12 Things You Should Put In Your Staff Handbook
A staff handbook (or employee manual) describes the business expectations, policies, and rules for staff members. It usually includes information about what staff can anticipate from the employer. When a new team member gets hired, they are provided with a copy of the staff handbook for new employees and a form to sign stating that they agree with the standards.
Being very clear about the business’s legal obligations to its staff members from the beginning can avoid turnover, along with misunderstandings and confusion that lead to lawsuits. Employee manuals inform new hires and help all staff members be happier overall in their positions. Giving them the right expectations from the beginning can help them succeed faster.
What Belongs In A Staff Handbook
A manual for employees should list the policies that your business has and the expectations you have for your staff. Be sure to include the rights of your employees and your legal duties as an employer. Write clearly and succinctly, and keep the manual organized. Below you’ll find information that legally must go to employees, and there is also optional information that you might find convenient to include.
Which Legal Policies Must Be a Part of an Employee Handbook?
An employee handbook should contain the following policies that the staff member has read and agreed with, to be on the safe side. It’s important to state that the handbook policies are subject to change if the company chooses to do so.
Sections to Include in a Staff Handbook That Is Required by Law
- Anti-discrimination Policy (Equal Employment Opportunity – EEO)
- Anti Harassment Policy
- Anti Retaliation Policy
- At-Will Employment Policy
- Benefits Information, and Paid Vacation/Sick Leave Policy
- Code of Conduct Policy
- Complaint/HR Process
- Evaluation Process for Raises and Promotions
- FMLA Policy (for companies with at least 50 employees)
- General Staff Information
- Pay Information
- Security and Safety Policy
It’s always a good idea to have an employment lawyer confirm that your handbook meets legal requirements once it’s complete. Investing now can save you a great deal of grief if you accidentally leave something out.
Optional Sections to Include in a Staff Handbook
- Business mission statement
- Welcome message from founder or CRO
- Calendar including yearly office closings
- Hours of business operations (along with rules about staff members being at work when it’s not open for business)
- Behavioral, attendance, and dress code standards
- Model company culture
- Discipline policy for poor behavior (this should involve multiple steps)
- Process for conducting reviews and how to increase pay/acquire a promotion
In short, a staff handbook is important so everyone is aware of the company rules and policies. It helps to demonstrate that each staff member is treated the same way and must abide by the same guidelines.
Staff handbooks help increase a secure, efficient, and positive work setting. Inappropriate conduct should be taken care of with from the start. Since it outlines the regulations from the beginning, handbooks can defend the business in case of wrongful termination allegations, sexual harassment claims, and even lawsuits concerning discrimination.