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by by Eileen M. Levitt, SPHR | March 10, 2009


I recently cleaned out my closet and discovered an outfit that I last wore to my 10 year reunion. Let's just say that my 20th has come and gone, so finding that outfit was a surprise. It then occurred to me, "what can an organization carry in their human resources area, that hasn't been looked at in over 10 years?"

For Example:

Human Resources - Are you still referring to it as personnel? Personnel, which was administrative and clerical, has evolved into human resources, which is more strategic and focused on an organization's mission.

Recruiting - Not using the Internet? More and more applicants are using the Internet to search for jobs and fewer and fewer are looking in papers. In addition, over the past few years, online communities like Craig's List and Linked In are filling more and more jobs.

Employee Handbooks - Almost every major labor law has had some revision over the past 10 years, and a great number within the past three. In addition, like clothing styles, organizations change, they grow, they shrink and sometimes they change business directions. So what was appropriate a few years ago may not be now.

Your Employees - When was the last time you asked them what they thought? Are they happy? How do you know? Several surveys have been recently released stating that as many as two-thirds of employees may be passively or actively looking for a job.

Benefits - Do you have a flexible spending account, retirement plan (401(k), Simple, Roth and more). Are your benefits competitive? Do they meet the needs of your employees? When was the last time you put your plans out for a competitive bid to see what else is out there?

Compensation - Are your employees fairly compensated? Do you compare your compensation to other organizations?

Training - Do you train your employees on a regular basis to keep them fresh in your industry? Do you provide training that helps grow your employees as individuals and organizational contributors?

Performance - Is your review a form or a process? When was your process last reviewed? Studies have shown that regular and effective feedback is essential to an employee's success. Yet, many organizations simply wait until an employee review to provide that feedback and even then, the feedback isn't necessarily valuable.

Employee and Benefit Files - Do they comply with HIPAA? Are you following your retention policy? Do you have a retention policy? Many times, organizations keep information too long and some don't keep it around long enough. Neither is good.

Eileen Levitt, SPHR is president of The HR Team, Inc. in Columbia, Md. She can be reached at (410) 381-9700 or Keep up with human resources trends and issues, subscribe to The Team Player, The HR Team's free monthly newsletter. Just click the link to send a subscription email:


Filed Under: Workplace Issues