I love this time of year, when we can take time from our busy schedules and surround ourselves with family and friends. Unfortunately, before we can enjoy that well-deserved break, we're often rushing around trying to wrap up business, close the books, and make sure we're well set for the New Year.

One of the areas we've been focusing on is employee benefits — for both Insight Performance and our clients. Here are a few tactical items on our checklist in December:

  • Make sure benefits are in compliance with local and federal regulations.
  • Submit medical, dental, and FSA enrollment forms to insurance company.
  • Notify employees of FSA account balances and reimbursement deadlines.
  • Determine 401(k) match or profit sharing, and ensure that there is adequate bond coverage for the 401(k).
  • Determine age-based insurance rate increases for January 1st and notify employees as well as payroll.
  • Send out Personal Information Update forms to verify information on W-4 forms. Update employee addresses for W-2 purposes.

There are also strategic benefits issues to consider. Are you offering the type of benefits that will help you retain and attract key talent? How does your company stack up in the marketplace? Do what you can to keep your employees happy. While benefit compensation and financial incentives may be tight, consider other, more creative ways that you can also reward employees.

For example, if you offer a section 125 health plan, you could allow employees to customize their own benefits program. An employee, for example, could choose to increase life insurance and opt out of dental coverage. Or your might consider establishing a flexible paid time off policy, where employees can pool their own time off — including vacation, holidays, sick time — and use it for an extended illness or other issues that may arise.

By getting benefits in order, we'll be ready to start 2010 with a motivated and happy team!

Read more about what Nancy and her team are doing to develop Exceptional Workplaces at http://www.insightperformance.com/blog/ or on their Facebook Page.