by Rob Wilson, CEO of Employco USA
Every business owner should arm themselves with an employee handbook; they’re a crucial communication tool, depict expectations and provide knowledge on legal practices and employee rights. While some business owners find the idea of employee handbooks to be outdated or a waste of resources to prepare, they’re essential for creating a guideline on procedures and policies.
Employee handbooks lay out the ground rules for actions that may result in a write-up or termination and protect both the employer and employee should a dispute occur. It’s a crucial part of running a business that can greatly help diminish legal issues. I suggest having a handbook that is detailed and informative and requiring both parties to review the materials and sign an acknowledgement form agreeing to the terms.
To create a useful and efficient employee handbook, try adding a few key components and thinking outside of the box to cover all grounds. It’s obvious to include the basics like the company mission statement and goals, vacation time policies and benefit descriptions. But there are also a handful of guidelines that employers should include to further help employees in hazy workplace situations.
Below are five things to consider including when compiling your employee handbook:
1. Anti-Discrimination Policies.
In addition to sexual harassment policies and guidelines, employers should include information on sexual orientation discrimination. Many states have laws prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation, and employers should be mindful of this topic when drafting their handbook.
2. Social Media Policies.
With social media continuing to make strides in business environments, employers must decide how to handle professional accounts. Be clear on what employers are allowed to post and topics that are off-limits. In addition, include guidelines for instances when access is revoked.
3. Digital Property.
Since most offices rely on computers and the internet, employees should be aware of who legally owns property created on the device. Chances are that if the company owns the computer, they also own any of the word, excel, or even emails that were created when using the computer.
4. Workplace Bullying.
The ideal workplace environment fosters productivity. Unfortunately, bullying is a common act in the workplace, which can distract and humiliate employees. Include an anti-bullying policy that includes descriptions for taking action and possibly incentives for preventing it.
5. Mandatory Updates.
Your employee update should reflect current state, federal and local regulations. Take the time to review policies and make changes as they occur. And communicate the changes to your employees in a clear and informative manner.
Rob Wilson is CEO of Employco USA, a human resource outsourcing company offering human resource related solutions for small to mid-sized businesses.