At Gro HR, we value the communication with all employees within the businesses that we serve, as well as value their legal protection. Because of these values, we highly recommend an Employee Handbook for each client specifically, and we assist them in the creation and maintenance of this valuable document. Some leadership may not see the value in having such a formal document for very limited employees, however, there are definite reasons why you should have one. Such as:
Communication between employees and ownership/management is necessary to create productivity and to see desired results. Many questions that both employees and management may have about policies, benefits, or expectations will be answer within the Employee Handbook. This allows for less confused inquiries to ownership and management by providing the ultimate tool to answer the most common employment questions for your company. Most importantly, clear communication through your employe handbook allows your employees to know what is expected of them, as well as what they can expect from you as their employer.
“Clear expectations = Clear path for success”
Legal Disclosures/ Policies
Employee Handbooks are not a legal requirement in the workplace, however, Human Resources is best utilized as a preventative measure. This entails having policies and guidelines in place prior to an incident or issue occurring. Just like you pay for business insurance, car insurance, or any kind of insurance – think of an Employee Handbook as a form of insurance for the boundaries and requirements of employment.
There are several laws that need to, at some point, be disclosed and acknowledged by employees. The best way to do this is to have them included in the Employee Handbook, and to utilize their acknowledgement of the handbook for all of them. For example – ADA, Genetic Information, Non-disclosure, ant-harassment, drug testing, Equal Opportunity, Confidentiality, and Personal Data Privacy disclosures and policies are all examples that can and should be included in an employee handbook.
Without an employee handbook, there is an element of risk and exposure that you create for your company and for your employees. For example, at-will employment notices, confidentiality, non-disclosure and explanations of employee benefits are the most common legally pursued topics by both employers and employees. To avoid the risk of false promises, misunderstanding, or miscommunication – these topics should be well described and clarified within the Employee Handbook.
The culture of a workplace includes the atmosphere, the attention to detail, the mentorship approach, the ethics, the diversity, the communication, and the overall expectations from employees and from management.
Cookie-cutter Employee Handbooks are going to miss a key component that attributes to the success of the document itself and the guidelines in entails – and that is the consideration of your company culture. There are several different types of cultures, none of which are all-inclusive or even cookie cutter themselves.
For example, an organization that has a more laid back, employee focused culture, it may have an unlimited PTO policy with a few clauses. Others that are more structured and top down focused, may have an accrual based PTO policy. Another example may be a cell-phone or electronic device policy. Some company cultures may not feel that any usage of personal electronic devices within working hours is acceptable, while others may permit the usage of personal electronic devices as long as they are not a distraction to others. Whichever workplace culture you are trying to implement or maintain, it is important that your handbook directly reflects it.
How often do we update our Employee Handbook?
As HR professionals, we recommend reviewing your company handbook quarterly for required changes, but should be at least thoroughly updated annually. Having an HR source automatically update your Handbook as regulatory changes occur will save you time and keep you in compliance, and Gro HR is here to do that for you!