Employee handbooks are an essential part of effective human resources (HR) management and positive employee relations. Handbooks can also play a critical role in demonstrating employment law compliance. Properly used, employee handbooks:
- Communicate policies and procedures.
- Play a key role in the orientation process for new employees.
- Serve as a valuable employee relations vehicle for educating current and prospective employees.
- Contribute to uniform and consistent application, interpretation, and enforcement of company policies.
- Protect against claims of improper employer conduct and employee lawsuits.
While carefully drafted employee handbooks can be an important part of employee relations media, handbooks that are unskillfully or improperly drafted can create organizational and legal headaches. Employers must carefully review every policy and procedure in a handbook to minimize potential contract claims and be prepared to update
them periodically. Since employee handbooks are not required by law, organizations may determine the best method and most effective means to communicate important HR-related information to their employees. Factors that affect an organization’s need for a written employee handbook include:
- The number of employees.
- The number of employing units.
- The state(s) in which the organization operates.
- The industry.
- Whether or not the organization is a government contractor.
- Whether or not the organization is unionized.
- Whether the organization has purchased employment practices liability insurance (EPLI).
As a general rule, if an organization’s employment policies, procedures, programs, and methods are important and contribute to the organization’s success, they should be in writing. Once in writing, they must be consistently enforced. To be consistently enforced, they must be communicated. To be communicated, they should be promulgated in a format easily accessible and readily available. That is an employee handbook — whether in hard copy or in an electronic version.
Whether you have ten or 10,000 employees, an effective employee handbook is part of essential HR needs. Build your custom handbook with our Employee Handbook Builder.