Workplace policies and procedures are at the heart of many human resources problems. Has your staff been clearly educated on discrimination policies, drug and alcohol policies and safety procedures? If you have a dress code, is it in writing somewhere for your staff to reference? There are a lot of issues that come into play in the workplace, and yet many companies still don’t have an employee handbook or policies and procedures manual. Here’s why you should have one, and what it should contain.
A good employee handbook enables the employer to communicate with workers the expectations of professionalism within the company. These expectations are a two-way street: they don’t just outline what you expect of your staff. They also help you to meet your employees’ expectations of you and how you communicate with them.
Employees need information, and they need it in writing so they can reference it when needed. Having an employee handbook goes a long way towards keeping your relations with your staff positive and productive.
State Codes of Conduct and Behavior
Your employee handbook will ensure that there are no questions about the ethics and values your company champions. It outlines very clearly the expectations of behavior to which you hold your staff. It guides such things as time off requests, how to address harassment or operations problems, dress codes, drug and alcohol use policies, compliance, handling confidential information and other vital policies of your company. By putting these things at the fingertips of your staff, there will be no question as to how they should behave at the workplace.
An employee handbook is useful to you the employer as well. Since all of your policies are in writing in one place, it will be more likely that every staff member and every situation will be treated consistently. There will be far fewer accusations of favoritism, or mismanaging of problems when you can point to the policy in question.
Outline Guidlines for Time at Work, Time Away from Work
Benefits are one of the biggest attractors of good employees in this day and age. Your employee handbook is a great tool to spell out your benefits in detail. It should outline what is available, how employees access it and when it becomes available.
If vacation time, for example, increases at certain benchmark points, your handbook should outline this — two weeks to start, moving to three when the staff member reaches 5 years, for example. If you offer retirement programs with an employee match, explain how it works and when the employee becomes vested.
Mitigate Lawsuits and Claims
A well-constructed employee handbook is your first and best defense against unfair labor claims, discrimination and compensation lawsuits and unemployment claims. It allows you to demonstrate that you made your employees aware of the company expectations and policies via receiving an acknowledgment of employee handbook form signed by the employee.
If you would like help with your HR policies, take a look at the various human resources consulting services our company has to offer, and get in touch for more information today!