How to Draft and Implement an Employee Handbook

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Employee Handbook Development Tips

Many organizations lack an employee handbook, which poses a serious challenge for employees. There are also organizations without one because they don’t feel the need or have reasons such as an incomplete HR professional on staff or work demands taking up their time.

Not writing a personnel manual can lead to conflicts. These could have been prevented with a definitive list of rules for employees and obligations for the employer as well as a list of employee agreements.

This course provides clear answers to multiple questions about developing and implementing an employee handbook.

  1. How should we start our employee handbook?
  2. What is something that should not be missing from the content.
  3. How do you introduce the handbook to new employees. Specifically, what is your process for introducing the handbook to current employees?
  4. How do you incorporate the handbook into new employment contracts?
  5. Why should every organization have an employee handbook?
  • This minimizes the chance of internal miscommunications between an employer and their employee.
  • Humans seek to understand what is expected of them and which rules are intrinsically followed.
  • Employee handbooks include rules and processes for an organization, which can be challenging because you’ll need to write the HR policies.
  • The organization will be legally set to cover most conflicts that occur between employer and employee, and so save on their own expensive time as well as legal counselors.

Target audience

Professionals from small to large organizations in the function of HR professionals, Managers or Managing Directors.

Employee manual

Define a clear and precise goal.

What is the objective of your employee handbook?

This creates a clear and realistic goal to follow through with.

– A manual that guides an organization in creating their own HR policies.- An employee manual that clearly sets out employees’ rights and obligations.

This will keep you focused on what to include and exclude from your employee handbook.

Define your audience.

Who is the target audience of your employee handbook?

– Employees who are new to the organization.- Current employees.- Employees who are transferring from one department to another.

To avoid overlap or create any confusion, you must be specific about the intended audience for drafting and enforcing policies.

This will give them the best possible understanding on their business and employees.

Only by answering these questions will you be able to get an idea of what the most suitable method is in drafting your employee handbook.

The audience will affect how, where, when and why employee policies are implemented as well as the goals and objectives that you set out. It should at least include the following departments:

– HR department. This is an obvious choice as they will probably be involved with drafting and putting policies in place. They may also need to update their own internal procedures as handbooks change.

Training department or a training coordinator – It’s responsible for education employees on how things are done in the organization and any new policies that are implemented.

– Legal department – You should get some advice from them to avoid inadvertently messing up with employment law, and to make sure you have something in place to cover any possible legal action.

Employee handbook policies are usually the same across many organizations but there can be minor differences due to HR policies varying between organizations.

 

HR Policies 

Conduct research to discover the information you need for the employee handbook policy.

Factors include:

– State and federal laws.

– Employee contracts.

The goal of the employee handbook is to cover general policies that are mandatory for an organization, these are usually covered by state and federal laws. Policies such as pay rates, vacation time, sick leave and so on should be clearly outlined in your employee handbook.

– Current policies.

There could be some procedures in place that are mandatory, which should also be made obvious in the employee handbook so new employees can easily step into their shoes and start work immediately. These may include:

– Termination of employment contract guidelines.

– References from previous employers’ names and contact information.

If there are any current policies that will be changing soon, you should include them in the employee handbook.

This way employees can prepare themselves for the changes and be ready to follow through with the new procedures once they are implemented.

– Employee development programs.

If your organization provides employee development or training courses then a section on it is essential for your employee handbook. Employees should be able to see how their development affects their job performance and future advancements in the organization.

– Employee Responsibility and Obligations.

These should cover legal obligations that employees must fulfill such as:

– How to file for sick leave or vacation days.

This is an important section to create because it will cover any legal implications from an employee’s absence.

– How to handle confidential information and data.

This will enable employees to know how they can protect your organization from security breaches or even theft of company assets. They will be able to understand the consequences of breaching confidentiality agreements as well as what they should do if anything like this happens.

– And more.

The Employee Handbook will also include policies that are aimed at employee efficiency and responsibility, such as:

– An outline of the organization’s structure.

Employees will be able to see which department does what for them so they can easily pinpoint their main point of contact should they encounter a problem or have questions about something in the handbook.

– Diversity and equal opportunities in the workplace.

This will make employees aware of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to diversity and other issues, such as sexual orientation or religion, that can arise at work. It’s important to include this section in your employee handbook because it doesn’t only allow employees to know how they should behave but it is good for the organization’s image as well.

 

Conduct research to discover the information you need for the employee handbook policy.

Analyze the data and create a list of possible content in your employee handbook.

The content of your handbook will depend on the information you have gathered from your research and data analysis. This is why it is crucial to do prior research to obtain all information needed for writing a comprehensive employee handbook.

Your handbook may include any or all of this:

– How the business runs.

This contains business names and details that are necessary for your employees to know, such as:

– Location of business.

– How to contact each department.

– Company data like number of employees and company history.

This will help new employees integrate into the organization more easily and become more knowledgeable about the workplace when it is time to start work. You can organize this section into a table with the following headings:

– How to apply for employment. This details how employees should go about applying for openings in your organization and who they contact. It should also include information on deadlines, application requirements and necessary documents that are required such as copies of educational credentials or references from previous employers.

– Salary plans.

– Employee benefits.

Employee benefits are something that your company should be proud of, it will show employees how much they are valued and appreciated by the business for their services. This section also includes dental plans, vision coverage, life insurance, health care coverage and others.

– Workplace issues & disputes.

– Conflict Resolution.

– How to handle confidential information & data in the workplace. This section should include how employees are expected to protect your company’s sensitive or critical information, such as trade secrets or client contact details.

– How to address a grievance and respect diversity in the workplace. Your employee handbook should also address any topics that can arise at work, such as sexual harassment, violence in the workplace and diversity.

– How to handle bullying.

– How to address discrimination and other issues that may be related to a person’s gender or race.

– And more.

Your employee handbook can also include policies for employees who are leaving the organization such as:

– Forms for departing employees to fill out.

– How and when they should hand in their access card or keys.

– And more.

Analyze the data and create a list of possible content in your employee handbook.

 

Create a list of employee responsibilities that should be included in your handbook.

For example: (Speak about various forms of misconduct such as–sexual harassment, violence and gossiping)

– The importance of confidentiality.

This means employees should respect any and all confidential information that is discussed at work or brought into the workplace.

– Behavior in the workplace. Employees should behave in a professional manner while on duty especially when dealing with clients or other staff members.

– How to dress appropriately for work. Attire such as dressing too casually for work could be unprofessional.

– How to treat other staff members or customers that visit the business.

Employees should also know what they can and cannot do while in the workplace such as checking their social media accounts when on duty or using certain devices at work.

– The importance of reporting any accidents or injuries from work and what to do.

– How to troubleshoot any issues that may arise in the workplace.

– Expectations while on duty, such as working shifts or attending meetings.

Validate the draft with other employees or HR professionals who will not be involved in editing it further, but have enough experience to help with the content.

Your target audience is your employee, so you should also validate the draft with people in similar positions to them. Test out the content and see if it makes sense for others working at your company.

Once you have done this, rewrite some of the material and edit the text for grammar, clarity and creativity. You can also ask a writer to help with this process. HR experts can also suggest or recommend changes to the material that would be most helpful for employees.

 

Create a table of contents and an introduction, then begin writing sections that you feel are important to include in your manual.

For example:

– How to apply for employment :

– Salary plans :

– Bullying policy :

– And more.

Employee handbooks are not usually written because of the difficulty and pain in continually updating them as well as a lack of time that some organizations have. Many times an organization may even go without one, but employees should be aware that is something required by law if you work with any company that has more than 5 employees. An employee handbook should be able to summarize the rules, procedures and policies of a company in an easy way for employees to understand.

Employee handbooks can help manage the ongoing business stresses by providing detailed information on how organizations intend to run and offer advantages such as:

– Improved relationships and a clear environment that is free from any miscommunication.

– Better performance by employees as well as less employee turnover, which leads to cost savings, happier customers and better employee relations.

– A greater sense of trust between employer and employee that benefits both parties involved in the process.

Employee handbooks can also help reduce the legal risks of a company. They can protect an organization from breach of contract and discrimination claims by providing employees with clear rules and policies to follow in addition to disciplinary actions for when they aren’t followed.

Employee handbooks are not only required by law, but they help minimize liability as well determine employee conduct which benefits both employers and employees.

How to draft and Implement an Employee Handbook

Once this has been done, start creating sections for the manual.

For example: You can have a section on employee procedures or job descriptions. These sections don’t need to be numerous and detailed, but you should mention them in your employee handbook. Some organizations may not even create a section for these, which is why it’s sometimes hard for an employee to know exactly what their job is and what they are required to do.

Typical sections in a personnel manual could include:

– Job descriptions : This should be included as it gives the employees a clear picture of what their job does and how important it is to the business.

Employees need to know what is expected of them if they want to stay employed, which a manual can let them know in clear terms. A personnel handbook should include information about all types of employees including entry level positions as well as the senior management team at the company.

The employee handbook will often inform the employee about job requirements, benefits and employment policies. The employee handbook is an essential part of every company as it gives information to new and existing employees about the company, job description, benefits, policies and other things that they need to know at work.

The employee handbook could include:

– Definitions :

– Rules & Policies :

– Benefits :

– Evaluation procedures :

– Discipline policies :

– Pay rates & benefits :

– Advancement opportunities :

This employee handbook also assists in the development of a positive and productive work environment that is free from any bullying, discrimination or harassment. The most important thing to remember about an employee handbook is that it should be a guide and not an exact rule book. It should give employees the main points of how to act, conduct themselves and work but it shouldn’t give extra minute details that can go beyond what is necessary.

Employee handbooks should also include more than just policies, but benefits as well. Even if your company doesn’t offer any or has a low amount of benefits, it’s still important to let employees know that they are provided by the company.

Employee handbooks can also provide employees with feedback or ways for them to improve in their performance. Employees would feel motivated if they received this information in an easy manner and not just through oral changes. This will ensure that every employee is aware of their performance and what they need to do in order to improve. This sets clear expectations for the employee, which in turn creates a positive work environment.

A personnel manual is distributed to employees once they are hired by the company or any other time during employment. The main purpose of a personnel manual is to be an information source that informs employees of company policies, benefits and procedures. Personnel manuals are an essential tool to have in any company workplace.

 

Write a draft that is in line with legal obligations and employee expectations.

When writing an employee handbook, it should follow the law of the country you are in. In addition to national laws, you must also abide by any registered agreements or collective bargaining agreements that your company is bound to.

The primary purpose of this document (personnel manual) is to support proper communication between Management and employees. This document should consist of policies and procedures that educate new employees about the operations, employment terms and conditions. It is important to make sure that a personnel manual includes all necessary information for a company or organization.

A good policy should be short and simple; clear in its meaning; easy to read; written in everyday language, not convoluted business-speak; and created by someone who understands employee behavior. A good employee handbook is concise and easily accessible.

The policy should be available to employees at their work sites in a central location for easy retrieval or downloaded onto the company intranet site. Certain policies may have to be placed into some separate documents that can be changed as circumstances change.

Transfer the information with great care from paper to computer and write edits by hand, when needed. 

Once you draft your document into a computer, do some final edits. Proofread it to make sure there aren’t any errors or spelling mistakes. The employee handbook should be reviewed by the officers of the company before distribution.

Collaborate with others who may have different views or opinions when writing an employee handbook as this will result in a more detailed employee handbook. After the policy manual has been written, it should be reviewed for its effectiveness by a group of employees and managers.

Investigate what you’ll need to implement an employee handbook, including HR solutions that are new or updated.

Investigate what you need to implement an employee handbook that will benefit your company. The best way to go about getting this information would be to interview those who have gone through the process already. Research is a must when writing an employee handbook.

Look for other companies that are similar in nature or size and ask them how they implemented their employee handbook in order to learn what is best for you. This will ensure that your company is successful with its employee manual and gain the trust of employees.

Employees should be involved in a process where they see their options, levels of risk, choices and can provide input into HR policies.

In order to implement your employee handbook, you need to do so in a way that provides a smooth transition and doesn’t disrupt work at all. Here are some steps you can follow when implementing your employee handbook:

– Talk with the current HR Leader or supervisor about what needs to be added and how it should be done.

