Turning Year-End Stress Into Year-End Success

I’ve worked in the human capital management (HCM) industry for more than 30 years, and it never ceases to amaze me how companies underestimate the effort required for year-end tasks. Many companies attempt to complete year-end tasks along with daily tasks using the same amount of resources, a sure way to push existing employees to their breaking point and increasing burnout. 

Burnout is a serious and growing concern for employers.  A 2018 Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. It means about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job. The last thing employers want to do is add to the overwhelming stress employees already experience at year-end. That’s why many employees increasingly turn to qualified HCM consultants to ease the burden. 

Whether a consultant engages directly with you or through the vendor’s Professional Services team, they can take as much – or as little – of the burden off you by performing an exhaustive range of services. Among them are:

  • Reporting all additional earnings needed on W-2’s (e.g. annual calculation for personal use of company vehicles, imputed earnings).
  • Verifying a methodology exists for creating W-2c’s, if needed, including a structure of reporting those to the vendor.
  • Scheduling year-end bonus and /or adjustment payrolls.
  • Reviewing the 2020 processing schedule and notifying the vendor of changes.
  • Creating annual payroll calendars – keep track of time files due dates, holidays, interface schedules, etc.
  • Reviewing reports to ensure all employee information is verified.
  • Reviewing preliminary Wage & Tax Registers for possible issues.
  • Validating all tax jurisdictions and IDs from the vendor’s Quarterly Tax Verification documents.
  • Validating all SUI Rates from the vendor’s Quarterly Tax Verification letter (QVL).
  • Processing the SSN Validation File for valid SSN’s and names.
  • Identifying documents for annual retention/destruction.
  • Providing interim payroll and HR resources if you have an influx of seasonal hires and terminations.
  • Formatting Affordable Care Act (ACA) data from your HCM system into the format of your selected broker and creating report files to be transmitted at select scheduled times (monthly, quarterly annually).

Be sure to find a qualified HCM consultant who can also assist you with implementations, upgrades, reports, process workflow and procedure documentation, training, data and history conversions (especially if you are changing HCM systems), interfaces, and interim payroll management / processing.

You may wonder how an outside consultant will be perceived by your employees. In my own experience, I typically observe an uptick in worker satisfaction from staff workers who value the exposure to and collaboration with the industry’s leading consultants, a tremendous benefit that is rarely acknowledged or measured. 

There’s no reason to let the stress of year-end tasks get the best of you.  It’s much easier than you think when you follow these three simple steps to ensure a smooth year-end process:

  1. Confirm and document all year-end tasks that need to be completed.
  2. Determine whether you have sufficient resources to handle critical year-end tasks alongside daily job tasks.
  3. Contact a qualified HCM consultant for staff augmentation or year-end project management assistance.

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