Is Your Employee Handbook Effective Enough?

When done correctly, an employee handbook can be a valuable tool. Having a clear, unambiguous reference of your company’s policies will save you save you hours of training. A complete employee handbook and policy manual can even help resolve disputes. Even more importantly, having clearly stated policies (and sticking to them) can protect your business from devastating lawsuits – which drain hundreds of billions of dollars from American businesses every year. Sadly, many companies ignore their employee handbook, only providing rare updates that don’t accurately reflect their policies and practices. Is your policy manual pulling its weight? Here’s what you need to ask to ensure your employee handbook is effective.

Are your policies clearly defined in the employee handbook?

After reading your employee manual, employees should never have to guess or be in doubt about your policies. Whether the topic is simple (such as the company dress code) or refers to complex technical procedures, the company’s stance must be stated clearly. Managers in technical fields, such as the industrial or healthcare sectors, must be especially careful to ensure their policies are clear and reflect industry standards.

Do your employees know what’s expected of them?

Employees have the right to know exactly what is expected of them. Even when you bring on a new hire with years of experience, it’s unfair to expect them to know by instinct what their duties will be with an unfamiliar company. To avoid conflict, provide every new employee with a list of their specific duties. In general, it’s best to provide a copy of this part of your policy manual at every performance review, as well.

Is your policy manual simple and easy to understand?

Technical writing is a unique art. Though a policy manual must maintain a precise and professional tone, it must also be understandable for all levels of work. Even when you assume your readers share your professional experience, try to avoid professional jargon and unnecessary abbreviations, as these may not be as universally understood as you think. In addition, keep in mind your general policies may be read by employees with a wide array of professional and educational backgrounds.

Are your rules and policies realistic?

This issue tends to be one of the greatest sources of conflict between management and their subordinates. On the one hand are the managers, who are striving to meet and exceed industry standards. On the other side are the employees, whose “on-the-ground” experience may provide a more precise view of what is realistically attainable. If you want to develop reasonable policies, input from both sides is needed. When managers and their employees work together, they can craft a functional, informative employee handbook.

Building a stronger team

That same collaborative spirit is vital beyond the employee handbook, as well. Excellence in business depends on building a strong team that works well together. With branches throughout Maine and Massachusetts, Expert Staffing is uniquely qualified to help your business solve its staffing problems. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive light industrial, professional and healthcare staffing solutions.