– Publish the draft employee handbook on your website or other accessible platform for employees to view and provide you with their feedback.

– Make sure there’s enough time for all employees to go through the manual before implementing it as policy.

– Prepare a meeting for all employees to attend and explain what is in the employee handbook. You can provide beverages, snacks, etc. for this meeting as well. This will help your employees be more comfortable with the new employee handbook.

– After reading through your employee manual or updated version of it, you can face any questions that employees may have and answer them. Also do not forget to thank them for taking the time to go over your employee manual with you.

Implementation of policies is important, but it is equally as important that changes are communicated to employees. It is a good idea to keep an open dialogue between your company’s management/supervisor and employees when it comes to changes that will happen as a result of implementing your employee handbook. Provide opportunities for both parties to ask any questions they may have about the new employee manual and how it will affect their work, etc.

Ensure that your employees are informed about the contents of the handbook and discuss it with them.

Informing all employees of your employee manual can be done in many ways, such as sending out emails or mailers to everyone. You could even put up notices with the contents of the handbook around the office for ease. An informational meeting should also take place soon after its implementation. In order to properly inform your employees about your employee handbook, you should have meetings to go over the contents of it. Doing this will help your employees understand what is expected from them and what they can expect as well.

It’s important for managers and supervisors to provide training to their employees that goes beyond handing out a copy of the employee manual. Make sure you are providing enough training on the employee handbook for your managers and supervisors. It should be done in a way that allows them to explain the contents of the manual to their employees. This can reduce friction between employees and management from occurring as well.

Implement a plan for how often you will send out notices to employees, reminding them of the rules in place.

Some sessions may be mandatory, such as new hire orientation.

This will give employees a clear understanding of how the policies in your employee handbook work and what they can expect from it. A good idea is to have a policy that shows how frequently you will remind employees about their responsibilities in the employee manual and when they are going to take place.

Ask for Employee Feedback about your employee handbook

To have the greatest effect, employee handbooks must be written in a way that not only provides organizations with clear policies and directives but also gives employees insight as to why those rules exist. By encouraging ongoing interaction between employers and employees, you can ensure that your employee manual continues to meet your needs as an organization.

This can be done by rewarding people for giving feedback and suggestions on how to make your employee manual better. If you do this, it will help improve your staff’s morale, which is vital to any business.

The objective of the handbook is not only to communicate policies but also to give employees a sense of ownership in the organization. This can be done by including a section about the company’s history as well. Including employee testimonials and how their culture of giving feedback has helped shape the handbook will make it easier for your employees to give reviews and participate in meetings designed to improve them.

Implementation of the employee handbook

If you have an employee handbook in place, examine whether it is really being followed and if not, take necessary steps for their adoption.

It is important to have an ongoing dialogue about the policy if you want your employee manual to work. The more positive and open communication you can establish with employees, the better off your company will be.

An employee manual that does not provide a clear sense of direction for employees causes problems. Having an employee handbook that not only tells what needs to be done but why they need to do it is crucial in order to get employees behind your policies.

[…] an employee handbook that leaves room for interpretation can lead to more problems than solutions. If you have an employee handbook, examine whether or not your staff are following it and if not, discuss why with them. You could also include a section for them to give feedback on the policies in your employee handbook as well. This will make it easier for you and your staff to understand each other.

Employee handbooks also help attract employees that are looking for fair employers. If you have an employee handbook, focus on communicating its purpose rather than just stating what is allowed and what is not. Include a section that explains why those policies are in place and how they keep your business successful as well.

Employees want to know where they stand and what’s expected of them. Be sure to clearly state the benefits you offer, such as paid sick leave or if an employee handbook is required, make it clear what is required for a manual to be considered valid.

Make your messages convenient and practical in the time crunch of everyday work.  If you have an employee handbook that’s easily accessible on your company website, it will make it easier for employees to look it up instead of having to take time out of their day to read something. Include links so that employees can easily access it from their computer, not as a PDF file.

Enforce your employee handbook through disciplinary measures if an employee decides to break the rules.

