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The Importance of Having an Employee Handbook

August 7th, 2016


A corporate employee handbook is a critical resource for both an employer and employees. The job of this one document is to inform new hires about the company’s policies and procedures. It should outline each element of the business to the employee in as far as it concerns the new hire. If there is a problem with work performance, missing days or other concerns, the employer easy has the documentation to indicate that the employee did, in fact, have knowledge of the policies at the time of hire. An employee handbook does more than this, though.

Define Who to Report Problems To

One of the ways an employee handbook can help is to providing information to the employee about who to talk to when there are questions, concerns, or even problems. Is a co-worker driving the employee mad? He or she needs to know what steps to take to deal with that problem.

Laws Outlined

The employee handbook should outline all federal and state laws that apply. This includes the Family medical Leave Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. In doing so, it informs the employee of his or her rights while also minimizing the risk of confusion about limitations to those risks.

It’s a Reference

It should not be too long. It should be as concise as possible so it works as an effective reference for the employee. However, it should not leave out important information. For example, it should provide employees with a way to report discrimination, harassment, and even absences from work. It also should not be written in legalese that makes it hard for the employee to understand the information.

It’s an Introduction

In addition to providing information about the company, an effective employee handbook should also provide an introduction to the company. Employees should know who the company’s head is and what type of operations take place. It should know who the head of the HR department is too. In short, it introduces the company to the employee and welcomes them into the fold.

Liability Issues

The employee handbook also provides an extensive resource for liability. It provides protection from the “I didn’t know” questions. In addition, it can require confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure statements for employees. Though it must be carefully reviewed, these types of statements can protect a company even after the employee no longer works there.

The ultimate goal of an employee handbook is to educate the new employee or the current hire. They fit into virtually every business as they are designed to accommodate the company specifically. When done properly, they ensure the company and the employees are on the literal same page when it comes to how to do their job and what to expect when doing so.

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