Your Employee Handbook: Beyond Rules and Regulations
You know it’s important for businesses to have an employee handbook, but you may be wondering how having one in place can benefit both you and your employees.
Beyond spelling out company policies and rules, a well-written employee handbook can be a very useful workplace tool for both employers and employees. Some of the things it can do may even surprise you!
Here are a couple of unexpected ways this document can facilitate business growth and help you recruit and retain employees.
A tool to manage growth
When companies are very small or just starting out, it’s easier to set and manage expectations, self-police behavior, and maintain a cohesive company culture.
As businesses grow and evolve, these things become exponentially more difficult and the need to formalize organizational policies, systems, and expectations becomes much more critical.
An effective employee handbook will clearly outline essential business processes such as behavior standards, safety information, leave policies, anti-discrimination policies, compensation, and employee benefits.
Clarifying HR processes can significantly reduce the amount of time spent going back and forth to resolve employee issues and misunderstandings. This can be especially important for small businesses, where both time and resources are scarce. Your employee handbook will also promote consistency in how employees are treated, helping to keep your business in compliance and out of court.
A culture enhancer
In addition to serving these very practical purposes, your employee manual can be a great way to reinforce your company culture and values.
The employee handbook is one of the first documents your new hires will receive. Keep in mind, they’ve just gone through a hiring process that portrays your company in a certain light. Now is the time to keep that light shining bright by reinforcing all the things you talked about during your recruiting and interview phases.
If your recruitment process is based on a “We care about our employees” message, your employee handbook is a great way to reinforce that notion immediately after. On the other hand, if it reads like a clinical set of procedures, rules, and discipline polices, your new hires are going to notice that these things don’t match up. This could put your new team members on the defensive and cause them to question the decision to jump onboard.
Here’s how you can use your employee manual as another way to make your employees feel good about joining your organization:
- Include information on your company mission and vision
- Talk about how you demonstrate your organizational values
- Outline your employee benefits and compensation packages
- Promote your employee wellbeing programs and/or initiatives
- Offer information on where employees can go if they have questions and complaints
- Let employees know what resources are available if they need professional and/or personal help
If you view your employee handbook as a formality, an afterthought, or a formal list of company rules, you’re wasting an opportunity to showcase who you are as an organization.
Folding an employee-first message into your manual will not only strengthen your company brand and message, it will remind your happy new hires why they chose you.
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