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Common mistakes to avoid when drafting an employee handbook

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2022 | Business Law

Whether it is your first business or your fifth, the creation of an employee handbook can represent both an exciting project and a cumbersome one at the same time. It is crucial to balance important information regarding company procedures with simply handing a new employee a document that only restates policies.

While every organization is unique, there are some common mistakes to avoid when drafting the employee handbook.

  • Failing to include provisions for updating the handbook: Many businesses will draft their employee handbook without any intention of updating the document in the coming years. Any time technology changes, business processes change or the business’s goals change, the handbook should be updated to reflect the new reality. Business owners must include provisions, instructions or the delegation of responsibilities for revisions and updates.
  • Using the handbook to simply restate company policies: While it is true that many employees rely on this document as an introduction to the company, it is important that business owners use the handbook as more than a collection of policies. It is important to use the handbook as an introduction to the company history, mission statement and values. Let the employees understand who you are without simply providing a list of policies.
  • Allowing the handbook to become too detailed and cumbersome: Some business owners feel it necessary to include everything in the employee handbook. From detailed dress codes to volumes explaining the disciplinary process, workers can quickly become overwhelmed with new data. It is important to reach a balance between crucial and extraneous information.
  • Simply giving out the handbook without associated training: A well-crafted employee handbook might contain all the necessary information an employee needs to get started in their new job. Unfortunately, it is a mistake to hand out the document without including any associated training. Having an instructor or mentor go through the handbook pointing out crucial bits of information can eliminate problems down the line.
  • Assuming all new and veteran employees will read the handbook: Closely tied to the previous suggestion, employers should never assume that employees will read this document. Even though supervisors carefully explain the importance of the handbook, most employees will simply skim through and sign the document where necessary.

The employee handbook is an important document as it not only introduces a worker to the organization, but it also provides a resource for rules and policies. Many companies find it challenging to reach a balance in the information contained within the handbook and often struggle presenting data to both new and veteran employees. Avoiding these common mistakes is a great start and developing a quality handbook.