Effective communication between employers and employees is critical. It’s important you’re on the same page, especially when it comes to matters such as policies, procedures, work scheduling, etc. Although it’s not legally required, an employee handbook can be an invaluable resource for your company and serves multiple purposes.
Introduces Employees to Your Culture
Each company culture is a little different, and it’s these subtle differences that make your business so unique. When getting new hires up to speed, it’s important that you formally outline what your company’s culture is like. This could include your philosophy, values, community and so on. This should help make their transition go smoother and eliminate a lot of confusion.
It’s really important to clearly set expectations right from the start. You’ll want new hires as well as existing employees to understand:
- What’s considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior
- The daily tasks they’re responsible for
- How you measure performance
- Safety standards
You’ll usually find that this type of transparency gets new employees started out on the right foot and minimizes conflicts. It also ensures that there’s a be-all end-all resource for workers to reference whenever a question arises.
Ensures Company Policies are Clearly Communicated
Policies act as the glue that keeps employees on track and helps reduce misunderstandings. “Getting it in writing” is your way to effectively communicate your company’s stance on everything from conduct and dress codes to breaks and vacation time.
This is also critical for clarifying rules and regulations that apply to your industry. For instance, OSHA has very strict standards that companies must abide by to remain compliant. This leads us to our next point.
Reduces Legal Risks
21st century companies face ongoing legal risks regardless of which industry they’re part of. As an employer, it’s your job to do everything within your power to reduce your company’s legal risks and avoid unnecessary lawsuits. Putting together an employee handbook is one of the most effective ways to cover issues like:
- Employee termination (valid reasons for an employee being fired)
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- How you handle employee discipline
In many cases, this will cover you when something inevitably goes wrong and you’re facing a legal battle.
As you can see, there are several advantages of having an employee handbook. Although it does require a considerable amount of effort, it can really pay off in the long run. For more guidance on how to create your own handbook, check out this resource from SHRM.
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