As we begin a new year, many of us are making plans and setting goals to focus on over the next twelve months. Mitigating risks in our business endeavors should be one of those goals. In order to aid in that effort, we have assembles a list of 18 ways you can mitigate your company’s risks in 2018. While this is not an all-encompassing list, it does provide you with some key items to focus on during the new year.
1. If you don’t have an employee handbook, create one. If you do have an employee handbook, review and update it. Are you following the policies in the handbook?
2. Make sure you have accurate written job descriptions for the positions in your company.
3. Review your employee files. Make sure they are up-to-date and that medical information is separated.
4. If you have employees working outside of Ohio, investigate whether you need unemployment and/or workers’ compensation coverage in those states.
5. Verify that you have the required labor/employment information posters posted in the proper areas.
6. Do you have a records retention policy? Have you been following it? If you don’t have such a policy, you need to create one.
7. Review your insurance policies. Do you have employment practices liability coverage? Do you have or do you need officer or director coverage?
8. Evaluate employee job classifications. There may be employees classified as exempt who should be non-exempt and vice versa.
9. Assess your policies regarding pre-employment screenings. Do you require background checks, drug tests, physical examinations? Do you need to do so?
10. Review any current employment contracts, non-competition agreements and/or confidentiality agreements? Has the employee changed positions? Do the agreements need to be updated?
11. Have you conducted your annual employee training on sexual harassment? If not, you need to do so.
12. Who is responsible for signing checks, authorizing charges and/or using the company credit card? Now is a great time to determine if need to implement additional safeguards in this area.
13. When was the last time you checked you technology vulnerability? Is your electronic information backed up and stored remotely? Does it need to be? Update your software and security to protect against cyber attacks.
14. Have you taken the temperature of your workforce? Are they happy? Are there any underlying issues that need to be addressed? Low morale in a workforce could put your company at risk of key employees leaving.
15. Is your company properly incorporated and registered? If not, you could be putting yourself at risk of personal liability if an issue arises.
16. Are your corporate record books up to date? Making sure your corporate records are in order is crucial for maintaining corporate separateness and also in the event your company is audited by the IRS.
17. When was the last time you took an inventory of your equipment or conducted a thorough maintenance check? Making sure you have the equipment you think you have and are properly insuring that equipment is simply a good business practice. In addition, doing routine maintenance checks could prevent a larger issue down the road.
18. Keep your professionals involved in your decision-making processes. Always consult with your lawyers, accountants, bankers, and insurance providers before making big decisions. It’s always better (and more cost-effective in the long term) to build a fence at the top of the hill than to have to call an ambulance at the bottom.
Taking the time to consider each of these 18 points will get your company off to a great start in 2018.