As we approach the end of another year, it’s a good time to review your employee handbook and to make updates as necessary. If you are a small business and you don’t have an employee handbook, it’s definitely time to develop one.
Every business, of every size, needs an employee handbook! Think of it as a document that defines:
- the rules
- the acceptable behavior
- your company policies
- substance abuse policies
- bullying policies
- schedules of holidays and vacations (depending upon level and time of employment)
- any industry or state/federal regulations that apply to your business
Need help with the basics? Download our handy Code of Conduct Template.
Your Handbook Protects You
Consider this handbook the most important documentation you can have that will help to protect you and your company in the event you are involved in a lawsuit. This is the document that will help you to solve problems, arguments and provide you with a defense if necessary.
The handbook also spells out your company culture, re-enforces your brand, and gives insight into how your company treats its employees, all of which can be a great tool when recruiting or hiring new employees.
Distribute and Train
As important as having a company handbook is to make sure you use it! This means making sure all employees and new hires are given a copy and made aware of all policies and any updates on an annual basis.
Because regulations and laws can change, it is imperative that you review and rewrite, if necessary, any sections that need updating. If you change your policies on anything, rewrite it and include it in the updated version. New hires should always sign a document acknowledging that they received a copy of the handbook, as well as all employees who receive an updated version.
Employee Handbook Updates
Here are some general areas you should review this time of the year. These are ones that often need to be updated or included if you don’t already have policies coving these topics:
- Social media and data privacy
- Issues such as medical leave, time off for religious beliefs, etc.
- Retaliation and confidentiality issues
- Wages and payroll
- State or industry specific laws
- Smoking, marijuana, alcohol and substance use
- Collective bargaining
- LGBT rights
If you don’t currently have a company handbook or need assistance in developing or updating one, there are many firms that can help.
The important thing is that you take the necessary steps, and as we come to the close of another year the time is now.