The majority of large businesses today have an employee handbook. However, medium and small size business managers may find it unnecessary to have an employee handbook because of a small team. As you are going to see, this should not be the case.
Although the law may not require you to have an employee handbook, recording critical policies will secure your business in the long run. Also, this handbook enhances the clarity of your employees and enables them to do the right thing.
Defining an employee handbook
An employee handbook or manual is a critical living document for employees that clearly outlines the company’s history, policies and culture for current employees and those who’ll get hired in the future. Human resource experts agree that its best have a handbook in place as soon as you hire the first employee because it not only defines expectations but also protects you legally.
According to custom essay, failing to have clear employee policies might mean big problems in the future. In most cases, employees look for loopholes to justify their behaviors outside your expectations. They’ll go through the employee handbook to find them. Therefore, your employee handbook should guide them by reinforcing critical policies.
As you start writing or updating the manual, keep things simple, clear and relevant to your niche. Write down all the policies that affect your employees in the workplace. Here are five little-known policies that need to be in your employee handbook.
1. Communication policy
A clear communication policy was optional in the past. But today, it’s extremely important to have it, thanks to the rapid advancement of technology.
Do you provide your employees with technological devices such as cell phones and laptops? How are your employees using these devices? How often do they use your equipment to make personal calls, surf the internet, take photos and post them on social media or text friends?
Your communications policy should state how these devices should be used. Your employees should clearly understand that, when they are using company equipment, they are representing the organization. Let them know that using company equipment inappropriately can get them fired.
Ensure that they understand other company policies such as anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and other policies that extend to different forms of communication and the use of company devices.
2. Code of conduct
The code of conduct is the first section that your employees look at when they have questions about ethics. It acts as a map that guides their actions and behaviors at the workplace. This section is the basis of your company culture. Some of the things you’ll want to include in your code of conduct are:
- Workplace safety;
- Dress code standards and grooming; and
3. Workplace safety
Spell everything out clearly for your employees. Set your expectations and consequences for not meeting them. For instance, if an employee is late to work consistently, you should refer him or her to the handbook or manual. Let him or her read and understand the expectations and consequences of failing to observe the policy.
4. Compensation and benefits policy
Since employees will not accurately remember all the perks you talk about while interviewing them, it’s important to use an employee handbook. You’ll need to protect your legal base by explaining things like overtime, payroll deductions, Family and Medical leave and workers’ compensation.
You need to keep things simple. Since there are no absolutes in business, a change in policies or circumstances will mean that you’ll have to update your handbook. Consider outlining how employees will receive performance reviews without specifically mentioning pay increases. You don’t want to be so specific about the yearly increases only to find yourself unable to provide them due to business demands.
5. Non-discrimination policy
This is mandatory for your employee handbook to be strong. Your employees should know that your business does not tolerate harassment or discrimination in any way or form.
In the US, federal and state legislation protects employees from discrimination. You should keep in mind that this policy is not related to the quality of work. These include age, religion, race, disability and pregnancy, to name a few.
Remember, discrimination is not always on purpose. Even excellent managers can unintentionally discriminate against some employees. For instance, employees may start complaining about the ratings that one employee received when no one else did. They may believe that he or she got a five star because he or she and the manager are close buddies.
Maybe the manager wants his or her buddy to get a bonus or an increase and forgets that he or she is discriminating against the entire team. This is a sensitive area. And a strong handbook will come in handy in case charges are filed against your organization.
Since good managers aren’t born but made, you need to do your best every time out. Always refer to your manual and be aware of your policies. Providing leadership training sessions on discrimination for your supervisors is also critical.
You need a human resources strategy
A business plan and strategic vision are critical to the success of your business. And so is a human resources plan. A human resources plan helps your employees execute business goals and strategies. It helps you as a manager prepare your staff and anticipate the people you’ll need in the future. It helps you make good hiring decisions while preparing your business for employee turnover. You should also include a succession plan in your HR strategy to limit disruptions in the business should there be a change of structure or management.
Your employee handbook is an important document because it captures the values, culture and personality of your organization. It’s important to review and adjust your policies regularly because employment and industry laws change over time.
Giving all the policies careful consideration will not only save you time and money but also your business. It doesn’t matter whether you have a large or small team. An employee handbook and a human resource strategy are critical to the success of your business.
Jennifer Sanders has been working as an Editor and a Copywriter at papersowl review in London for three years. She is also a professional content writer and journalist in such topics as inspiration, productivity, education and technologies.