8 Reasons You Should Have a Company Employee Handbook
8 Reasons You Should Have a Company Employee Handbook

8 Reasons You Should Have a Company Employee Handbook

What is an Employee Handbook?

The handbook gives employees a detailed overview of policies that are specific to your organization along with other key procedures, guidelines and benefits. In a nutshell, it sets clear expectations for your employees while also stating your legal obligations and defining employee rights. The employee handbook can help protect your business against employee lawsuits and claims, such as wrongful termination, harassment and discrimination. The handbook is also a crucial introduction to your business for new hires, providing insights new hires understand your mission and values.

Creating an employee handbook from scratch can seem like a daunting task, but having one is essential to creating transparency and consistency across your organization. It can also keep you out of hot water. Still on the fence? Here are eight reasons your organization should have one:

  1. Introduces employees to your culture, mission and values
  2. Perhaps the most important aspect of your employee handbook is the introduction of new employees to your corporate culture and how they will fit in. This helps to foster a sense of pride and belonging, which studies show will help employees become more productive in a shorter period of time. The introduction section of an employee handbook will answer these questions:

    “What do we do that sets us apart?”
    “How did the company get here?”
    “What are we passionate about?”
    “How can I, as a new hire, become a part of this culture?”

    The introduction section sets the standard for the employment relationship in general, and provides a guidepost for the remaining policies communicated in the handbook.

  3. Communicates to employees what is expected of them
  4. A well-written handbook provides employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The handbook also serves as a compass for the organization’s policies and procedures. For example, it advises employees what the procedures are for requesting time off or a vacation. It advises employees whom they should contact when they have an unscheduled absence (and what the timing should be). It tells employees whom to go to if they have questions about any of the specific policies in the handbook.

    The handbook also communicates an employee’s general responsibilities regarding safety, timekeeping and reporting. By providing clear, accessible information, handbooks ensure companies continue moving in the right direction.

  5. Educates employees about what they can expect from management and leadership
  6. An employee handbook provides objectives and leadership styles, as well as management best practices, to foster healthy management-employee relationships. It also outlines logistics, such as timekeeping requirements, hours of work and pay periods. Further, a complete employee handbook advises employees of their various entitlements to federal and state leaves, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Jury Service Leave. These clearly communicated policies help to eliminate confusion and inconsistencies that result when handbooks are silent on these topics.

  7. Helps ensure key company policies are clearly and consistently communicated
  8. No policy is effective if it is practiced inconsistently. A handbook will accurately communicate your organization’s policies regarding employment, conduct and behavior, compensation and other policies and procedures you follow. Most importantly, managers can refer to the handbook when answering questions or making decisions regarding your policies and ensure their answers and actions are consistent with your policies and best practices.

  9. Showcases the benefits you offer
  10. Does your organization offer vacations, 401(k), health insurance, paid parental leave or other benefits to employees? Make sure they know about these policies and the eligibility requirements by communicating them in the handbook. A robust benefits package can help you retain your best and brightest employees, so be sure they know about your full suite of offerings by communicating these in the handbook.

  11. Ensures compliance with federal and state laws
  12. No matter what state you do business in, or how many employees you have, you will be subject to state and federal employment laws. Your handbook not only communicates these various entitlements and obligations to employees but is useful in demonstrating that your organization strives to be compliant with these regulations. For example, if your employee is called away to active-duty military service, you will want to be sure they understand their rights and obligations when communicating their reason for taking leave. Your Military Leave Policy should clearly define these parameters to the employee. Similar policies should communicate rights and obligations regarding state disability leaves, federal FMLA leave, and other government mandates.

  13. Helps defend against employee claims
  14. Unfortunately, employers should consider it a matter of when, and not if, they will face a lawsuit or similar challenge from a current or former employee. When this happens, one of the most useful documents you can provide your attorney or third-party investigator will be a copy of your handbook. A thorough and compliant employee handbook will help to show that the organization exercised “reasonable care” towards its employees. The employee’s signed acknowledgement page will show that the employee had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the organization’s policies, a chance to ask related questions, knew whom they could turn to for help within the organization, and agreed to follow the terms and conditions of employment set forth by the organization.

