During the last few years, I have worked on dozens of employee handbooks for small businesses in many states. Here are common problems I have encountered that interfere with creating an effective handbook:
Too Long and Too Wordy
The best employee handbooks have clear and concise language which makes it easy for employees to understand. The handbook is an overview of your policies and practices and should not include every detail. Employees will be quickly turned off if they must wade through many long paragraphs when the same message could have been better said in a more succinct fashion.
Employee handbooks include many expectations and rules. However, it is not necessary to state in every policy that employees will be disciplined or fired if they violate it. For a positive approach, start off your handbook with a warm welcome message from your top official. And, close the handbook on a positive note by letting employees know that you are excited they have joined your organization.
Not in Compliance with Current Laws
This is a common problem in most handbooks. With employment laws rapidly changing and new ones being added, it is important to review your handbook on a regular basis to ensure it is up to date with the current federal, state, and local laws. Some cities have their own employment laws which also need to be reflected in your handbook.
Not Training Your Employees
When you give your employees the handbook, it is unrealistic to think everyone will read it from cover to cover. Make sure to provide training to new hires and current employees and discuss the handbook in detail. This is best done in live presentations where employees can ask questions. Do not rely solely on emails to communicate changes.
Not Getting Assistance from an HR Professional
Creating and updating an employee handbook is a daunting process for those who have little or no human resources background. To ensure your handbook is legally updated, includes current HR best practices, and is customized to reflect your organization’s policies and practices, consult with a Human Resources Professional. LJ Consulting is ready to assist you with producing a compliant and customized employee handbook.