An employee handbook is a key piece of HR infrastructure which helps to clearly communicate your organizational policies, standards and expectations that will guide employees throughout their employment.
Employers can follow these seven general steps when developing an employee handbook for their organization:
- Step 1: Now is the time to identify all areas where there is a gap between policy and what is taking place in practice within your organization as well as any legal compliance gaps. Developing an employee handbook is the perfect opportunity to tighten up, or clarify, any existing policies you wish to implement as well as introducing any new policies designed to address a specific business challenge or part of your overall HR strategy.
- Step 2: Consider identifying other non-HR related policies for inclusion in the handbook such as your customer service policy in order to ensure that your new employee understands your customer service expectations and standards.
- Step 3: Ensure that you have collated all of the information in Steps 1 and 2 before you start drafting your handbook.
- Step 4: Start drafting the handbook. Make your new employees feel valued by starting with a warm welcome message. Help them understand your organization’s culture by introducing them to the history of your organization and your mission, vision, and values. It is important for new hires to get acclimated to your workplace culture as soon as possible to set them up for success.
- Step 5: Set a solid foundation for your employee by clearly defining the organizational policies they need to know that will guide them throughout their employee life cycle. Structure your handbook in a way that makes sense for your organization as well as making it as easy as possible for employees to review the areas that you determine to be most important. Good practice would be to group policies under separate headings in the handbook – i.e., general policies and procedures; compensation and benefits; communication standards etc., as this helps the handbook become a quick reference guide for an employee to check any questions they may have. It is also important to include policies designed to meet legislative compliance including respect in the workplace policies (Discrimination, harassment, and workplace violence).
- Step 6: Promote accountability by laying out clear expectations of your team. Provide employees with details on how they can expect the organization to handle progressive discipline matters.
- Step 7: It is crucial that an employee sign an acknowledgement confirming that they’ve read and understand the policies in the handbook. Keep a copy of the signed acknowledgement in their employee file.
Remember, an employee handbook is a dynamic document. Keep it up to date as your organization evolves and employment legislation changes.
It is essential to be aware of legal compliance requirements while drafting a handbook. There are potential legal risks if you don’t do it the right way, but our team of HR Professionals are here to help you! We will ensure that your policies and procedures comply with the legislative requirements while incorporating best practices to attract and retain top employees.
Call HRPAR today to discuss creating an employee handbook that is tailored to your requirements and just right for your organization!