Creating a bullet-proof Employee Handbook
An employee handbook can create the foundation of employee performance and help protect your business against potential lawsuits, or it can be a document that confuses employees and makes it virtually impossible to maintain your legal defences. It all depends on how well it's written and put to use.
It is worth ensuring you are proactive and not reactive when dealing with your Employee handbook. Trying to update, maintain or even creating your handbook on the fly can produce a document that is, in fact, inconsistent with the way your business is actually conducted.
Some quick tips to consider when working on your Employee Handbook:
Don't let it collect dust
- Regularly update your handbook to incorporate changes in law and your company policies and make sure everyone knows which version is in force. It is wise, however, to not include those aspects of working life that might change quite regularly.
- Ensure consistency with other company documents.
Keep it simple
- Your handbook needs to be written in plain English and ensure poor wording will not result in incorrect contractual arrangements being inadvertently referred to.
- Basic information covered should include policies and rules on sexual harassment, equal employment opportunity, meal/break periods, overtime, pay periods, discipline, leave, absenteeism, grievances, ethics, email/phone use, dress code, safety and substance abuse.
- Be wary of providing too many specifics on each policy. Not only will it make your handbook grow too large and unlikely to be read, but you can box yourself in by trying to detail the consequences of every situation.
Have employees sign off
- It is best to document employees' agreement to the handbook by having them sign and return an acknowledgement form.
Your employee handbook is the one document that can create many legal issues for you if not completed or maintained correctly. If you think you could be at risk…contact Akyra for an obligation free conversation.