A well-written employee handbook is an essential item that many companies fail to give enough attention to. These manuals are often out of date or fail to cover what they should.
Good communication is vital to the success of any business. The bigger the company gets, the harder it is for the founders or chief executive officers to get their message across to the workers. Employee handbooks are a tool that can help give a clear and consistent message to all employees. They are also be a legal requirement in some areas.
Here are four things every employee handbook should include:
- A bit about the company: This does not have to be an in-depth history lesson. Think of it as an opportunity to share some of the company’s culture with new employees.
- Policies on equal employment and discrimination: Set out the guidelines you have in place and the procedures someone can follow if they feel discriminated against.
- Information on time off, hours and benefits: Be careful how much detail you go into. Certain aspects may vary between employees.
- A page to sign: Include a page or form that staff members must sign to acknowledge they have received and read the manual. Otherwise employees, may file them away without reading them. As the employer, you keep this page as proof in case a staff member tries to litigate, claiming they did not know about something that you clearly laid out.
You should always have an experienced employment law attorney to assist your human resources team producing the employee handbook. Promises you make in these pages could be interpreted as a contractual agreement if a worker brings litigation against you. It may be worth adding a note to clarify that the handbook is not a contractual agreement.