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employee handbook

The importance of having an Employee Handbook

If you’re in the beginning stages of hiring or been in business for awhile and want to have a guide for employees, then one of the first and most important items to complete is an Employee Handbook. Having an Employee Handbook helps to communicate basic yet important information like procedures and policies to workers.

Why it is important

No matter the size of your business, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page. An Employee Handbook helps your staff and managers understand the various dimensions of their jobs.

Rocket Lawyer’s Employee Handbook is easy to use and customizable, allowing you to lay out the rules that are right for your business. Your handbook can cover: benefits, disciplinary procedures, harassment and discrimination policies, safety, wages and working hours, and more. Here are just a few things you might want to spend some time thinking about when writing your handbook:

Will you require employees to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
If you’re hiring someone who will have access to your marketing plans or your engineering back-end, it’s might be a good idea to have them sign an NDA.

Will you have a dress code?
Are you going to have your employees wear a uniform or shirt? If you are going to have a specific dress code you may want to include it.

Will you allow social media or phone usage?
Will your employees be able to use computers for personal use? Will you allow them to use their phones during office hours? You can lay out what an employee can and can’t use their work computers for as well as outlining when and where they can use their phones.

What benefits do you offer?
Whether it’s a 401(k), profit sharing, commuter benefits, healthcare, or tickets to your local baseball team, include a section about benefits, if you offer them. When reading a document that details the do’s and don’ts of your business, employees generally like to be reminded of the perks they’re getting, as well.

What’s your paid time off (PTO) policy?
Note what kind of PTO you offer and to which employees you offer it. Please keep in mind that certain kinds of time off are enforceable by law (such as maternity leave).

Ignorance of company policies on the employee side can result in poor performance and failure to follow company policies. By signing the Employee Handbook, your employees are attesting that they not only understand what’s inside, but that they promise to abide by it. Having all of this in writing also helps you comply with federal and state employment laws, while possibly giving you some amount of protection when it comes to a legal issue.

It is well worth the effort

Employees who know what to expect are generally happier at work. With your Employee Handbook, management is held accountable along with employees, and both parties must abide by set guidelines. When they do, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. After all, it’s only fair for everyone to know ahead of time what is expected of them.

If you have any questions about what’s right for your business, you can ask a lawyer a quick question. If you’re looking for more information about hiring employees or other employee-related documents, you can visit our Employer help center.

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