Naperville Business Attorney Talks About Developing an Effective Employee Handbook
If you own a company that employs just one or two people, there is a good chance that you are very familiar with your employees. With that familiarity comes the trust that they will usually act in the best interests of your business. As time goes by and your company expands, however, you will probably need more employees, many of whom you might not know so well. Before you reach this stage, it is a good idea for you to create a list of company policies, guidelines, and procedures for your employees and to publish this list as an employee handbook.
In my practice as a business law attorney, I have helped many clients create employee handbooks that clearly communicate their expectations to their workers. I have also seen first-hand how having a clear, concise handbook can protect a business owner and the company from liability in certain situations. If you are in the process of creating an employee handbook, there are few things to keep in mind.
Use Common Sense
Rules and regulations are among the most common components of a handbook. It is important, however, to not make rules just to have them. There should be a good reason for any rule you decide to make part of your company policies. Rules that exist just for show or that are never enforced can affect your credibility as an owner, so you should only create rules that make sense and that you intend to enforce. Failing to enforce the rules consistently could make it much more difficult for you to take disciplinary action when it is necessary.
Use a Casual Tone
While there is an argument to be made that employee handbook constitutes a type of contractual agreement, it does not have to read like one. Labor and employment laws are complex enough, and there is no reason for you to simply restate them using the same legal jargon. Your team should know what you expect of them in clear, concise language that is easy for all of your employees to understand. Consider using humanizing words like “you” and “we” instead of the more formal “the employee” and “management” whenever possible.
If you just wanted a boring list of rules and policies, you could print one out and post it on the wall in the breakroom or another common area. Your handbook is a forum where you can expand on your company’s rules by using parables or stories of how a model employee should behave. Use a few extra words to describe ways that your team can put your company’s values into practice, and give relatable examples whenever you can.
In today’s world, employees are looking for more than just a place to work. They want a workplace in which they feel cared about and appreciated. If your company offers perks and benefits such as paid time off, tuition reimbursement programs, and company-paid insurance, do not hide them behind your workplace policies and disciplinary system in the handbook. Instead, place them near the front of the employee handbook so that new hires can see that your company focuses on positivity.
Call a DuPage County Employment Law Attorney
Before you distribute the handbook to your employees, it is important to have it reviewed by an experienced Naperville business attorney. We will go through your handbook and help you understand your responsibilities, as well as address any potential areas of concern. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.