Most companies have a list of policies and procedures for their employees to follow. There are instances when it comes off as informal, especially if your employees do not take it seriously enough. Whether you are creating or updating your existing employee handbook, you should keep the following tips in mind. This ensures that your employees are on board with the policies. This can also prevent lawsuits from happening within the workplace.
1. Preserve Your Company’s History
You should include a section for your company history. This defines the culture that you are setting for your new and current employees. This also sets the precedence for what policies you intend to include. This helps you preserve the company’s history and add new details as it grows and expands. Determine the types of information your employees should know about. This prevents confusion and answers any questions they might have about your company.
2. Outline Necessary Policies
The employee handbook should outline all of the necessary policies. Although there are no federal or state laws, you should consult employment lawyers to help guide in you this step. The most common company policies include workplace safety, leave of absence and time off requests, health rules and regulations, and harassment. Certain states may include information that is relevant to the local laws. An employment lawyer can help you outline all the required policies that are applicable to your company.
3. Add New Policies
There is no requirement on how often you should update your employee handbook. However, it is good to do it on a bi-annual or annual basis. You may find that you need to add new policies such as attendance, anti-harassment, employee conduct, leave of absence, paid parental leave, non-discrimination, punctuality, and workplace safety. After the 2020 pandemic, most companies had to update their health regulations. You might also have to add or modify policies based on federal or state law.
4. Keep Style & Tone In Mind
Always keep your company’s writing style and tone in mind. Avoid writing in a casual or conversational tone. You want to set a tone and higher standard than what is often required. Maintain that tone throughout your company history, mission, and the selected policies. When it comes to preventing a harassment-free workplace, you should define what is considered sexual harassment by federal, local, or state law.
5. Include An Acknowledgment Form
Each of your employees should acknowledge and sign the employee handbook. This ensures they read it in full and they understand the policies. Including an acknowledgment form reinforces the at-will employment relationship. Some employees might confuse this form for a contract. Explain to them they are required to review and understand the policies. This also allows you to update the handbook anytime.
6. Encourage Feedback
Do not be afraid to get feedback from your employees. They might offer suggestions on what else should be included in the employee handbook. You also want that acknowledgment to ensure they understand they will remain compliant with federal and local laws. During this time, your employees may ask questions on anything they might not understand.
This guide gives you a better idea of how to write a complete employee handbook. As you create it or update it, you can create a training program that keeps your employees up to date on these policies. This team-building activity encourages participation in the workplace. Make sure to distribute the handbook to all of your employees. From there, you can review it and update it whenever the local laws or company changes.