  15. Where employees can turn for help
  16. Ultimately, you want employees to feel comfortable turning to a trusted member of management for help when they want to report workplace violations, obtain workplace-related assistance and get answers to any other questions they may have. The alternative is for them to turn to an outside third party, like the EEOC or DOL, which could trigger a costly and time-consuming investigation. When a handbook not only outlines one or two management individuals for an employee to turn to in these situations, but also designates another individual to turn to in the event the employee disagrees with the first decision, they are more likely to keep their complaints in-house, and this is a good thing for employers.

When was the last time you reviewed your policies and updated your employee handbook? Or do you need help creating one but aren't sure where to start? Searching for the answers you need online is time-consuming and inefficient. Plus, can you really ensure the information is accurate?

How Paycor Can Help

When it comes to trusted HR expertise, turn to Paycor for help. Paycor's HR Support Center is a comprehensive HR resource that provides organizations access to employee handbook templates, sample job descriptions, useful checklists, law alerts and more. Plus, dedicated support from an HR expert is always available with HR Support Center On-Demand. Want an HR expert to review your handbook policies? Have questions regarding an employee's behavior? The support you need is only one phone call away.

Connect With A Specialist

More to Discover

Employment at Will Laws by State

Employment at Will Laws by State

Unlike most nations, the US labor law heavily favors employers. Employment is generally ‘at will’, and can therefore be terminated at any time. There is usually no burden on employers to prove “just cause”—they simply have to avoid discriminatory or illegal action. However, many states do apply important exemptions.To visualize these difference, we’ve created a map detailing at-will employment laws across the US.Here are at-will employment rules by state broken down in a helpful table. State Public Policy Exemption Covenant of Good Faith Implied Contract Exception Alabama No Yes Yes Alaska Yes Yes Yes Arizona Yes Yes Yes Arkansas Yes Yes Yes California Yes Yes Yes Colorado Yes Yes Yes Connecticut Yes Yes Yes Delaware Yes Yes No Florida...

Emergency COVID Leave Request Form

Emergency COVID Leave Request Form

Businesses are working overtime to create safe workplaces, but when a COVID surge hits your community, there’s only so much you can do. Employees may suddenly require time off—to isolate, care for their children or quarantine, if instructed to do so by local authorities.In these cases, employees will qualify for Emergency Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA, as established back in March by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Download COVID-Related Leave Request Form Emergency Leave for COVID The FFCRA applies to companies with 500 employees or fewer, and offers: Extended Paid Sick Leave Two weeks (up to 80 hours) at 100% of regular salary (up to $511 daily and $5,110 total) if an employee is … Quarantined (ordered by...

Employee Vaccination Policy Template

Employee Vaccination Policy Template

Employers have a responsibility for the health and safety of their employees, but is it their place to enforce mandatory vaccinations? And is that even legal? Every year, employers ask these very questions and in industries like healthcare, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Now is the time to think about creating an employee vaccination policy—here’s everything you need to know. Download Employee Vaccination Policy Template Can Employers Make a COVID Vaccine Mandatory? The reality is, at this stage we don’t know which vaccines will be released on the market first—there are big questions to be answered about how widely available vaccines will be, their cost and their effectiveness. It may be some time until a vaccine is freely available to...

Webinar: Getting it All Done: 6 Compliance Issues your HR Department Must Embrace - 12/31 @11AM ET

Webinar: Getting it All Done: 6 Compliance Issues your HR Department Must Embrace - 12/31 @11AM ET

For HR departments to avoid costly errors and fines, there are 6 areas of compliance they need to consistently follow. During this webinar, we’ll breakdown each area and provide actionable steps to take to gain visibility as a strategic HR leader at your organization.Speaker: Lori Kleiman Lori Kleiman is a business expert with more than 25 years of experience advising companies on HR issues. Her background as a human resources professional and consultant gives her unique insight on how HR professionals and executives can work together effectively to achieve business goals. Her programs are designed to provide critical HR updates and best practices to small businesses. In addition, she is has served as adjunct faculty member at a number...