher return when they do. Check out the many ways you can datify HR functions.

Emerging technologies. Staying up to date with emerging technologies helps you work more efficiently. Consider new HR solutions that are optimized for social recruiting and interactions via mobile devices.

It can also help you get ahead of recruiting requirements. For example, as once-obscure technologies such as blockchain gain acceptance, companies may scramble to find the talent they need to implement it.

Spend some time learning about blockchain or other technologies that are likely to be needed at your company can give you the edge when you're ready to recruit.

Your Plan:

The HR Technology Conference, held annually in October, is a great place to learn more about emerging HR trends and new technologies that can help you optimize your HR programs. Steve Boese, conference chair and a technology editor at LRP Publications writes a blog that's a vendor-neutral place to find information on new technologies.

Technology will influence many companies' talent needs. Understanding the skills required to recruit for these emerging technologies gives you an important edge. Newsletters from publications such as WIRED and TechCrunch provide in-depth coverage of current and future tech trends.

3. Anticipate Employee Needs

Lead with your expertise, but remember to ask employees how you can help them find success.

Catch up with colleagues. Spend time with employees and colleagues. You'll identify opportunities to serve people who may need guidance or an advocate. Getting to know your coworkers better helps you approach your role with empathy, kindness, and transparency. Based on long term studies, socializing keeps employees healthy and reduces the risk of mortality.

Additionally, communicating with new hires gets people up to speed quicker in their new role. According to a College of Education at The University of Illinois study, new hires learn 65% of what they need to know on the job from employees versus 15% from interacting with their managers.

Focus on creating a social culture, a culture where interaction is forefront.

H-1B visa assistance. H-1B Visas are incredibly difficult to get. If you know that your employees or candidates need to apply for them, make sure to be aware of the appropriate deadlines and processes.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts H-1B petitions every April 1. Visas are granted to 65,000 professionals in highly specialized fields (science, engineering, and computer programming) each year. This program was initiated to help American companies hire foreign workers with exceptional skills to fill open jobs and help their businesses grow.

Your plan:

Make employees a top priority. Setting up a mentoring program or encouraging employees to go on buddy walks ensures that employees get support from people who aren't their managers. Organizing social engagements, such as happy hours or game nights make employees feel more relaxed and connected to the company.

If you hire or are looking to hire specialized talent in 2017, stay on top of the application process this year. Be aware of dates and deadlines that will affect your employees. Mark your calendars and set alerts to check in on relevant information and legal changes.

4. Advance Your Own Career

Remember to advocate for your own growth this year. Preserving mental health by sleeping more, exercising regularly, and focusing on wellness will help you hit the ground running in 2016. Keep an eye out, too, for opportunities to update the skills that contribute to your career goals.

Time management techniques. Change your focus from reacting to email chains to tackling projects. Using a project management tool such as Asana lets you define what you need to accomplish each day and track your progress.

Earn your PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, or SHRM-SCP certification. The HR profession is constantly changing and evolving. Certification and training keep you up to date on HR competencies and knowledge.

Your plan:

Write down what you want to accomplish for yourself. As an HR professional your job is to help others, but don't overlook your personal goals. Write down goals that you can achieve, and craft a plan to meet them. Then, share that plan with others to keep you accountable.


What goals are you setting in 2016? Share your goals with us @goodhiretweets #BuildGreatTeams 


Lauren Small

Lauren Small


Lauren Small is a content and social media expert who writes about hiring, onboarding, and HR best practices. Lauren comes by her HR insight honestly, having observed the culture at diverse employers Amazon, HubSpot, and GoodHire’s parent company Inflection.

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