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Preventing Human Resources Catastrophies

Posted by Kevin L. Routley

Mar 30th, 2017

Preventing Human Resources Catastrophies

Human resources policies and procedures encompass many different areas of your business and will be discussed as they relate to benefits in several coming posts. For now, let's look at two common areas where a lack of HR procedures can have a detrimental effect on the program, on-boarding and off-boarding.

On-boarding - In terms of a benefit program, when on-boarding an employee, good HR procedure would include a summary of benefit coverage detailing the required waiting period (of both the employee benefits policy and the group retirement program), pre-existing condition clauses, any medical requirements, employee cost share, the timing of the payroll deduction and clarity around the inclusion or exclusion of overtime pay in the disability and life insurance coverage. For programs with flexible benefits, the HR messaging needs to be even tighter to allow the employee proper education of their options, the timing of these options and cost.

Off-boarding - Let's face it, the decision to terminate an employee is stressful to both parties. Add to it the legislative requirement (Employment Standards Act) and the common law "requirements" of severance and the nightmare begins!

On top of the legislative requirements, improper HR procedures can be catastrophic. Whether an employee chooses to leave, retires or is "given an opportunity to succeed elsewhere" by the employer, a termination process (checklist) should always be followed.

As an example of the importance of a process, many employees have not done a lot of life insurance planning and count on their employment life insurance coverage as their sole source of coverage. Employers should be offering a conversion opportunity of the life insurance to the employee as part of the termination process (to be executed within 30 days). Without this procedure, the employee may be unhealthy and unable to replace the life insurance coverage individually, leaving them in a predicament. How do people deal with predicaments - they sue the employer? The same process goes for any in force policies for critical illness, disability and health and dental coverage. Let's not forget group retirement programs where the employer is required to advise or provide consultation of the options for their accumulated investments. (If you would like a termination checklist, please email me at

All in all, there are a lot of procedures that need to be followed in hiring an employee, terminating an employee and managing an employee. Employers with a professional human resources department recognize and have likely implemented on-boarding and off-boarding procedures. Smaller employers do not necessarily have this luxury. My best advice to employers, implement a checklist and follow it for each on-board or off-board that you do, it will save you a world of hurt! If you need assistance with on-boarding and off-boarding procedures, we can help. Check-out our Human Resources division -

Preventing Human Resources Catastrophies

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