Employee discipline is very important, and it should follow the same guidelines as are used when dealing with other policies in the employee manual. It can be helpful to have a list of possible consequences for violating the rules laid out in your employee handbook.

According to HR experts, the best way to deal with employee discipline is one-on-one. Meet with them if they have broken the policies in your employee handbook and discuss what happened as well as why it was wrong.

Getting your staff behind your policies and documenting them properly will prevent problems from arising in the first place. This is something that many employers overlook when drafting up their employee manual.

Company Culture

When creating an employee handbook, a great place to start is by outlining the company’s values and culture. This will help promote consistency between its policies and it can also create an environment of trust among employees.

Employment relationship

Employees can feel secure knowing that they are protected by your policies. Some states have laws which make it illegal to not comply with these safety measures, so employers need to take them seriously. Employment law is constantly changing and you should consult legal counsel before putting any of this in writing. If a company does not have an employee handbook of any kind, they can be sued by their employees for not providing one.

Employee Loyalty

Employees will be more loyal to an employer who offers fair policies and clear guidelines for success. Having a set of well-written employee handbook that promotes openness between employees and management is essential in getting them to feel secure about their jobs.

How your staff feels about the company can affect how productive they are at work. This is why it is important to make your employees feel like they are respected and supported.

Employee handbook template

A good employee handbook template won’t just help you stay organized with a simple outline, but it will also make sure that all of your policies are in place and consistent. It helps employees know what’s expected from them as well as gives them a step-by-step process for dealing with problems or issues that may arise at work.

There are a variety of ways to lay out your employee handbook, and there are pros and cons to each of them. A spiral bound book is one option that looks professional but may be cumbersome for employees to take on the go. An online format could be great because it’s convenient but this also means that it will have to be updated frequently.

Independent Contractors

While drafting your employee handbook, you may feel tempted to make reference to independent contractors in order to save time during your hiring processes. You do not need to implement a separate set of rules for them because there are laws that protect them.

Technology

If you have high-tech equipment in the workplace, such as computers or copiers, it’s best to outline how they should be used and for what purposes. Employees need to understand that they may not use these things for other personal reasons while at work because it can pose a serious distraction if more than one person is using them. Additional employee handbook templates can be found online and you should spend time going through them to make sure that they match your company’s culture and mission statement.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Equal Employment Opportunity 

It’s important to make sure that your employees feel welcome and supported, no matter their gender, race or other characteristics. This means providing a workplace environment where everyone is accepted and valued. You can do this by clearly outlining your company policies for discrimination, sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity.

 Discrimination 

This policy should include examples of what discrimination looks like and how employees are expected to conduct themselves. If there is ever a case where an employee witnesses or suspects any type of harassment or discrimination, it’s important for them to report it immediately so that action can be taken.

 Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This includes demeaning jokes and subtle forms of harassment as well as more explicit ones. The employee handbook should warn employees that this form of behavior will not be tolerated and outline what can be done if it does happen, such as disciplinary action or filing a formal complaint.

 Volunteer Programs

Depending on your company’s size, it may be important to offer volunteer programs to help the community and incentivize employees. This will also help with recruitment as well if you make it clear that potential candidates are welcome to follow up about volunteering during interviews.

 Employee Discipline: Corrective Action Plan

When employees do not complete their assigned work or neglect to perform their duties, disciplinary action may be necessary. The corrective action plan should outline how performance issues will be handled and whether they are temporary or permanent. It should also include steps that need to be taken in order to avoid further problems.

sick leave and absenteeism

It’s important to outline the amount of sick days that your employees will receive and how they can request them. You may also want to include absences as well since they may have a negative impact on work performance.

 Employee Benefits: Healthcare, Childcare, Etc.

Depending on the type of company you’re working for and the employee benefits that you offer, this section should be clearly outlined in your employee handbook. You may want to consider offering their family members a few days off while the employee is sick or has childcare assistance if there are working parents on staff.

Grievance Procedures

Most business owners would like their employees to feel comfortable enough to come forward if they have a complaint about something in the workplace. The grievance procedures outline how employees can come forward and address any issues that they may have. It’s important to make sure there is an unbiased mediator if other employees are involved so that no one feels intimidated.

