What to expect.
Have an Employee Handbook? – You need one!Employee handbooks are the perfect place to outline all of your company policies as well as benefits. This lets employees know what to expect from your company and what you expect from them. Policies covering anything from dress code to social media use can be discussed amongst management and documented in writing; that way when issues do pop up you won’t have to skip a beat.
Your handbook should clearly state that it is not a contract with employees. Instead, it should outline your employment relationship while it exists in its at-will nature.
Although having employees sign off that they have read or will read their employee handbook is a smart move, the publication generally serves as a reference point when questions arise, so don’t worry whether your handbook is one page or a whole binder.
Already have a handbook?
If there are any policies that you would like to edit, the beginning of the year makes for a clean break for new policy implementation. The New Year is also a good time to clean out any policies that are outdated and add any new state or federal regulations. It is not a bad idea to have an HR Professional review your handbook annually for compliance issues.
When trouble arises
Employee handbooks are not just for the good of employees. Handbooks lay the ground work should you need to protect yourself as the employer. For example, when a termination that went south is called into question or brought to court, your handbook can be a great resource and guide.
Employers have a much better chance of successfully defending a claim – anything from unemployment to discrimination and more – if they can cite the specific employee handbook policy that was violated by the former employee. Distributing an employee handbook is an excellent means of demonstrating how employees were made aware of the policy, and of the consequences of noncompliance with workplace rules and guidelines.
The most important aspect is enforcing policies equally across the board with your staff. Don’t make policies overly strict that tie your hands nor overly vague for inconsistent application may arise. If you need help developing a custom handbook for your company or want one of our HR experts to review your existing handbook we can make sure you are in compliance.