An employee handbook comes in handy and is a very important tool when it comes to managing existing employees and new hires. It gives employees a complete overview of all your procedures and policies, as well as relevant company information that they ought to be well-versed with.
An employee handbook should cover all the relevant and useful information for employees. It should include all the information that they will want to know – like compensations, leave policies, benefits – and other information – like about the company, vision and mission, objectives.
In this article, we are listing out 7 important topics that should form a part of your employee handbook.
7 Important Things Your Employee Handbook Must Contain
A disclaimer is a legal requirement that clarifies that an employee handbook is not a contract of employment. It also states that the employment is willful and not coerced. A disclaimer provides a company with legal security in case of a lawsuit an employee may bring stating that an employee handbook is indeed a contract of employment.
About the Company
This is pertinent and basic information that every employee must know. This includes the history of the company, the vision and mission statements, the objectives, the services, purpose, customers, etc.
It is important to give new employees an insight into the company’s culture, objectives and purpose, and vision and mission statements. Employees should know whom they are working for, and what they represent, and how these employees are going to be a part of it. This section is the perfect opportunity to tell your employees about any interesting facts or tidbits about how the company came to be.
Code of Conduct
It is important for new hires to know what is allowed, tolerated and prohibited in the company right from the get-go. This ranges from the dress code to work ethics and everything in between. Here are some things that the code of conduct can contain –
- Dress code
- Working hours
- Social media usage
- Intervals and breaks
- Socializing during working hours
- Internet usage for personal reasons
- Attendance and leave expectations
- Usage of equipment – company laptops, USBs – inside and outside the workplace
The importance of including company rules in the handbook is to set clear benchmarks, expectations, and rules at the outset. It is easier to set boundaries that need to be adhered to from the start instead of trying to discipline employees later on.
Compensation, Benefits and Leave Policy
Employees must, and expect to, know how they will be paid, how much they will be paid, where their deducted money is being invested, and what benefits they are getting out of it in the long run. They also want to know what benefits the company provides them in terms of not only investments but also other perks that they can use (like discounts at certain stores).
The handbook must also contain a detailed leave policy since that is one area that employees tend to read very carefully. List out the monthly allocated leaves, and how salary will be paid/deducted for leaves taken. Be sure to use simple language and tables/pie-charts to allow quicker and easier understanding of this information.
Anti-discrimination and Workplace Bullying Policy
This is to ensure your new employees that they will be protected against discrimination or bullying of any form in the workplace. It sends out a clear message that such type of behavior is not only condemned but also prohibited. The handbook should also contain the procedure for reporting any form of discrimination or bullying, as well as what kind of behavior constitutes the same.
Including these policies in the handbook states that your organization complies with all equal employment laws and other laws of a similar nature. In terms of legal safety, it is pertinent to include these clauses in your employee handbook.
Usage of Social Media and Mobile Phones
Everyone is on social media today; as a company, you need to list out the extent to which employees can use social accounts on the company premises, and also the extent to which they can associate with the company accounts from their private networks.
For instance, employees should know when and how much they can tag the company’s social media account in their posts. The handbook should also list out usage of social media and cell phones during working hours.
Contacts and Resources
One important section to add to your employee handbook is a list of contact information and resources that would be helpful to new employees. This can include email addresses and telephone extension numbers of various departments or specific employees and links to articles, images, or pages containing important information that needs to be remembered.
Providing this information ensures that employees keep the handbook with them at all times.
How To Ensure that the Handbook is Read
You handed over the handbook to the employee. But how do you ensure that he/she actually reads it? Here are some suggestions to make the employee handbook user-friendly, and encourage employees to actually read it.
- Keep it short and concise. Don’t go on and on about technical things where it can be avoided
- Keep the language simple and easy to understand
- Include lots of images, pie charts, tables etc. for visual effect
- Include incentives like discounts, memberships, insurance or health benefits that come with the employment
- Also Include fun stuff like jokes, comics, etc. into the handbook to give an impression of a fun and carefree company culture
The employee handbook is an essential document that must be handed over to all new employees. It provides all the essential information about the organization that a new joint needs to know. It is also an important document from a legal standpoint for every company. Hence, it must not be skipped out on.