5 Key Reasons to Have an Employee Handbook

Recognition Source is featuring a guest blog from EffortlessHR, which shines a light on the importance of having an employee handbook. A special thanks to Lola Kakes, the founder and CEO.

When you start to hire employees, you have an obligation to provide those individuals with a safe working environment, a wage for work done, and an understanding of what you and your business is all about.  Part of this obligation is communication with your staff.  Let’s face it, if they don’t know what the rules are or what you are looking to accomplish, they will not be effective in their job.  One way to communicate is through an employee handbook, which you can create using an employee handbook builder.

Even if you only have a few employees, there are important reasons to have an updated, compliant handbook:

  1. Consistency – one of the most important legal reasons to have a handbook is to make sure you are not discriminating in any manner, and this can be accomplished much easier by being consistent in how you treat your employees.  It is very easy when you are small to forget what you did for one employee when the next employee asks for the same consideration.  If you have a policy, this can be averted as it is written down and everyone knows the answer.
  2. Branding – including information about your company is a good start to branding the company and your employees.  When a client asks when your company started, or why it started, if the employee doesn’t know, it is not a good thing!  The more your employees know about your company, the more committed and aware they become – not only to other employees, but also your clients.
  3. Compliance – both federal and all states have regulations on everything from pay to termination.  There is a need to be aware of many of these regulations as they can off-set legal ramifications.  If you have compliant policies in place – and you follow them- you are better prepared to defend your organization against lawsuits.  
  4. Time Saver – you can save a lot of time by providing the information most employees are asking about – they can look it up and not bother you or whomever is in charge of HR.   
  5. Communications – most employees want to know what is going on and if you have training or new policies, or new employee orientation, your handbook is a key communication device as it spells everything out for you and your employees.

There may be more reasons to have a handbook, but I believe these are the most important ones.  Just remember, the handbook is an extension of your organization and needs to be written so the average employee understands it.  It should be YOUR handbook, not a copy of the handbook from another company.  It should be updated on a regular basis as many laws and regulations change and the need for a new policy may come with additional employees being hired.  

Finally, and most importantly, do not include a policy if you do not need it (for example: do not include FMLA if you are under 50 employees) or if you do not intend on following it (for example: do not say you provide dental insurance unless you do provide dental insurance).


Author Bio: Lola Kakes has more than 25 years of human resource experience in a variety of industries. She is Founder and CEO of EffortlessHR, which is a web-based HR program that is effective and affordable for the small business owner.

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