For most businesses, an employee handbook is just another requirement from HR.
Often, it can be a forgotten book of policies rarely referenced by the company. However, it can be so much more for your business.
Karen Young, President of HR Resolutions in Harrisburg shares 5 important tips for managing an employee handbook.
ENSURE YOUR POLICIES ARE UP TO DATE
Keeping rules up to date can seem like a boring and monotonous task, but because unenforced policies can open you up to litigation, it is important for both employees and employers to make sure the entire handbook is reasonable and relevant. In unprecedented times, such as now, it is ever more important to acknowledge this.
AFTER EVERY HANDBOOK UPDATE, BE SURE TO HAVE AN EMPLOYEES’ SIGNATURE
When it comes down to it, handbooks do not typically change that often. When small policy adjustments need to be made, send out an addendum. However, when necessary to make official changes, do make sure to get an employee signature sent out confirming the notice of said changes.
HAVING “HARD CONVERSATIONS”
If one employee in particular violates the handbook, rather than creating a new policy, be courageous and have these “hard conversations” as they show your commitment to a healthy work environment. While it may be more comfortable to avoid such direct communication, it is not guaranteed that the message will get to the right employee and could create unnecessary tension in the work environment.
USE YOUR HANDBOOK AS AN EMPLOYEE RETENTION TOOL
You can use the handbook for more than just a rulebook. It can add value to the employee’s experience with your business. Be sure to talk about employee protection and ensure the safety and enjoyment potential your company has to offer. Read your handbook through the eyes of an employee. Ask yourself how you can bring the culture of your company into the handbook.
AS A MANAGER/OWNER
It is important to know the content of the handbook and live up to the policies regardless of your role in a company. Leading by example and showing this through an extensive understanding of your company’s rulebook demonstrates your strengths as a leader. Karen reminds us: “I promise you, if you are violating one of the policies, your employees know it! They may not say anything… until they need to!” reiterating that if it is not a policy you will follow, you should leave it out of the handbook. If you have a disciplinary process, take a look at it and make sure you are following it. Ask yourself if it is broad enough. Read through all of the policies and ask: “Am I prepared to fire my best employee over a violation of this policy?” If the answer is no, change, update, or remove the policy.
If you realize that your handbook could use some refinement, reach out to Karen for additional help. www.dramafreehr.com
Video excerpt taken from an interview on The Shrimp Tank Podcast. An entrepreneurship podcast where we interview some of the region’s best and brightest business owners. Tune in to our Facebook Live broadcast every Thursday at 4 or catch a replay on our website below: