You recognize the need for your organisation to have an Employee Handbook that details the obligations and responsibilities of employees and the organisation, but it may seem like an overwhelming task to create one. Break the process down into separate steps to make it manageable and begin by identifying your goals and what you want the handbook to accomplish.
- Purpose: While you can take different approaches to writing an Employee Handbook, the purpose of a handbook is to spell out important organisational information for employees. A basic handbook covers the mission and goals of the organisation and offers broad guidelines for what’s expected of employees and what employees can expect from the organisation. A more elaborate Employee Handbook includes specific rules and regulations on all the topics that pertain to an organisation.
- Outline: Making an outline of your handbook helps organize your thoughts and identify the topics you want to cover. It also serves as a table of contents. Start by dividing your outline into sections that cover broad areas of employment practices that are relevant to your organisation, such as an introduction, code of conduct, compensation & benefits, human resources, technology, administration and legal policies. If you discover that you want to cover some topics in depth, create subheadings for sections.
- Organizational Information: Organizational information includes the mission of the organisation and is generally included at the beginning of the handbook. Introduce the purpose of the organisation and the reasons for having a Employee Handbook. Depending on the size of your organisation and the length of your message, you can write it as one page or divide it into subsections. Typical topics include organisation history, goals, values and a statement about the organisation’s commitment to employees. On this, take a help of an HR consultant.
- Topics: Whether you decide to address your policies with broad and general sections or to use detailed subsections, introduce each topic with a sentence or two about the purpose of the policy, then use further paragraphs to detail the specific policy. Typical HR policies to address under standards of conduct include a dress code and a drug and alcohol policy. Under compensation you can talk about work schedules and hours, time sheets, paydays and how raises or bonuses are handled.
- Benefits generally address various leaves of absence and types of insurance offered. Human resources sections might include how employees notify the organisation of a change in status that affects compensation or benefits and a policy about access to personnel records. Legal policies should include statements about equal opportunity, confidentiality and zero tolerance for harassment.
- Legal Review: When you have finished writing your handbook, have an lawyer review it before distributing it to employees. A lawyer working in employment law can tell you if the language in your handbook complies with central and state laws and verify that you are not unintentionally bound to obligations you weren’t aware of when writing the handbook.