Putting together an employee handbook for your company is an important task, and is best done as a team effort. Here are some tips on how to create a great and useful handbook that covers all the bases.
1.Collect all of the policies that are currently in place, and start to put together a Word document of them. You definitely want to get input from as many people as you can, especially managers and supervisors, but also talk to as many employees as possible and get input from them. Sometimes certain ways of dealing with situations arise among employees and between departments over time, and come to be understood as de facto policy. It is a good idea to put these in the handbook if you find them satisfactory.
2.In order to create an employee handbook that is readable, understandable and will stand the test of time,you will need to have the handbook professionally written. If you are in a larger company, you may have a communications department or other staff that is capable of handling the task. If not, you will need to hire an outside writer.
3.You will also need to make sure the handbook gets a going-over by a qualified attorney. Again, larger businesses may have people on staff that are qualified to do this. If not, do a search of local attorneys who specialize in workplace law. Make sure that you include all the info that your attorney suggests, and to plan a little bit for future growth as well.
4.Important things to include in your employee handbook are: sections dealing with all forms of harassment, a clear drug and alcohol policy, and a section dealing with the proper use of all property and resources belonging to the company. You will also want to make sure that you have a system of clear steps that are to be taken for any employees that want to report instances of fraud or mistreatment, so that they can do so anonymously and without fear of retribution. They should also have a method of registering complaints that does not cause them to fear for their job safety.
5. Though such items as dress codes, as well as attendance rules, and the various disciplinary actions your employees may face are probably already in place somewhat, it is a good idea to codify these things as much as possible in order to create a standard in black and white that is clear and fair to all. There should also be a section where you list and number the types of policies that apply to everyone in the company, such as holidays, sick and vacation days, etc.
6.Include a section that lists and explains the benefits that your company offers. You don’t necessarily have to go into great detail here, but it is important that you give them a reasonable overview, and a list of resources such as websites where they can go to find more details if need be.
7.Speaking of websites, it is a great idea to have the handbook accessible online, perhaps in a password protected area that is not available to the general public. Having it downloadable in PDF form is fine.
8.Put the document together using a binding style that is both rugged and fairly editable, just in case changes need to be made over time. Three-ring binding is probably the most common, but plastic comb and spiral wire will do the job as well.
9.Employees should read the handbook before they begin at your company, and should be required to sign a sheet of paper stating that they have read and understand the policies therein.
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