When it comes to managing your team, it’s imperative that you set proper expectations and keep your team organized and efficient. A consistent employee handbook will help you accomplish these goals.
Why You Need an Employee Handbook
An employee handbook is a consolidated internal resource that gives employees and all stakeholders a detailed overview of your company’s policies, procedures, rules, and benefits. It sets clear expectations and provides commentary on the company culture and other aspects related to the business mission, vision, etc.
While it can take some time to create, the ROI on an employee handbook is clear. Here are a few specific reasons why you need one:
- Facilitates smooth onboarding. When a new employee is onboarded, it takes time for them to settle in and get a feel for what the culture is truly like. A handbook sets the stage and lets them know what to expect.
- Communicates expectations. A comprehensive handbook lets employees know precisely what’s expected of them. From the proper way to request time off to the best approach to handling conflict with a co-worker, it’s all in there.
- Showcases benefits. Employees need to know what benefits they have access to and how to utilize them. The handbook is the perfect place to share this information.
- Alleviates HR pressure. When employees are able to find answers to frequently asked questions in a handbook, it reduces the volume of requests your HR department has to deal with on a daily basis.
- Protects against claims. An employee handbook provides some level of protection against employee claims and lawsuits. Should an employee try to make an unfounded accusation, you can always point back to the handbook and say that they should have known better.
4 Employee Handbook Design Tips
The good news is that creating an employee handbook is rather easy to do. Here are a few tips and tricks for designing a simple yet effective handbook for your team.
Start With the Who and Why
The very beginning of your employee handbook should begin with a comprehensive yet succinct explanation of who your company is and why it exists. This includes clearly explaining your company’s mission, vision, and purpose – i.e. your values and beliefs.
“Your values and beliefs are the guiding principles—that which matters most to you—that drive every aspect of your business,” HR professional Felicia Sullivan writes. “It’s your moral compass and core, and gives you and your employees a sense of purpose and direction.”
This is the first thing that employees will read when they open the handbook, so it should be clear and thoughtful. You may even want to include a letter from the founder/owner. This can really give a voice to these elements.
Cover Employee FAQs
What are the most common questions that your HR department fields? What are the issues and concerns that constantly come across your desk? Organize the answers to these questions into a section that covers compensation, benefits, and perks. Be as clear as you possibly can, so as to prevent creating further confusion (which creates more work for your HR team members).
Topics worth covering include:
- Frequency and time of payment
- Method of payment
- Overtime policies
- Alternative forms of compensation
- Pension and 401(k) information
- Basic health insurance benefits
- Training and education requirements/benefits
- Code of conduct (including dress code)
Choose a Good Printing Partner
While some businesses choose to send employees a PDF copy of the handbook, there’s something valuable about providing a printed copy. Digital files are easy to lose and tend to get overlooked. A printed copy can be placed in a desk drawer and is easy to reference.
When printing an employee handbook, we recommend using spiral bound book printing. This sort of binding is cost-effective and durable. It also makes it easy to quickly turn to a page and lay it flat on your desk.
Keep it Up to Date
Rules, expectations, and benefits can change from year to year. That’s why we recommend updating your employee handbook at least once per calendar year. This means recycling old books, printing new ones, and taking a few minutes to make employees aware of changes that have been made.
Adding it All Up
You don’t have to overcomplicate things. Sometimes the simplest employee handbooks are the most effective. And as long as you’re meticulous with what you include, this resource will prove invaluable in the growth and maturation of your team.