Most companies have policies and procedures governing their employment practices, but unless they are in writing, there can be confusion and inconsistency when it comes to employee rights and responsibilities. That’s why it is important to have an employee handbook. This handbook formalizes those policies and includes information regarding the organization’s mission, values, policies, procedures, and benefits in a written format that employees can read and reference. Not only should an employee handbook be easily accessible, but employers should require every employee to provide written acknowledgement of having received and reviewed the handbook. Whether you are starting a new handbook from scratch or updating an existing handbook, here are some helpful tips for creating an effective employee handbook.
Establish Company Values and Mission Statement
Before writing a handbook, you just first establish the values for which your organization stands as well as a mission statement that encompasses these values. In order for employees to be successful, they must be sure their values and goals align with those of your organization. A mission statement should be a brief sentence or two describing what matters most to your company.
Include General Employment Information
The first component of your handbook should include general information about being employed with your company. This section should cover the following topics:
- Hiring policies
- Payment schedule and payment methods
- Full-time vs. part-time hours
- Meal and rest breaks
- Overtime pay
- Performance review procedures
- Safety procedures
- Resignation and termination procedures
Identify Required Laws and Policies
There are a number of laws and regulations that must be presented to employees in writing. These include laws and policies regarding harassment, discrimination, leave of absence, and other workplace safety and health rules. Refer to both state and local laws to be sure you have included all necessary information.
Standards of Conduct
Aside from required laws, you probably have your own expectations regarding employee behavior and etiquette. You will need to have specific policies in place informing employees of your expectations. These policies might include:
- Dress code
- Drug and alcohol use
- Ethics policies
- Personal technology use
- Social media policy
- Data and customer privacy
- Conflict resolution policy
Another section that should be included in your employee handbook is information about employee benefits. You should offer a brief description of the following benefits:
- Vacation or paid time off
- Retirement benefits
- Insurance coverage
- Training benefits, including tuition reimbursement
- Other benefits include: flex scheduling, gym membership, on-site exercise classes, lunch on Fridays, etc.
Employees are always eager to know more about the perks and benefits of working at their job.
It is important to inform employees about the consequences of not following company policies and procedures. You should include a section that explains these consequences so that employees understand what disciplinary action can be taken, but also so they see that everyone is subject to the same disciplinary process.