Before you plunge into creating that amazing Employee Handbook (and while you are at it, why not make it an e-Handbook?), remember that the Employee Handbook is created first for the Employee, as much as it is for the organization. So, make it something they want to read okay? And because it can be such an important branding tool, it certainly wouldn't hurt for it to look AWESOME.
Alright, here we go - keep these 8 points at the back of your mind as those gears start turning...
Describe Your Corporate Values and Culture
The most effective handbooks accurately reflect a company’s corporate values and culture. By describing your company’s mission and values, it can be used as a platform to help establish authentic corporate culture and encourage loyalty to the employer brand. Get them excited!
State Your HR Policies
Stating policies in your handbook, gives you a measure of legal protection in the event that an employee sues you for wrongful termination, harassment or illegal discrimination. Giving employees clear guidelines, clears up confusion and avoids conflict down the line. Furthermore they create a structured work environment and help build company loyalty.
Specify Employee Conduct
Make sure you have thought out your expectations for how employees should conduct themselves in your workplace. General working policies, such as dress codes, standards of conduct, confidentiality, business expense reimbursement and discipline should be included in your handbook.
Explain the Benefits
Your company’s handbook should detail all benefit programs and eligibility requirements, including all benefits that may be required by law. It should also detail any programs or fringe benefits your business provides to attract and retain employees.
Create a Reader-Friendly & Great Looking Handbook
Use simple and clear language as far as possible. Employees should find the handbook easy to read and understand, and not be baffled by confusing terminologies. And it certainly helps to have a great looking handbook (hint: cool visuals + videos really make a difference!)
Cover your legal bases
It is important to include a disclaimer that clearly states that the handbook is not a contract of employment. This will prevent terminated employees from suing you for a breach of contract at a later date.
Include An Employee Acknowledgement Page
To protect your business, it’s a good practice to require all employees to acknowledge with a signed document that they have received and read the handbook. The acknowledgement page should state that the employee understands it is their responsibility to read and follow the policies stated in the handbook and they recognize that all contents in the handbook are subject to change.
Have a Lawyer Review Your Handbook
Lastly, to protect your company from any potential legal trouble, engage an experienced lawyer to review your handbook. The investment is worth your peace of mind!