This week we return to the wonderful world of Paperwork. Paperwork serves several purposes, from keeping track of equipment to telling your employees how to do their job. We will focus on the latter in this week’s blog post.
EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS ARE A MANDATORY REQUIREMENT FOR YOUR BUSINESS!
Did I get your attention? Good. Now, let me backtrack. Employee Handbooks are surprisingly not required by law. This is probably due to the huge amount of conflicting laws that each state and the federal government have in regards to employment. However, I would highly recommend that you create one for your establishment.
Because an Employee Handbook provides your employees with a set of protocols for how things will be handled at your place of business. This in turn is important because is covers your behind when dealing with everything from perceived favoritism to sexual harassment charges. If every employee receives a manual, they will know that a set of policies and procedures will be followed and (hopefully) applied fairly to each person you employ.
From a managerial point of view, everything in an Employee Handbook can be used to protect you. From what? Wrongful termination claims. Discrimination claims. Sexual harassment claims. You are protected in that the Handbook will contain a Code of Conduct for employees (including management) that establishes expectations for appropriate workplace behavior. And since employees sign off on the handbooks they receive (usually AFTER they read them), you have a record that the employee read and understood the contents of the Handbook. That means they know the rules!
What if an employee does break the rules? Your Handbook should include disciplinary procedures as well as procedures for filing employee complaints. This way the employee knows what they can or cannot do on the job AND what procedures to follow should they see a co-worker/manager doing something they perceive as wrong.
Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
Things will go wrong and your employees should know how to proceed when they do. But an Employee Handbook should contain positive components as well. The story of your company, its history, its culture. All are important parts of getting your employees to understand the how’s and why’s of the way you work.
And every employee wants to know their rights, responsibilities, benefits, and compensation. All things that make people actually show up to work! Don’t forget that the positive components of employment should also be highlighted: time-off policies, vacations, and any flexible work schedule guidlines.
What To Include?
Here is a short list what you should consider in your Employee Handbook
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Employment At-Will (may vary by State)
- ADA Act
- Policy Against Sexual Harassment/Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures
- Drug & Alcohol Policies
- Employee Information (Attire, Equipment, Behavior, etc.)
- Disciplinary Action
- Scheduling/Shift Coverage/Sick Leave
- Job Descriptions by Position
The list can literally go on for pages. I would suggest that you Google Search a few terms and see if you can’t find a format that works for you. Another option is to go out and buy some software. Your Employee Handbooks need not be 60, 50, or even 20 pages long. But they do need to contain the information pertinent to your establishment and the way you conduct business.
Until next time…