The employee handbook is the linchpin that keeps your business together. It provides a framework of polices and practices that will shape your company’s future. Even so, many employers don’t give this handy guide the attention it deserve. As you think over your handbook, the following are some crucial elements we advice our clients to include.
It’s a good idea to start your handbook with a copy of your company’s mission statement. This provides a clear guideline of the objectives each employee should strive to achieve. It also helps employees identify the ways their work helps the team achieve the aims and goals of the organization.
Sexual Harassment Policy
“We don’t tolerate sexual harassment” isn’t sufficient to protect your business from a lawsuit. It’s imperative that you identify what qualifies as sexual harassment. You should also establish a clear policy that covers how complaints, investigations, and penalties are handled. This should include penalties up to and including termination.
As with sexual harassment, it is not enough to say you won’t tolerate discrimination based on sex, religion, age, etc. You must clearly explain your anti-discrimination policy and the penalties for violating company policies.
Social Media Policy
It is not possible to prohibit employees from using social media including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. on their own time. However, you can limit their activity at work. You can also limit what they may post in regard to confidential or proprietary information. This includes prohibiting photos of the office and details of projects they work on. Your social media policies should be updated as new platforms emerge and new threats become apparent.
Vacation, Sick Days, Leave of Absences, Flexwork, Telecommuting, etc.
All work and no play is not a company policy that retains employees for long. There is life outside of work and your employees will want to take time off to spend with family, go to the doctor, and explore hobbies and other interests. You should include the types and amount of leave offered by the company. It is also important to identify how leave is requested and the approval process.
Your employee handbook should thoroughly address any flexible working arrangements and telecommuting options you allow. As the 21st century workplace evolves, these two policies are vital for attracting and retaining top talent. Finally, all policies should include a thorough section on FMLA leave and employees’ rights and responsibilities in this regard.
Conflict Resolution, Workplace Violence, & Disciplinary Procedures
Whether you have two employees or two thousand, you are going to have conflict at some point in time. Your employee handbook should discuss how employee conflicts are handled and any disciplinary measures that may be applied. In particular, the policy should thoroughly cover misconduct, bullying, workplace violence, fraud, and other employee behaviors.
Your employee handbook is a fluid document. It is not something that is set in stone. It should be updated as new laws come into effect, and new problems emerge in your enterprise. Making timely updates will help you stay complaint with labor laws and protect your business against lawsuits and diminishing morale.
We encourage you to contact Greenlink Payroll at (480) 385-2525 for more information about essentials to include in your employee handbook. Our HR professionals are happy to help you ensure that critical details are included and easy to find for your employees.