December duties

Columns - Industry Voices

December 3, 2013
Steve Cesare

Steve Cesare

Human resources is characterized by constant activity. Whether that activity is driven by an historical (e.g., wrongful termination lawsuit), current (e.g., employee discipline) or proactive (e.g., return of H2B Visa employees in the spring) event, multiple aspects of the company will certainly be involved in addressing that human resources action item at any given time.

In an effort to manage all of this activity, planned as well as unplanned, I have long advocated that landscapers develop an annual human resources calendar to capture all of the events that typically confront their organizations.

The inherent level of detail within the human resources calendar minimizes the likelihood that any human resources activity will either be forgotten or present itself as an unexpected surprise to company management.

The following lists represent common human resources activities that most landscaping companies should address during December.

Looking back

  • Conduct a year-end human resources audit
  • Conduct a year-end signature acknowledgment audit
  • Conduct a year-end payroll audit
  • Conduct a year-end safety audit
  • Conduct a year-end benefits audit
  • Ensure all legally-required training classes were conducted
  • Ensure year-end OSHA 300 Forms are finalized and verified by the workers’ compensation vendor
  • Ensure all employees scheduled to receive a performance appraisal were evaluated
  • Ensure that an external audit of all I-9 files was conducted


Staying current

  • Revise organizational chart as needed
  • Revise employee training summary report as needed
  • Revise employee signature acknowledgment summary as needed
  • Revise the human resources calendar as needed
  • Revise the training calendar as needed
  • Revise the staffing plan as needed
  • Conduct employee performance appraisals scheduled for December
  • Conduct weekly staffing interviews
  • Conduct weekly safety tailgate sessions
  • Conduct monthly yard/shop safety audit
  • Conduct monthly loss run report and claims review with workers’ compensation vendor • Review approved drivers list
  • Review records retention guidelines: Purge necessary human resources and payroll files
  • Review I-9 documents for any January-March expiration dates
  • Review employee vacation hours report with a forecast for the next three months
  • Ensure quarterly job site safety audits have been conducted
  • Distribute payroll stuffers


Looking forward

  • Order the integrated, laminated, bi-lingual federal and state employment posters for the next year
  • Create the human resources calendar for the next year
  • Create the training calendar for the next year
  • Create the staffing plan for the next year
  • Review new state and federal employment laws scheduled to begin in January
  • Review all company-wide wage and hour scales
  • Review all job descriptions to ensure they are legal and relevant for the next year
  • Review all training programs to ensure their alignment with next year’s business goals
  • Review all company policies to ensure they are appropriate for the next year
  • Review all company business practices to ensure their alignment with next year’s business goals
  • Review the arbitration agreement for potential revisions
  • Review the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement for potential revisions
  • Revise company-wide bonus programs as needed
  • Revise the company job application as needed
  • Revise the company employee handbook and distribute it to all employees in January
  • Ensure all new hire paperwork meets legal standards for the next year
  • Ensure all workers’ compensation paperwork meets legal standards for the next year
  • Ensure all sales employees have signed a written sales agreement for the next year
  • Ensure all interview protocols are aligned with revised job descriptions



Landscapers should create, track and leverage a human resources calendar to help them manage the hectic world of human resources. By adopting this type of calendar, landscapers will be able to ensure that all human resources activities have been completed for every month throughout the entire year and are being planned for during the next year.


Steve Cesare is an industrial psychologist with the Harvest Group, a landscape consulting group.;