Monday, 23 August 2021 11:44

An FAQ Guide To Small Business Employee Handbooks

It's no secret that employee handbooks can be game-changers for any business. The benefits of an employee handbook are tough to ignore, but does your small business really need an employee handbook? What policies should it include? And how often should you update your small business' employee handbook?

Over the years, CourtSide® Consulting has created hundreds of custom employee handbooks for small businesses. Today we'll leverage our expertise to answer the top FAQs we've received regarding these resources.

8 FAQs On Small Business Employee Handbooks

If you can't find the answer to your question here, feel free to call our experienced HR professionals! We're always happy to chat about the benefits of employee handbooks and what they can offer your team.

1. What Is An Employee Handbook?

As the name implies, employee handbooks are valuable communication resources that are provided to all of your workers. A handbook functions as an all-in-one resource that provides your employees with all the important bits of information they need to know.

It may help to think of an employee handbook like the operating manual for your business. They provide guidance and important information related to your organization's history, policies, values, benefits, and more.

Handbooks are customized to each business, which means the information of each handbook varies slightly for each company. That said, employee handbooks typically include things like:

  • Company policies and procedures
  • Dress codes and codes of conduct
  • Employee benefits and perks
  • Disciplinary processes
  • Mission statement, company history, and values
  • Employee expectations and responsibilities
  • FAQ guides
  • And more

2. Does A Small Business Need An Employee Handbook?

Yes and no. There are no state or federal laws that specifically require businesses to have employee handbooks. In fact, many startups and small businesses choose not to have one.

However, it is highly recommended that every small business has an employee handbook. Why? Because a handbook will:

  • Provide legal protection for your organization
  • Inform employees about workplace rules and expectations
  • Minimize confusion and improve productivity among your workers
  • Save your business time, manpower, money, and other resources

If you want to see your business excel at every turn, then an employee handbook needs to be a must.

3. What Policies Should I Add To My Handbook?

The exact policies that should be included in your handbook will vary by your company's size, your industry, your company culture, and many other factors. That said, there are a handful of policies we recommend for every small business' employee handbook. These include:

  • EEO and ADA frameworks
  • Anti-harassment and discrimination policies
  • Electronic communications guidelines
  • Vacation, sick time, and PTO policies
  • Insurance policies
  • Drug and alcohol policies
  • Employee classification and entitlement of overtime policies
  • And much more

4. Will My Employees Actually Use The Handbook?

Yes! While it may take some time for your tenured employees to adjust, your entire workforce will use their handbooks with enough encouragement.

New hires will especially find their handbook to be valuable, as it will guide their onboarding experience.

5. How Can I Develop An Employee Handbook?

The DIY approach to employee handbooks can be challenging for many business owners, especially since it leaves room for error. Online templates are available, but these options might lack the features that you need.

If you want to create a handbook on your own, you'll need to follow a few general steps:

  1. Draft an outline of what you need to include in your handbook.
  2. Create, review, and revise your current company policies and procedures.
  3. Review and edit the information with your key stakeholders (e.g., management, consultants, legal counsel, etc.).
  4. Design the appearance of the handbook.
  5. Find a vendor to produce the physical handbooks.
  6. Distribute to your workers and update as necessary.

At the end of the day, it's best to let the HR professionals handle your handbook. They'll understand the best practices, walk you through the creation process with ease, and have the necessary resources to develop your handbook from scratch.

6. Can I Use Policy Samples I Find Online?

Technically you can, but it is not always recommended. Why? Because those samples may not be comprehensive, compliant with federal and state laws, and may not have been updated recently. Online templates and sample policies also don't reflect your organization's policies, practices, and values.

Sample policies can be a good place to start, but you can't just copy and paste them into your handbook. A good handbook will be tailored to your workforce and your business needs.

7. How Often Should A Handbook Be Updated?

As a good rule of thumb, your handbook should be updated every year. Workplace laws can change every year and so can your internal policies and procedures. For that reason, your handbook should be reviewed and updated each year.

At a minimum, your legal counsel should review the handbook every year or two to ensure you're up-to-date with current employment laws.

8. Where Can I Get A Custom Employee Handbook For My Small Business?

Right here at CourtSide® Consulting!

We specialize in custom employee handbooks and our HR specialists will work closely with you to develop the perfect handbook for your business needs. And we don't stop there.

In addition to your custom handbooks, you'll gain 12-months of ongoing support from our HR professionals. For a full year, you'll have unlimited access to our team of highly experienced and fully certified HR specialists. And to top it all off, you'll gain 24/7 access to our HR Resource Library too.

Contact CourtSide® Consulting today to learn more about our custom employee handbooks for small businesses.