If you’re new to having employees, it’s time to start thinking about putting together an employee handbook. Having all your processes documented and in one easy-to-access place will make transitioning new staff a breeze.
What to Include
You don’t want to write a tome, so decide what’s important to cover in your handbook. The high points should include:
– Overview of company, history, contacts
– Rules for employees
– Policies for vacation and sick leave, as well as employee breaks
– Harassment policies and procedures
Remember: your employee handbook serves as a legal document. If you have a problem with misconduct with an employee, he can’t claim you didn’t tell him he couldn’t show up to work drunk if it’s in black and white in your handbook.
The front of your handbook should greet new staff and give them the information they need on your company. It may be useful to include some history to provide perspective and help the employee better understand your business.
Also include those helpful tidbits, like parking information, lunch hours, break time, rules for the breakroom, payday details, et cetera.
Include a directory if appropriate, of your staff, their phone numbers, and email addresses.
Your rules section will likely be the longest. Again, though, prioritize. Is dress code really important to mention if everyone works from home or you have a casual dress policy? The shorter and more to-the-point you make your handbook, the more likely new hires are to actually read it.
One big area companies often have problems with is the use of personal devices, or checking email or social media during work hours. What’s your stance on this? If you want to forbid it, make sure you specify this in your handbook.
Make sure to mention what you think is obvious (Come to work on time. Don’t steal from the company) just to ensure your bases are covered. Also talk about consequences. Is an employee automatically fired at first offense, or just given a warning?
Taking Time Off
You have a process for staff who want to take vacation time, so here’s where to outline it for newcomers. Mention how much vacation time they’re entitled to, as well as how they accrue it.
Include details on sick time off, as well, and don’t forget to include information on the Family Medical Leave Act.
What should an employee do if she’s feeling harassed by another employee? If you have an HR department, that’s likely the first course of action. Outline the process for filing a complaint in the handbook so your staff feels secure knowing you have their interests at heart.
It’s probably a good idea to review your employee handbook annually and make updates as necessary to ensure it remains relevant to your staff.