Employee handbooks are an essential part of any growing business.
One of the most common questions I get from small business owners is, “when do I need an employee handbook?” In a perfect world, an employee handbook would be part of the startup protocol, but that usually isn’t the case. In the midst of building a website, working on business development and actually putting together a sellable product, writing policies and procedures is not top of mind. So, the next best and most critical time to develop an employee handbook, is the minute you hire your first employee.
Establishing a handbook early on in a business helps the business owner do several things.
3 Reasons Your Staff Needs an Employee Handbook
- Provides vision. More than just policies, an employee handbook gives a business owner a place to lay out the vision and mission he or she would like their employees to embrace. It is a breeding ground for company culture.
- Provides information. Rather than spend precious time answering the same questions over and over about vacation time or benefits, an employee handbook provides a reference point for all employees to review as questions arise
- Provides protocol. Unfortunately, employee issues are bound to come up. An employee handbook establishes a course of action that a business owner will take when such issues arise. Without it, the business owner is often making things up as they go, with can be a very slippery slope.
It is easy to put a project like this on the back burner. Getting caught up in doing the business can certainly make something like this seem unnecessary and it may be for now. There will come a day however when you need to discipline or even terminate an employee. There could even come a day when that termination could be challenged in court. If that happens, a good employee handbook could be your best defense.
You can find employee handbook templates online or many employment attorney’s or HR consultants are more than happy to customize one for you. So however you go about it, make sure an employee handbook is established for your business very early on.
Learn more about Sabrina Baker, PHR., President of Acacia HR Solutions, a Human Resource Consultancy and Social Recruiting firm outside of Chicago, IL. Acacia HR Solutions is focused on helping companies find, lead and retain the best employees possible.
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