The employee handbook is a book given to the employee by the employer which contains rules, guidelines and company policy. A good employee handbook is a mark of professionalism of a company whereas a bad one can generate flak. It helps to maintain a good employer-employee relationship by clearly setting out policies and ruling out obfuscation.
What’s more, the employee handbook serves as a legal tool for conflict resolution with the employees. It has to be drafted with utmost care covering all rules and regulations. It must follow a balanced tone covering both “what to do” and “what not to do” tasks.
Following are the necessary elements that should be a part of the Handbook:
Disclaimer never contains the details of the contract. There is no obligation on the company in case an employee is fired. It should clearly state that the handbook nullifies all other circulars and rulebooks shared with the employee. It should further mention that the company guidelines and policies are subject to change. Obtain an acknowledgement signed by the employees stating that they have read the handbook.
Company’s Vision and Mission Statement –
Sharing a company’s vision and mission statement is important to instil a sense of belongingness in your company. When a new employee reads it, he should be confident enough to have chosen to work with your company. For that reason, such statements should be published in the initial pages of the handbook.
Different Employee Positions and their role –
Your workforce may be a mix of full-time, part-time and contractual employees. The handbook should explicitly state the duties and obligations of the fulfilment of every employee position. It is important to mention these definitions to avoid conflicts within employees especially in organizations where employees have overlapping responsibilities.
General Policies and Procedures –
All general policies and procedures pertaining to your company should be mentioned in this section. It may cover dress codes, pay periods, timesheets, telephone use, holidays etc. It can include procedures related to visiting card requests, accessing and renewing membership to the office library, and so on.
Discrimination Policies –
Your handbook should clearly state that there is no room for any kind of discrimination in your company. Irrespective of language, caste, colour, or gender, all employees will be given equal treatment. Also, mention the consequences to be faced in cases of discrimination. Chart a proper guideline for aggrieved employees and who they should approach during distress. A complaint system procedure should be in place and mentioned in the handbook.
Leave Policies –
The leave policy of the company should state the number of paid leaves allowed with terms and conditions. Include all types of leaves permitted by your company like sick leave, vacation, sabbatical, and maternity leave. Mention that all leaves have to be planned before and are subject to the approval of the senior officer as an employee can’t desert an important project and go on leave. Insert employment termination clause or restraint on employee benefits if excess leaves are taken. Also, mention unpaid leaves allowed by your company along with the reason.
Employee Benefits –
In this section of the handbook, you can mention all the employee benefits depending upon his/her position, experience, seniority or any other condition. It can include healthcare benefits/ medical insurance for the employee and his family, life insurance, travel and dearness allowances. There should be a specific mention of the benefits and support provided to differently-abled employees.
Bringing Technology to the Employee Handbook:
A handbook is a complete guide and information tool for your employees. Review and update it as and when required. To make things easier, you can make accessing an employee handbook easier by converting it to a searchable electronic format. A good HRMS tool can help you to integrate employee handbooks within employee-accessible applications.