How Employee Handbooks Help Businesses

No matter the size, every company should have some form of employee handbook, as they are an incredibly important foundational document that can help both employees and management. 

Like any reasonably organized system, a business has rules, regulations, benefits, and expectations, and should therefore have written documents that explain them clearly. Employee handbooks also commonly address “what if” scenarios and can be essential for safety .An employee handbook helps protect both a business owner and a business employee legally, and should be kept as up-to-date as possible because of this. 

There are numerous reasons why your business should have an employee handbook, and featured in this article are just a few.

Outlining Policies and Expectations

The employee handbook puts forth what the company expects from an employee in plain sight. In addition to explaining what the rules for an employee under the company are, employee handbooks also typically explain what the consequences are when these rules are broken or when expectations aren’t met.

For your employee handbook, here are a few sections to consider implementing:

  • Who to call when you’re late or not coming in, and when.
  • Timeliness.
  • Expectations to maintain professionalism in the workplace.
  • Timeline for requesting leave.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity policies.
  • Harassment and discrimination reporting.
  • Statements of At-Will Employment.
  • Digital and social media policies.
  • Policies for leave, some of which can include sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, FMLA, and PTO.

Environmental Consistency and Fairness

Your employee handbook, which is mandatory to be read and/or possessed by all employees, is one of the strongest tools you can use to combat claims of discrimination or unfairness in the workplace by stating a clear message to ensure fair treatment for all, company-wide.

Defense Against Unemployment Claims and Lawsuits

Too often have employers found themselves in deep water after they neglected to include important provisions in the handbook for various claims and lawsuits. An employee handbook that’s written well can go a long way in helping you and your company defend themselves against legal actions, and in some cases employers have even been released from damning legal ramifications by simply having a signed acknowledgement of the employee handbook.

Some important sections to ensure are in your handbook include:

  • Discrimination.
  • Harassment.
  • On-the-job injury.
  • Retaliation.

Outlining Benefits and Compensation

It isn’t just important for your employees to understand what your company expects of them, but it’s equally important for your employees to know what to expect from you, too. 

The benefits and compensations sections of employee handbooks are generally the most widely “loved” and thus should be detailed in discussing things that are vital to the interest and well-being of your employees.

Some recommended sections are:

  • Pay schedule.
  • Review and/or raise schedules and associated performance review policies.
  • Benefits available and processes for enrollment to them.
  • Probation periods.

Remember that your employee handbook is not only a document to outline the company’s expectations; it’s as much a part of your business as your employees are, and will reflect who you are as a company. Be certain that when written, that your employee handbook encompasses your company’s missions and values. If you need further information, feel free to contact our experts at Dowd Law.