Have you been tasked with creating a relevant, high-grade employee handbook? Making sure that the payroll employee handbook you produce contains everything necessary can be a challenge. That's why we've put together a complete guide to the steps needed for creating an excellent employee handbook.
Discover how to consult for success, which policies and procedures need to be incorporated, the topics which employees need to be informed about, and which areas of the handbook will probably need to be updated in the next 12-months or so.
What is an Employee Handbook?
At its most basic, an employee handbook is a printed document that contains details of the employment and employment-related information that employees need to know. It equips and empowers employees to be clear on roles and responsibilities, expectations, and other aspects of what to expect in the workplace.
Compiled correctly, a payroll employee handbook for patrolled members of staff is a valuable resource that ensures employees know everything necessary to thrive at work.
What's Needed for an Employee Handbook?
There isn't a definitive answer to what's needed for an employee handbook, as the exact contents will vary from organization to organization. Ideally, when attempting to compile a handbook, it's helpful to get as much feedback from key individuals within the organization as possible. These individuals should include the executive board, managers, and employees, to minimize the chances of an important inclusion being overlooked.
Almost inevitably several drafts will be needed. Putting each draft out to consultation allows for further additions and eliminations, ultimately resulting in the production of a handbook that ticks the boxes at all levels of the organization.
Although there are a number of ways in which an employee handbook can be structured, it's usual to begin it with the organization's mission statement. As the mission statement is a summary of the values and goals of the organization, it underpins everything that the business does. It makes sense to put this documentary lynchpin at the front of the employee handbook.
Following on from the mission statement, we recommend that the following are included in the handbook:
- employee acknowledgment of receipt and having read the employee handbook, including a signature.
- benefits and compensation for working with the organization.
- terms of employment.
- payroll deductions.
- hybrid and remote work policies.
- paid time off (PTO).
- business travel.
- conflict of interest policy.
- Covid-19 vaccine and safety policy.
- intellectual property rights and responsibilities.
- code of conduct.
- time and attendance.
- dress code.
- mobile device usage and protocols.
- social media protocols (including anti-retaliation guidelines).
Remember that the employee handbook is a living document that will need regular updating to stay relevant. For example, prior to 2019, no employee handbook would have had a policy on Covid-19 vaccination or safety protocols, whereas in 2022, just three years later, such a policy is essential.
What are You Legally Required to Have in Your New Employee Handbook?
There isn't actually a legal requirement to have an employee handbook, but it is vital that new employees are aware of their contractual obligations, what they can expect in return, and details of the behavior they are expected to display in the workplace.
If an employee isn't given access to an employee handbook, or similar document, and then ends up facing disciplinary action due to failure to adhere to a corporate policy or condition of employment, they could claim (with a fair degree of success in most cases) that they weren't aware that a specific behavior was required, because they hadn't been given a copy of the relevant information.
Be Aware of State, Federal, Local, and Union Workplace Regulations
Conduct within the workplace is governed by a wide range of legislation and guidelines. These need to be taken into consideration when writing the handbook, to ensure compliance at all levels. Detailed below are a number of topics that cover legal requirements relating to aspects of working life.
Topics Relating to Legislation that Should be Included in Your Employee Handbook
- the law and remote and hybrid work policies.
- equal employment and anti-harassment.
- at-will employment clause.
- Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA).
- drug-free workplace policies
- family medical leave act (FMLA)
- Covid-19 policies.
- time and attendance.
- any legislation that's specific to your organization.
The Challenge of Keeping Handbooks Up-to-date
It's important that your handbook is reviewed regularly to ensure it's still fresh and relevant. We recommend revisiting the document at scheduled intervals, as well as on an ad hoc basis when fresh events make it timely to do so.
A handbook should be revisited to check for relevance and accuracy at least once every 12-months, and more frequently if required (particularly during periods of rapid change).
Why you may need to Update Your Employee Handbook in the Next 12-Months
Time never stands still! Fresh legislation, new events, and internal changes can all be reasons why you may need to update your handbook to ensure it's always relevant.
At the moment there are a number of issues where legislation and guidance are changing quite swiftly. These are topics to be aware of when considering which parts of the handbook will need to be revisited fairly early on.
- remote and hybrid work models.
- changes in state discrimination laws
- cannabis legalization
- growth milestones
- equality policies
- the organization offering a new service or a fresh product line.
- streamline onboarding
Keeping up With Administration can be a Challenge
Staying on top of your employee handbook in addition to all the other HR tasks can be difficult. The right software can automate more of the daily admin tasks, freeing you up to concentrate on other priorities. Early Learning Ventures offers high-grade software that takes the hard work out of admin, as well as provides customers with a better service.
Get in touch with the team at Early Learning Ventures to find out more or to book a demonstration of their cutting-edge software.
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Header image courtesy of Jumpstory.