Leaves of Absence: Family-Related, Etc.

In addition to sick days and childcare assistance, you may also want to outline other types of leaves that your employees may need. This includes maternity or paternity leave as well as medical-related leaves.

 Lifestyle Discrimination

The employer is not allowed to discriminate against an employee because of their lifestyle choices, including what they wear at work or how they behave at work. This includes any negative comments made against them because of these choices, such as passing judgment or making negative assumptions.

 Sexual Orientation

Employers are also not allowed to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation, whether they identify as a straight man or woman or if they’re bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgender. This also includes any negative comments made about these employees or assumptions.

 Religion

Employees are not allowed to be discriminated against based on their religious beliefs, whether they practice a particular faith that may conflict with your company’s practices or if they choose not to participate in certain activities such as the annual Christmas party. Any negative comments made about this or assumptions about this should also be avoided.

 Disability Discrimination and Accommodations

Employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees based on their disability, including any physical or mental condition that may require special assistance or accommodations in the workplace. This is true even if the employee’s use of medications may cause negative side effects or harm them at work.

 Safety Policies :

Uniforms, Protective Equipment, and Ergonomics

The employer is required to make sure that employees aren’t exposed to any unsafe or hazardous working conditions. This includes using protective equipment or following established safety policies when handling certain tools or machinery. The employer should also give detailed guidelines for setting up their workspace in an ergonomic way if they’re experiencing back or knee pain.

Safety Policies

 Labour Law and other legislations

Employers should also make sure they’re following all other legislations including any labour laws and HR policies. These may include how employees can request information from human resources, expense reimbursement guidelines or what kind of work documents need to be kept in the employee’s file.

Violation of Company Employee Policies

If violations occur, it’s important for employers to have a clear outline of how these violations will be handled. This should include the steps that need to be followed in order for violations to be resolved, along with any possible consequences or disciplinary actions.

Posting and Distribution

The employee handbook needs to be posted on an easily accessible and visible area in the workplace where all employees can see it. This should include the employee handbook itself as well as any other policies that are relevant to employees, such as the company’s sexual harassment policy or safety guidelines.

Signatures and Dates

Employees need to sign a document stating that they have read and understood their employee handbook. This should include an annual review of all documents to check for any updates and changes. Another option is to have employees sign on an annual basis that they still understand their employee handbook, whether there’s a general understanding or only specific details about their role in the company.

Employee Training

It’s also important for employees to be given periodic training by managers and human resources professionals to ensure they understand all the policies that are outlined in their employee handbook. This can also prepare them for any upcoming changes or updates to their employee handbook.

Relevant Employers

Human resource managers and professionals should make sure they’re aware of all pertinent legislation for the industry they serve, such as construction and health care. This could include training on how to deal with issues such as sexual harassment, the appropriate way to terminate employee or any documentation that needs to be filed with government authority.

Employees Changes

HR professionals should also make sure that employees are given a copy of their updated handbook on an annual basis. This is to ensure they understand all of the company’s policies and procedures that have been added or changed since the previous year. This is also to ensure all employees are up to date on any changes in benefits, vacation time and other policies provided by their employer or company.

Dissemination of Information

Employers should also look into ways of disseminating information about their employee handbook to every employee on a regular basis. This can be through internal newsletters or other ways such as by sending emails to employees about new changes.

Legal Considerations

Employer manuals should also outline what kind of employee information needs to be included in the employee’s file and how long this information needs to be kept for legal purposes, along with the guidelines for filing any other documentation.

Conclusion

An effective employee handbook will make it easier to hold onto the best employees. This is because well-written policies can show that you are willing to take time and effort into finding out what your employees need and writing them down in a written format. A good employee handbook will also set clear expectations for all employees to follow. This can make it easier for you and your staff to work together because everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, both the employer and the employee.

Your employee handbook may end up being referenced in court if there is a dispute. If there’s an ongoing disagreement, one of your employees could bring their case to court, and if you have a clear employee handbook that explains the policies and procedures that are in place, it will be beneficial to you and your staff. Your employee handbook should also state how the HR department can be reached in case of an emergency, which is helpful because it shows just how serious your company is about its employees safety.