Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Do you have an effective employee handbook?

Sheryl Baumeister,
Human Resources
As the Human Resources Manager, I live and breathe the contents of the employee handbook. It's one of the most important documents you can create for your organization. It can say a lot about your culture and your brand, especially to new employees. It lays out how the employer wants employees to be treated and how they are expected to behave.

Employee handbooks can include a lot of information, which can be overwhelming at times. But, it does not need to include every detail of an employer's policies or every provision of the laws impacting the workplace. For instance, it's best to leave out the details of a severance policy (if you have one) and avoid speculating on future changes to overtime pay rules.

In order to give your employees an effective handbook, you need to:
  • Be Concise – If you want your employees to read the handbook, don’t fill it with legal jargon they can’t understand. 
  • Be Original – Use your own language and don’t borrow the wording for policies and procedures from other organizations. 
  • Be Careful – Before you distribute it to your employees, ask your legal counsel to review it. This protects your company and your employees. 
If you have multiple locations in different states, there are several options for you. You can publish a single handbook that includes all state and local variations in topical sections. You can tailor multiple versions to each company location. Or finally, you can take a back-end approach and have state-specific addenda in the back of the handbook.

Whatever option you choose, keep in mind the handbook is a living document that needs to be updated constantly. As new laws and work trends change, you need to make sure your handbook is current with the times.

This article originally appeared in Modern Memorialization, Trigard Memorials' weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/thursdays.

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