Despite massive advances in technology and changes to how we work, it still pays to give all your employees an employee handbook when they start.
Whether you print it or keep it virtual is up to you, but ensure you get a signature to say they have read it.
What can it achieve?
If well written, it should achieve the following:
- Protect you when you have issues with workers: Making your expectations clear removes the “I didn’t know that” defense when an employee does something they were not meant to or does not do something you expected of them. If you also include clear disciplinary procedures that you follow when need be, it leaves them with little recourse to complain if you end up terminating their contract.
- Help employees feel protected: When someone turns to litigation, it is typically a last resort. If workers think you have their back, they are more likely to bring their problems to you. Ensure your handbook outlines your stance on discrimination and harassment. Ensure you outline clear channels for employees to report issues to you. They have considerable rights under state and federal law, that you as an employer must protect.
- Avoid confusion over time-off and hours: Clear information prevents employees from turning to colleagues to know whether they can call in sick, how much holiday they can take and whether they need to work weekends if asked. However willing colleagues may be to answer, they may make mistakes that could lead to disgruntled employees.
Your employee handbook can be a powerful document, but only if well written. Getting legal help will be crucial to ensure it is effective and does not contain any errors that could inadvertently harm your business.