HR 101 – HR Checklists That Keep You Sane

Summarized by Sophia Bell Lavin, Executive Director, Cairncross & Hempelmann

 HR checkmark

On Tuesday, May 15, Patty Peaquin hosted this excellent round table meeting at Keller Rohrback, focusing on checklists that various law firms use to track different HR processes, but also allowing time for general discussion.  As there were roughly 20 people in attendance, there was lively conversation around several different topics.

Patty tee’d us up by collecting several different HR-related checklists from different firms, as well as from SHRM.  Here are a few key concepts and ideas that rose to the surface for me:
There are tools available in Outlook as well as other software that can be used to coordinate when multiple people touch the same checklist.

  • In addition to the usual checklists for onboarding, termination, etc., it would be useful to have a checklist for the death of an employee (including practical and business continuity items, as well as helpful items for the employee’s family) and one to provide to employees preparing for parental leave (how many times have employees forgotten to get back to us about adding their baby to the medical plan?!).
  • If you are a SHRM member, check out their “Recruiting Checklist for quality Hires.”  They have some great tips around recruiting passive job seekers.
  • Checklists can assist in mitigating risk.  Steven Colson of HUB International, one of our PSALA Business Partners, was in attendance at this meeting, and in his words: “Through the creation of a consistent and repeatable checklist the respective firm will be better prepared to address any number of employee issues.  For example, one of the most prevalent areas of claim that we see within the Legal Sector are Employment Practices Liability Claims (wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, etc.).  Should you have in place a checklist affirming that you have addressed all necessary data, you will be much better positioned for the rogue employee who claims they were wronged.  A further step that we would suggest is to date and time stamp the checklists along with requiring the employee to initial.  While this may appear to be excessive, should you find yourself in the midst of a claim, this data may prove invaluable.”
  • Most firms now conduct follow-up onboarding meetings weeks to months after new people join to make sure new employees understand firm culture, are assimilating well, and also have a clear understanding of the firm’s expectations of them.
  • Several firms use their payroll providers’ employee timesheet tools, though whether or not to have staff clock in and out using such a tool is still a hot-button issue for many.
  • Everyone has trouble leaving work at work, but some people have more success doing so if they update their to-do lists at the end of each day and include the top priorities for the next day.
  • Closing one’s door for a while now and then might allow for the time and focus necessary to check a few items off one’s to-do list.
  • Everyone has back-burner projects that become a big deal in their minds, but if you pick one randomly and just get it done, it will be a weight off your shoulders and will probably turn out to be painless!

I’m sure I could go on, but the moral of the story is, be sure to attend all the PSALA meetings you can, as the opportunity to connect with your peers is as valuable as the formal meeting content!

Marjorie Goldfarb