Does your business have an employee handbook? If you have five or more employees, you really should.
An employee handbook can be a valuable communication resource for both the employer and the employee.
I have written about the importance of employee handbooks in the past.
If you are interested in understanding the importance of an employee handbook or have been provided a “cookie cutter” version from a partner company, read on.
REASONS TO HAVE A HANDBOOK
There are a number of reasons for why you should have an employee handbook. Along with those mentioned previously, other reasons include:
- It brings uniformity across your company. It explains expectations for everyone and mentions the consequences of violating these rules. By explaining workplace ethics and expected behavior with colleagues and the management, an employee handbook minimizes workplace disputes.
- It saves time on your personnel or administration team. Documented rules and procedures in the handbook save your managers time from explaining the same polices over to new employees joining and to others.
- It helps new employees to set their expectations from the company in terms of work schedules, leave, compensation and benefits, dress code, performance reviews, salary and pay revisions, holidays, training, termination policies, and more.
- It is a guidebook for your managers in handling like situations the same.
- It reduces the start-up time of your new employees by giving them clarity on their job responsibilities by including details on the company’s expectations from them. It also conveys performance parameters and ways of acknowledgement of their good performance.
- By giving information on your company’s policies on use of personal gadgets and devices within the premises, the employee handbook must include the terms and conditions for use of these devices and the consequences for non-compliance of these rules.
- It helps your business in complying with federal as well as state employment laws and can be a beneficial legal defense against an employee lawsuit.
- It helps your company come forward with its stand on issues like favoritism, discrimination, harassment and also provides information on how to report any violations regarding such issues.
BE WARY OF HANDBOOKS PROVIDED TO YOU BY PARTNER COMPANIES
Many companies come to me requesting that I review and update, as necessary, their employee handbooks.
I won’t name companies here, but a majority of the handbooks I review are “cookie cutter” and include every possible HR policy and employment law.
If you are a company under 15 employees, you don’t need to include in your handbook many HR employment law related policies, such as the ADA and FMLA.
So, if you are including these policies in your handbook, and you don’t need to comply with them based on your employee size, guess what? You now have to abide by those laws!
The truth is, developing an employee handbook unique to your business is a process, and it will require sometime on your part to ensure the handbook is written for YOUR business.
Have a policy unique to your business not contained in a “template”? No problem. Marzano Human Resources Consulting will draft it for you.
Marzano Human Resources Consulting understands the importance of developing a handbook unique to each business it works with. We will be there with you every step of the way and will ensure the finished product is something you can be proud of. Just as importantly, we will ensure it mitigates risk to your business and makes your employees believe they are working for a company that has its act together!
EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK LENGTH
I have seen handbooks with 15 pages and other with over 100 pages.
Try to keep your handbook to a maximum of 45 pages. If it’s too short, it will not provide your employees with clear expectations as to policies and employee conduct. If it’s too long, it may not get the attention it deserves. It’s only meant as a guide.
Your employee handbook should not contain a step-by-step process for every policy. But it should be comprehensive enough for your employees to understand what is expected of them and eliminate many questions that may arise.
Marzano Human Resources Consulting has worked with a number of companies updating their employee handbooks and also creating new ones. Talk with us. You may be surprised at the cost involved in putting in place a document that will become the cornerstone of your entire organization.