No matter the size or scope of an organization, business owners rely on the quality of their contracts to foster market growth and economic strength. Often, these contracts and agreements take the form of internal paperwork such as restrictive covenants and employee handbooks. Unfortunately, in their zeal to create a comprehensive document, the business often writes themselves into a devastating corner.
While an employee handbook might seem like a natural way to codify business policies and best practices, it is not uncommon for organizations to overstep their boundaries and introduce more challenges than they were trying to avoid. Here are some tips that businesses can use to avoid unnecessary trouble:
- Avoid dense legalese: The temptation to rely on dense, professional language often steers a business owner in the wrong direction. While it is important to clearly explain the company’s position in unassailable wording, the employee handbook must written so it is understandable. Further, the company should avoid lingo, industry jargon and unexplained acronyms to improve readability.
- Avoid using a template: While it might be okay to use a form or suggested topics to get the employee handbook started, it is unwise to use a handbook from another organization as the starting point. In these situations, it is not uncommon for an individual to leave in provisions that should be removed, fail to recognize irrelevant text or only edit a portion of a section leaving several sentences or paragraphs completely untethered.
- Failing to provide training: Some companies will pass out the employee handbook and send the new worker out to job training. It is crucial that a representative from human resources walks the employee through the handbook explaining policies and answering questions as they come up.
A strong employee handbook is crucial to helping workers understand their role, the company’s culture and best practices. Without legal guidance, writing a comprehensive handbook could become a challenge.