From the words of Mark Twain “The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter – ‘tis the difference between the lightning- bug and the lightning.”
Translating this to the business world of today, the difference between the right word and the almost right word can be a boycott or a lawsuit.
For instance, when two employees of Whole Foods, Albuquerque, New Mexico, protested about their brief suspension because they spoke Spanish during working hours, companies such as the New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens decided to boycott the stores of the company.
Even though the company stated that the suspension occurred as a result of violations of the company policy, and not because the employees were accused of speaking Spanish, the resulting confusion made the company apologize for the misunderstanding. They had no other option than revising some of the policies in the company’s employee handbook. This was done in other to ensure employee handbook best practices.
In case your company does not have an employee handbook? Guess it’s time to get one. Even if you have a company handbook, ensure that all your company policies are explicitly stated. Also, try as much as possible to update it annually. This remains to the best way to ensure employee handbook best practices.
Why do you need an employee handbook?
A company handbook can be likened to having a rulebook for sporting activities. It helps to define the boundaries of the company. The employee handbook also gives ground rules, clearly explaining the type of behaviors that are considered acceptable or not. It can contain details of anything including vacation policies, payroll schedule, state, federal, as well as industry regulations that all employees are authorized to act in accordance with.
Even though certain federal regulations, for example, Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act may not be effected until you possess over 15 employees, yet, you can still be sued for several other issues. Regardless of the size of your company, you can be sued.
How a handbook protects you and your company
Rather than protecting you from being sued, the employee handbook will offer documentation that can help protect you in the event of any lawsuit.
For example, if the method for calculating overtime is explained in your handbook, and you have given a copy to every employee, you can make use of your policy as documentation. This will help in protecting you and your company in case of an allegation and also ensure employee handbook best practices.
The importance of updating the content of a handbook
Having an employee handbook may not be enough. To ensure employee handbook best practices, it is important to review and update your employee handbook every year. It is also important to make your employees aware of the latest policy change and other developments.
Laws and regulations change from time to time. You also need to review and update your employee handbook. In case you notice irrelevant or confusing sections, just like in the example of Whole Foods stated earlier, try as much as possible to rewrite the section so as to change or clarify the policies. Remember to redistribute copies to employees after making the reviews and updates. Also, ensure that they acknowledge receipt.
Following policies constantly is a no brainier. Even if you distribute the employee handbook, however, fail to follow the practices and procedures as stated in it, you will be left with a weak defense in the event of any law suit. You can only ensure employee handbook best practices when you review and update your company handbook form time to time.
How your organization operates
It is not just about having an employee handbook; the handbook must be able to demonstrate how your company operates. Updating the employee book ensures that it aligns with the mode of operation of your company.
With this, leadership will be able to make decisions based on published. Managers and employees that understand the company policies and are aware that it is obligatory for them to follow these policies will not perceive any form of unfair treatment within the workplace.
Even though putting together an employee handbook can be a daunting task; there are numerous benefits to be derived. It can help solve problems, resolve arguments, and offer you a solid defense. This remains the best way to ensure employee handbook best practices. You will definitely require one the moment you hire your first employee.
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- 10 May, 2017
- Tom Elias
- 0 Comments
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