HR Tip of the Week

Posted on  |  HR101

New to HR? This Checklist Can Help

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Managing HR responsibilities isn't always easy, but it can be especially daunting if you're new to the role. To help, we created a checklist of some key HR responsibilities.


HR's Role: Develop policies and practices that result in quality hiring decisions and comply with federal, state, and local laws. Ask yourself:

  • Does your company use multiple recruiting sources to reach a diverse pool of applicants? Do job ads and recruiting methods comply with federal, state, and local nondiscrimination laws?
  • Does your company have candidates complete an application form? Does your application form avoid asking for information that is protected under the law?
  • Does your company have up-to-date and accurate job descriptions for each position?
  • Do your screening and selection procedures, such as background checks, pre-employment tests, and drug tests, comply with federal, state, and local laws?
  • Are supervisors trained to conduct effective interviews and to avoid questions not permitted by law?
  • During the hiring process, does your company do an effective job communicating what makes your company a great place to work?
  • Does your company keep applicants informed of their status throughout the hiring process?
  • Does your company put job offers in writing?
  • Are decision-makers trained to avoid basing decisions on explicit and implicit biases? Do you have more than one individual involved when making hiring decisions?
  • Do you have an effective onboarding process to get employees started on the right foot?


HR's Role: Develop an employee handbook to communicate important company information to employees and help demonstrate compliance with various employment laws. Ask yourself:

  • Do your policies comply with federal, state and locals laws governing benefits, leave, pay, nondiscrimination, and other terms and conditions of employment?
  • Are your policies consistent with current HR best practices and company procedures?
  • Does your handbook avoid these policies and include these "must-have" policies?
  • Do you review and update your handbook at least annually and whenever laws change?
  • Do you have employees sign a handbook acknowledgment at the time of hire and whenever changes are made?
  • Have you trained supervisors on your company's policies and procedures?
  • Do supervisors consistently enforce workplace policies?

checkEqual Employment Opportunity (EEO):

HR's Role: Ensure employment practices are free from discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics, such as age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, and genetic information. Promote an equitable and inclusive work environment. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a clear policy that expressly prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and addresses all characteristics protected under the laws (federal, state and local) that apply to your business?
  • Does your policy clearly outline your company's complaint process and provide employees with multiple avenues for filing complaints?
  • Does your company conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation following a complaint?
  • Are all employment decisions job-related and made without regard to protected characteristics?
  • Do your policies and practices promote an equitable and inclusive work environment? Does your company demonstrate that it values each employee?
  • Does your company take steps to prevent retaliation against individuals who exercise their rights under the law?
  • Do you provide training to employees and supervisors on your discrimination and harassment policies? Have you considered bystander intervention training?


HR's Role: Align your company's compensation program with strategic goals and use total compensation (salary, health insurance, paid time off, and other benefits) to attract, motivate, and retain talent. Ensure pay practices comply with all applicable laws. Ask yourself:

  • Is your company's total compensation competitive with similar employers?
  • Are employees' wages equitable when compared with other employees in your company?
  • Does your compensation program avoid unlawful pay disparities based on sex, race, or other protected characteristics?
  • If applicable, does your company comply with state and local laws that prohibit employers from basing compensation decisions on an individual's pay history?
  • Does your compensation program effectively reward top performers?
  • Does your compensation program align with your company's strategic goals and values?
  • Does your company pay non-exempt employees at least the applicable minimum wage for all hours worked and properly calculate overtime when due?
  • Do your company's pay practices for rest breaks, meal periods, and travel and training time comply with federal and state law?
  • Do you have effective timekeeping practices in place and controls to prevent off-the-clock work?
  • Do all of your "exempt" employees meet applicable federal and state salary and duties tests and does your company avoid making prohibited deductions from their salaries?

checkPerformance Management:

HR's Role: Ensure your company clearly communicates performance goals to all employees, delivers regular feedback, and provides employees with the resources they need to meet objectives. Ask yourself:

  • Does your company evaluate employees' performance on an ongoing basis and at least annually? Are supervisors trained to conduct performance reviews?
  • Does your company give poor performers an opportunity to improve?
  • Do all employees have specific and measurable goals? Do individual goals align with overall company values and goals?
  • Do employees receive all the training that is required by law and/or training needed to effectively perform their job?
  • Does your company engage employees on a regular basis to determine their training needs and career development interests?

checkRecordkeeping and Documentation:

HR's Role: Comply with federal, state, and local laws that dictate which records employers must retain, for how long, and who may have access to those records. Use effective recordkeeping practices to help drive and support employment decisions. Ask yourself:

  • Does your company complete all required new hire paperwork?
  • Are personnel files complete for each employee? Is sensitive information, such as medical records, stored separate from employees' personnel files?
  • Does your company document all performance issues, including verbal warnings?
  • Does your company retain records for at least the minimum period required by law?
  • Do you keep records secure? Is sensitive employee information protected?
  • Does your company restrict access to records to those who have a legitimate need to know?
  • Does your company grant employees access to their own personnel files in accordance with state law (if applicable)?
  • Does your company dispose of records properly?


Whether you are new to the HR role or a seasoned veteran, help your company implement effective policies and practices that comply with the law and align with your company's strategic goals.

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