The Importance of an Employee Handbook

The Importance of an Employee Handbook

By Lisa A. Kopecky, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, LDSS
Posted 7/21/2021

All too often I come across businesses that download “free” employee handbook templates, or borrow one from another business, and hope and pray that it covers them legally as an employer.  It’s quite common actually because many business owners believe that they just “need one in place” and with so many other priorities demanding business resources, it seems to be a quick fix.  But in reality, it’s highly likely that their employees don’t get much benefit from those types of “quick fix” handbooks and that the business is not adequately covered from a liability perspective.

Why have an Employee Handbook?
So, let’s talk about WHY an employee handbook is so important and the reasons for having an applicable, regularly updated version in place.

An employee handbook is a guide that establishes the ground rules for your organization.
It’s primary role is to:

  • Explain the organization’s expectations of its employees and what the employees can expect of the company and its leadership.
  • State the company’s legal obligations as an employer and discloses the legal rights of employees by:
      • Communicating and documenting legal disclosures such as anti-harassment/anti-discrimination/anti-retaliation and ADA policies,
      • Including important disclosures that companies are required to make by federal, state and local agencies such as FMLA, sick leave policies and other employee rights notices.
  • Serve as a legal defense against employment related claims, charges, and lawsuits.

Other Benefits of an Employee Handbook
Some additional key benefits of an employee handbook are that it:

  • Defines many of the policies and general procedures of the workplace,
  • Instructs employees on where to go for clarification or when needing help,
  • Informs employees where to direct complaints and explains what to expect during the complaint process,
  • Prevents misunderstandings, misinterpretations and misapplication of policies and practices,
  • Creates uniformity and symmetry across the organization,
  • Ensures all employees have received the same information in the same manner,
  • Serves as a guide for your HR team and managers to reference.

That’s why it is critical to have one in place that accurately reflects your workforce, your expectations of your team and the actual policies, processes and practices of your organization.  There’s little reason not to have a proper handbook in place.  Today they are affordable and because of available technology, they are easy to keep updated and compliant.  And the cost of not having one in place far exceeds the relatively minimal expense to maintain it each year.  Trust me, this is one area businesses shouldn’t cut corners.

Have questions or need assistance with a New Employee Handbook? Please visit below or contact us at: [email protected].

Share This Post