Why Your Employee Handbook can be Your Most Valuable HR Tool

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In our society, laws, technology, and culture constantly change. Because of these ever-shifting norms, it is important for businesses to regularly review and update their employee handbooks to ensure that as many possible scenarios and topics are addressed. Doing so will help to not only prevent sticky predicaments in the work place, but it will also serve as a guideline for reporting procedures, compliance, and standard repercussions. A comprehensive employee handbook is an essential communication tool between a company and their employees. A well-written handbook will set forth expectations on wages, benefits, recording hours, conduct and company culture. Although you may think that you have an employee handbook that covers all pertinent topics, it is almost impossible for a handbook to efficiently encompass modern progressions without being regularly revised.

Employee handbooks should be reviewed and updated annually (or bi-annually) in order to include topics that were not previously foreseen. For instance, the popularity of e-cigarettes and vapors is on the rise. While your employee handbook may cover smoking cigarettes on the job site, it would be wise to revise your policy to include e-cigarettes and vapors in order to avoid any ambiguity or misinterpretation among employees. All businesses should require employees to review employee handbooks as they are updated. A well-written employee handbook may be what forestalls a lawsuit.

Some topics which we encourage employers to research and review when updating their employee handbook include:

  • Accommodation policies
    • Specifically, pregnancy accommodations and policies regarding nursing mothers.
  • Employee section 7 rights
    • Making sure to modify any policies that run afoul of the National Labor Relations Act.
  • Attendance policies
    • Ensuring that they are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Social Media policies
    • Particularly regarding discussing company information, events, and clients on non-company social media accounts.
  • Data Protection
    • It is in a company’s best interest to consider including a policy regarding company data on employee personal devices.

When revising your employee handbook, some good practices to keep in mind are:

  • Consider and include issues and situations that have recently arisen with staff, and make sure they are addressed in the playbook..
  • Evaluate recent law and policy changes that may impact the company.
  • Get input from managers and staff.
  • Make your new handbook readily available and accessible.
  • Implement a sign off procedure to ensure employees review the changes.
  • Make sure policies adequately reflect practices of the company.

StaffMetrix HR understands the complexity of revising employee handbooks–which is why we offer it as a service to our clients. Running a company is time consuming, which is why hiring a PEO such as StaffMetrix HR to manage Human Resource tasks (such as creating and revising employee handbooks) is an efficient way for business owners to create more time to focus on other major areas of their company.

Do you have any questions, comments or feedback? We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to get in touch with us by leaving a comment below.  You can ask questions on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, too.

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