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Top Tips for Creating an Employee Handbook

Arlington Heights business law attorneysWhen you own a business with one or two employees, you probably know your employees well and trust them to generally do what is best for your business. As your business grows and more employees are needed, it becomes increasingly important for you to develop a list of rules, regulations, and policies for your workers. Not only should your employees know your expectations regarding performance and behavior but creating a codified list can help protect you from certain liabilities. One of the most common ways to publish such rules and policies is in an employee handbook.

In developing an employee handbook, experts recommend that you:

Be reasonable with your rules.

If you are going to have a rule about something, you should have a good reason for it. Rules that exist simply for the sake of “discipline” can quickly destroy employee morale. It is also important to only include rules that you intend to enforce. Rules that “nobody follows” degrade your authority and credibility as an owner.

Use a conversational tone.

Your handbook does not need to read like an employment contract. The laws that govern employment and labor issues are already complex enough and do not need to be restated in legalese. Your employees deserve to know what is expected of them in language that is clear and easy to understand. Consider humanizing yourself a little too by referring to management/ownership as “we,” which can help your employees feel included.

Don’t just tell; show too.

Many companies’ handbooks are little more than a dry, impersonal list of policies and regulations, most of which refer to things an employee should not do. An increasing number of hiring professionals recommend using your employee handbook to tell stories or parables of what a model worker looks like to you. Talk about ways that your workers can demonstrate your company’s values and use examples whenever possible.

Promote the perks and benefits.

You have worked hard to build your company and to offer certain benefits and perks to your employees, such continuing education programs, paid time off, and more. Don’t hide them in the back of your handbook behind your disciplinary process and written warning system. Be proud of what you offer and display employee perks proudly near the beginning of the handbook. New employees, especially, will see that yours is a company that is focused on positivity.

Remember the internet and digital concerns.

Today, more than ever before, computers are a part of nearly every employee’s workday. Your handbook should clearly identify company policies regarding passwords, access to the company’s social media accounts, and personal internet usage. If your employees are permitted to take home company laptops or cell phones, be sure to create policies regarding the responsibilities and return of such property.

Contact an attorney.

Your employee handbook can be seen as a type of contract between you and your staff, so it is important to fully understand the implications of what you choose to include in it. It is a good idea to have your handbook reviewed by a qualified employment law attorney before you distribute it to your team. A lawyer can help you identify any areas of concern and address them before they cost you or your business.

If you have additional questions about employee handbooks, contact an Arlington Heights business law attorney at A. Traub & Associates. We will help you find the answers you need and will work with you in creating a handbook that protects your business for years to come.



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