Whether you are a veteran business owner or a newbie in a start up business, you may question the real need behind creating an employee handbook, especially given the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the office. An employee handbook, however, is an important way to curate a harmonious workplace and create an invaluable resource.
Employee handbooks are both a sword to carve out the future mission of your business and a shield to protect you and your team members from conflicts that could arise in the future.
Let’s explore the top five reasons why an employee handbook is a valuable tool for both employees and employers alike.
#1 Define Your Company Culture, Mission & Values
One of the most important aspects of an employee handbook is to explain the company culture and what values you hold dear. Your mission will help employees know how they will be able to contribute to the overall purpose of the business and what sets your company apart from others in the industry.
For instance, your company may explain that they value a healthy life-work balance. That could mean that they offer flex scheduling, a remote work option, or time off for family events. Another example might be valuing education with the company providing training or subsidized college classes to further your knowledge in a given area.
#2 Defines Company Policies & Expectations
New and current employees alike want to know what is expected of them. They want to know what days they need to work, what hours, and what the dress code will be.
An employee handbook can outline, in a detailed fashion, who to contact if you are ill and unable to come into work, what security measures you should take with company technology, and what’s involved in the drug and alcohol policies.
Human resources will be able to organize sections of your employee handbook to make it clear what rules each employee should follow and what the consequences will be if they are not.
#3 Explanation of Company Support & Resources
Even with a clearly written handbook, employees inevitably have questions about how and when to complete certain tasks. They also might need to know where to complain about operational matters or harassment situations. A handbook can explain the resources that are available to each employee and who they can turn to for help.
A handbook is a map of sorts to help employees know where to turn for help from small instances of concern to larger, business-wide conflicts.
#4 Showcase Company Benefits
The section of every employee handbook that gets the most use is the benefits section.
This part of the handbook will detail what holidays are paid days off, how vacation time is used, the accruing of sick time, and how to set up a 401(k), health insurance, paid parental leave or other benefits.
This section of the handbook is critical for employees to see how they will be able to build vacation time and move up through the company as they gain experience and skills.
#5 Minimize Risk & Conflict
Ultimately, an employee handbook is meant to not only spell out the culture, rules, and benefits for employees to understand, but serve as a legal shield and protector of risk for businesses. Employment-related lawsuits and claims are often based on inconsistent treatment or lack of notice of company policies and procedures. The handbook is a way of protecting a company by showing how they are complying with state and federal laws.