Company policies, developed correctly, can be an invaluable tool to help shape the culture of your organization and can also save time and future hassles so that you can focus on running your business. To help you create a successful employee handbook we’ve compiled a list of the type of policies that should be included. To ensure you are legally compliant with local, state and federal employment laws, we recommend working with an employee policy expert. It may also be necessary to consult with a lawyer on certain topics, which a good employee policy expert will help you determine and manage.
Since an employee handbook is one of the first formal communications you will provide an employee after they have been hired make sure that it promotes a positive impression of your company. Your goal should also be to include what employees can uniquely expect from working at your company and set the tone for what you expect from them.
At minimum, a handbook should cover the following broad employment categories:
- Nature of the Employment Relationship: general employment law compliance items such as at-will employment, Equal Employment Opportunity, etc.
- Work Rules and Standards of Conduct: policies that set expectations as to appropriate workplace behaviors such as sexual and other workplace harassment, attendance, conflicts of interest, use of social media, etc.
- Appropriate Use of Property Belonging to the Company: policies that set expectations as to appropriate use of company property such as technology use and security policies, handling of confidential and proprietary information, etc.
- Employment Status and Records: policies that cover events that impact an employee’s information or status such as employment records, performance evaluations, internal transfers, etc.
- Payroll and Timekeeping: sets employee expectations regarding how and when they are paid and breaks and meal periods.
- Time Off and Leaves of Absences: sets expectations as to the company’s time off and leave of absence practices.
- Employee Benefits: general explanation of both health and welfare benefits as well as any fringe benefits the company provides.
If done right a good employee handbook will help you:
- Minimize the risk of a lawsuit occurring in the future.
- Get new hires engaged in your business quickly.
- Avoid redundant questions from employees regarding their career development opportunities and benefits.
- Provide a professional and good impression of your company culture that differentiates you from competitors.
- Put processes in place that reduce the time you spend dealing with day-to-day administrative details or headaches.