Creating an effective Employee Handbook31 Dec, 1969 By: Editorial Staff imageSource
Creating an effective Employee Handbook
As a small business owner, you can keep yourself out of
legal hot water by clearly spelling out what you expect of the people who work
for you with an employee handbook. Employee handbooks help cut misunderstandings
and avoid legal trouble by detailing—in writing—how you want your staff to
conduct business. An employee handbook can keep you from facing an expensive
lawsuit should someone charge that your policies are unfair or discriminatory.
The tips below will help you create a document that will serve your company
• "At Will" statement, non-discrimination, and no
harassment policies. Employment “At will” means that your company has the right
to terminate the relationship with the employee at any time without cause, and
your employee has the right to leave at any particular time.
• Company rules and regulations (dress code,
confidentiality, safety regulations, etc.).
• Specifics on vacation, sick, holidays, and/or paid time
• Overtime laws and overtime approval policy.
• The do’s and don’ts of your company.
• Specific human resources policies.
Be clear, concise and—most importantly—be consistent. The
purpose of your employee handbook is to communicate your company's policies to
your employees. It is essential that it be written clearly and directly so there
is no chance for confusion.
PRODUCING THE DOCUMENT
You might think of an employee handbook as this big, thick
printed manual, but many small businesses can easily make do with something much
simpler. It’s not the look of your handbook that's important. It's what's inside
You can also save on legal fees by writing your employee
handbook yourself instead of turning the project over to your HR professional or
attorney. It is important that your policies are in accordance with federal,
state and local laws. If it is a new handbook or new employee, be sure to have
all employees sign for it. This form should state that the employee received the
handbook and understands your company's policies. Give a copy of the signed form
to the employee, and place another in the employee's file. This signed document
will help protect you from claims that a person was fired for rules he or she
did not know about or understand.