You have made the decision to start your own firm – congratulations! It’s an exciting professional milestone for you and your new employees. There are a lot of key details to be taken care of, among them the creation of an employee handbook. This document is absolutely essential. It should be comprehensive and worded in extremely clear, precise language. Not only should your employee handbook delineate your firm’s policies and guidelines, but it could also help you to prevent litigation down the road.
What types of content should be included in your firm’s employee handbook?
For starters, the rules – the cornerstones of working at your firm – should be presented with clarity and in detail. That means fundamental topics like sick leave, benefits, how pay decisions are formulated, performance reviews and other necessary basics. Industry-specific content certainly should be included that applies to financial advisors and RIAs.
Some elements of an employee handbook are mandated by federal, state or local law. Federal laws can be accessed on the US Department of Labor web site, www.dol.gov. Be aware that if your firm has branches in various states, you may have to craft a version of your handbook for each one. Subjects that might have to be in the handbook pertain to taking family medical leave, as well as non-discrimination policies and equal opportunity hiring practices.
Other statements to have in the handbook may include the following:
- A disclaimer that states the handbook does not constitute a contract
- A statement that says the handbook may change over time
- An employee acknowledgement page that someone signs and submits to signify that he or she has read and understands the handbook
- A statement that the handbook is the most authoritative source for your firm’s policies and practices
A human resources specialist or an attorney knowledgeable about financial advising could offer guidance on how to compile your employee handbook so it complies with all laws and regulations.