While most employees go through some sort of new hire orientation where they learn the rules and policies of a company as well as the benefits that are offered, there are many small companies that do not have those policies written down for later reference. Small companies may believe that they don’t need to worry about the absence of a handbook, but it can cause some serious issues when employees are unaware of expectations in the workplace as well as their own rights. Managers in companies of all sizes are encouraged to advocate for an up-to-date, welcoming, compliant and all-encompassing employee handbook to ensure clarity for all employees.
It can be hard to know where to start when writing an employee handbook from scratch, especially because employee handbooks have the reputation of being another task for employees to get through and little information is actually retained. There are several steps to writing an effective employee handbook and they can help break the task up so it doesn’t seem so daunting.
Consider the Culture
Employee handbooks should reflect the culture of the company. If a company is part of a more conservative field, a more traditional employee handbook may be the best choice. On the other hand, a more creative handbook, like a video companion or a magazine-style handbook could be a better fit for a creative startup. There are many ways to tailor the handbook to a company’s unique wants and needs. Language used is another way to make a handbook unique to one company. If a company has a more casual culture, informal language may work well in their employee handbook.
Keep Policies Fresh
Create and record policies that align with company values and missions. In this step, asking “why” is extremely important. Try to avoid copying and pasting generic policies and make an effort to explain the reasoning behind policies in a voice consistent with the way management speaks to employees. For example, make sure policies for employee performance reviews reflect a company’s commitment to developing its employees and helping them be the best they can be. Policies should be evaluated at least annually in order to ensure that policies are both reflective of the company, but also aligned with federal compliance requirements.
Don’t Bury Benefits
Employee handbooks don’t have to be a list of “don’ts” and negatives. It’s important to make sure employees are aware of the perks of their workplace as well. Does a company offer family leave? What about educational assistance programs? Be sure to mention them when writing the handbook. Outline specific actions that need to be taken to receive those benefits in order to make them accessible for all qualified employees. Employees are expected to invest in a company, therefore the company should be able to state how it will invest in its employees.
Compliance is Key
With OFCCP and EEOC requirements, it’s important to make sure that employee handbooks contain policies that align with those standards. Review the Department of Labor website before writing policies to ensure inclusivity and compliance with policies. While there is no one-size-fits-all option for writing an employee handbook, there are many simple ways that employers can write a handbook that is tailored to their company’s mission, vision and values, all while keeping compliance and culture in mind. No company is too big or too small to benefit from an employee handbook.
BirdDogHR Employee Onboarding Software was designed to help employers meet their unique onboarding needs to help new hires acclimate to their positions faster, boosting productivity and engagement. Contact us for more information or to schedule a demo today.