The Importance of an Employee Handbook
Has that Employee Handbook been sitting on the “to do” pile too long gathering dust? Before your allergies kick in, it’s time to take a fresh look at your Handbook to make sure it’s current, polished, and compliant!
Below are a few good tips to follow:
- Internally review your Handbook at least annually. Pick a quiet time to read through the Handbook uninterrupted – front to back – looking for outdated policies, inconsistencies, unclear wording, or other areas of improvement.
- Are your policies consistent with current practice? If there’s inconsistency, either the policy or the practice needs to change.
- During the year, keep a “working copy” of the Handbook to jot down notes where changes need to be made or where precedent has been set. Also keep a folder for relevant articles, newsletters or other materials to be considered when updating the Handbook. Keeping notes on an on-going basis will make updating a breeze!
- Make sure your policies are compliant with both federal and state regulations. For instance, Paid Sick Time and mini-COBRA are benefits specific to Arizona employers.
- As part of the review process, check to see that you have all of the necessary policies in place such as, but not limited to Disclaimer, Handbook Acknowledgment, Anti-Harassment, Family and Medical Leave Act /Leaves of Absence, Arizona Paid Sick Time, Drug and Alcohol, Computer, Internet and Cell Phone Usage, etc.). Don’t forget policies that are just simply good to have too: Standards of Conduct/Disciplinary Action, Attendance, Employment Classifications, etc.
- Does your Handbook speak to your audience? The document should be easy-to-read, allow for efficient searching of policies, and not full of legal mumbo jumbo.
- Every two to three years, consider having the Handbook professionally reviewed. Employment laws and human resource practices change often and should be reflected in the documents given to new and existing employees. Also, a fresh pair of eyes of a third-party HR professional can point out areas of confusion, misunderstanding or use of unknown jargon.
- When an update is made, distribute the new policy or revised Handbook as quickly as possible to ensure employees are aware of the changes. This can be done in hardcopy or electronically if employees have easy access to electronic documents.
- When the changes are significant or when a new Handbook is distributed, it’s a good idea to have employees sign a new receipt form acknowledging that they have received the new information.
- If you currently don’t have an Employee Handbook, it’s time to get on the bandwagon! An Employee Handbook is a great resource tool for setting up expectations, communicating benefits, creating consistency in policy administration – and is many times your first line of defense should an employee file a legal claim and/or for Unemployment Insurance purposes.
Keeping your policies current can enhance compliance as well as reduce the number of questions or issues that can arise in the workplace. Who wouldn’t want that? Whether it’s whipping up your Handbook from scratch or just getting it off the back burner – let HR ala Carte help! Feel free to contact Betsy for more information or for a ‘no obligations’ quote.
Betsy DeLaet is President and owner of HR ala Carte LLC. With over 25 years of practical experience, Betsy has a diverse background that includes human resource management, handbook and policy development, human resource assessments, employee relations, performance management, training, and strategic planning/execution. She brings a broad understanding and appreciation for all types of organizations ranging from small start-up and growing employers to non-profit organizations, manufacturers, health care, and corporate clients.
About HR ala Carte LLC
HR ala Carte LLC is a company focused on providing project-based human resources to small and mid-sized companies. We’re there for you as a subject matter expert for specific projects, as your HR “go-to”, or just to be an extra pair of hands when and where the need is there. We fill a gap for companies who don’t have an HR presence or who have an HR department but understand the value of selective outsourcing.
It’s….”HR when you need it…How you want it!”
Betsy DeLaet – (262) 424-0264
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