Despite significant job losses during the height of the pandemic, the start of Spring appears to have rejuvenated the growth of businesses, with 431,000 jobs added in March alone. With the excitement of gaining new team members also comes the stress of ensuring that new employees are aware of company policy, environment, expectations, and more. This is when an employee manual steps in to save the day. An employee handbook is a compilation of your business’ procedures, policies, expectations and working conditions and acts as the foundation for your company’s operation. Employee handbooks provide essential guidance to new employees regarding benefits, conflict resolution, anti-discrimination policies, conduct standards, work schedules, workplace safety and security, and much more. These manuals are key documents for any business to have because they set the standard for your company’s culture, environment and essential policies. Not only do employee handbooks help your employees to thrive in their new roles; they also protect your business against potential lawsuits, liabilities and claims. These guides, when crafted by a skilled legal professional, will surely help your company blossom this summer as your business continues to grow and expand!
Key Aspects of an Employee Manual
Employee handbooks will vary in length and complexity depending on your business needs, industry, and size. Important provisions in an employee manual include:
- Benefits and compensation;
- Communication policy;
- Nondiscrimination policy;
- Harassment policy;
- Employee dress code;
- Separation/termination policy;
- Workplace safety guidelines;
- Policies for sick days and vacation requests;
- Company code of ethics; and
- Disciplinary procedures.
These provisions ensure employees have a clear understanding of their obligations and rights while also protecting them from potential harm. Employee manuals foster a positive workplace culture founded in clear communication and standardized policies, improving your company’s efficiency and work environment.
Employee handbooks not only protect your employees from harm and serve as an important reference for employees. They can also help to protect your business from claims, such as wrongful termination, retaliation, and discrimination, and work to mitigate the risks of costly legal action by supporting compliance with Human Resources (HR). Seeing as employee turnover is expected to rise by nearly 20% this year, employee handbooks can be important tools to support retention by creating an environment of mutual respect and keeping employees motivated. Additionally, employee handbooks are crucial during the onboarding process, by providing new employees with both clear expectations and a connection with the company’s mission. This is critical in maintaining positive retention rates, as 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced wonderful onboarding.
Benefits of Employee Handbooks
Employee handbooks provide your company with a multitude of benefits no matter the size. A well-written employee manual creates a clear foundation for management to ensure the entire business is on the same page with consistent enforcement of policy. This ensures that employees are treated equally and policies are fairly enforced. The main purpose of an employee handbook is to bridge the gap between the employer and the employees regarding expectations and requirements, and encourage accountability on both sides of the working relationship, helping your business thrive by preventing misunderstanding and dissatisfaction due to unclear policies. A “toxic” workplace culture has been driving a large amount of resignations in recent years, but a clear employee handbook can work to mitigate this. Handbooks allow for open discussions about company policy, making team members feel included and heard in the company, which limits dissatisfaction in the workplace.
Handbooks are also great at minimizing conflict within your company. A lack of clarity on policy and procedures often leads to conflict, as employees feel confused and frustrated. Employee handbooks also save your business essential time, as employees will have the manual as a point of reference whenever there are disputes, avoiding solvable HR issues getting out of hand and dragging out over a lengthy period of time.
In the technological age of remote working and digital communication, having direct, coherent company policies and expectations readily available for employees is essential. Additionally, clear expectations for how work-provided cell phones and laptops should be used ensure that company equipment is well taken care of. From the very first day on the job, employees will be immediately introduced to and immersed in the values and culture of your company, setting the standards for employment and creating a healthy workplace that addresses conflicts before they arise.
Importance of Attorney Guidance
It is important to have an attorney specialized in business law draft your handbook because they know the most important sections to be included, how to tailor the manual to suit the specific needs of your business, how to best protect your company’s rights, and how to avoid liability issues in the future. Clear communication is absolutely key to a successful business, which is why an attorney will work hard to ensure your company policies and expectations are explained in plain terms. The guidance of an experienced business law attorney can help to protect you from potentially costly legal battles in the future, as poorly written handbooks or boilerplate manuals downloaded from the internet may subject you to liability. A knowledgeable attorney will make certain that all necessary provisions are included in your handbook and that federal, state, and local labor laws are followed, and will determine the appropriate policies for your business to protect both you and your employees without sacrificing your company’s valuable mission, values, and vision.
A Can’t-Miss Summer Deal!
In order to help your business bloom in this summer heat, we are excited to offer an incredible deal on employee manuals! No matter how large or small your business is or whether it is 10 days or 10 years old, employee manuals are absolutely essential for clear communication of company expectations, policies, and aspirations. For only $500, you will receive the draft of one employee manual by an experienced business law attorney, with one set of edits requested by you included in the flat fee! In order to take advantage of this amazing deal, please call our office at 407-512-4394.