5 Tips for Creating an Employee Handbook | Fora Financial Blog
5 Tips for Creating an Employee Handbook
July 13, 2018

5 Tips for Creating an Employee Handbook

A comprehensive employee handbook is an important part of creating a successful business. It introduces new employees to your values, mission, and company culture, outlines your benefits and policies, explains the expectations for employees, and lets employees know where they can get help if needed. According to Forbes, employee handbooks aren’t just for large companies; every business should have a handbook prepared before they hire their first employee. This is essential to protect your employees and business.

In this post, we’ll list five tips for creating an employee handbook that’s helpful to your employees and covers all necessary topics.

How to Create an Employee Handbook

1. Reflect Your Brand and Company Culture

Whether you’re speaking to your customers or your employees, everything your business does should reflect your brand and company culture. The employee handbook is no exception. If your company is very formal and dresses in business attire at the office, your handbook should be formal. On the other hand, if you have a casual workplace, your handbook should follow suite. The employee handbook should also include your companies vision, mission, and values. HR departments are always trying to improve the employee experience, and the handbook can reflect the culture you want to create.

2. Consult with Your Legal Team

When creating an employee handbook, it’s important to consult with your legal team to ensure that everything you’re including is legal and follows industry and statewide labor laws. Laws are constantly changing,  so you should regularly update your policies.

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests reviewing your handbook at the end of every year to make sure it complies with changes for the upcoming year. They also say you should watch out for changes in state and local laws pertaining to background checks, medical and family leave policies, wage and hour requirements, and any news laws pertaining to subjects such as drugs or guns in the workplace.

3. Include All Company Policies

To determine what your employees want to know, consider common questions that your employees ask and include the answers in the handbook. This can include information about your vacation policy, sick days, dress code, lunch breaks, and time tracking, just to name a few examples. It should also include your benefits packages, pay schedules, confidentiality policies, and how company phones and email accounts should be used. It’s important to clearly communicate all your policies. If not, different managers may allow different rules, which can create confusion or an unfair work environment.

4. Add Colors and Pictures

Of course, an employee handbook likely won’t be the most exciting document to read, your employees still need to review it. Due to this, you should try to break up the text with company colors or pictures. For example, when talking about the dress code, insert a graphic of what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate to wear to work. You can also include pictures of company outings or holiday parties to show that your business is a fun and unique place to work.

5. Explain Policies for Personal Social Media Conduct

If employees post about company growth or your great workplace culture on their personal social media pages, it can be positive for your business, and can help recruit other employees. On the other hand, it can be detrimental if an employee badmouths upper management or posts offensive content that reflects badly on your business.

While employees can legally express their opinions on social media, most companies have policies in place to ensure their brand image is upheld. According to Monster.com, personal social media policies should remind employees that they’re constantly brand ambassadors (even when they’re not at work) and the company will be monitoring their brand’s social mentions. Employee handbooks should also state that proprietary information and workplace conflicts should stay offline, so that you can protect confidential company information.

Make Your Employee Handbook a Beneficial Resource

Employee handbooks should be a clear resource that you staff can reference when they have a question. It should comply with local laws and detail what is expected of each employee. It can also affect a new employee’s first impression of your business, so it should be engaging and reflect your brand. By taking the time now to consider all facets of the handbook, you’ll save time later by not having to answer questions that haven’t been addressed.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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