Your employee handbook is the cornerstone of your HR program. It’s the one fundamental requirement to keep your program sound. And it should have an impact. Take your time to build the right employee handbook for your company. Today, we’ll discuss what this looks like.
It’s Not You, It’s Me…
Your handbook must clearly establish the guidelines for your company’s relationship with its employees. And vice versa.
Your employees must know which activities are permissible and which aren’t. This gives them room to establish themselves within your company without stepping over any lines. And this will minimize potential conflicts and misunderstandings.
When your employees know what they can and can’t do, they’re more likely to engage in permissible behavior. And they're more likely to avoid behaviors leading to reprimands.
Plus, company responses will be transparent. Everybody knows what responses certain actions will elicit. This is a win-win for everyone.
Go Look It Up
Your employee handbook also must state clearly your organization’s philosophy, objectives, policies, and benefits.
Your company’s philosophy is its guiding principle. Think of Google’s motto of “Don’t be evil.” Objectives, on the other hand, are what your company wishes to accomplish. This is like Facebook’s mission statement to “bring the world closer together.”
Your employees should also be aware of practical matters. This includes company policies and employee benefits. All this should be clearly stated in your employee handbook.
Your handbook serves as the ultimate reference guide for your employees. When anybody needs to know anything concerning your organization, they should be able to look it up in their handbook.
What’s Your Culture?
Whatever information your handbook contains, make sure you properly communicate your organization’s policies and procedures. Nobody should have to go any farther than their handbook to know how to proceed at any time in your company.
This also goes for your company’s culture. Are you a fun-loving, fast-paced organization? Write your handbook in this tone. A more serious, staid company? Your handbook should reflect this persona as well.
Don’t leave your employees guessing. Let them know what to expect and what you expect of them.
Put on Your Best Face
Your employee handbook will primarily be an internal document. But it can also be used externally to display your company’s standards. Remember what we said about conveying your company’s culture? Well, you can use your handbook to attract the right kind of talent to your organization.
And always remember—your handbook doesn’t have to be dry (it’s not the 20th century anymore). Your handbook can be used to build interest and enthusiasm among employees for their position… and for your company.
One Last Thing…
Even if you're a fun-loving company, you still want your legal department to review your handbook. You want to make sure you didn’t leave anything out or create any loopholes. You also want to make sure everything you’re saying is in accordance with best practices.
There are a few things you want to make sure you include:
- A brief overview of your company’s history
- Statement of your organizational philosophy
- Statements of principal policies
- Operating rules and commonly observed company customs
- All applicable state and federal laws
- Summary of employee benefit plans
Well, that’s it. Now, you’re ready to put together a knockout employee handbook.