Know Your Human Resources
In my role as a human resources advisor for a small local non-profit, I, along with the other advisor, sat down recently with the Executive Director to review a draft Employee Handbook from 2008. While basically a solid document that met most of the federal and State requirements for an organization of this size, a few red flags were raised with some wording and concepts. We were able to, in a meeting that lasted less than 2 hours; update this document so that it more accurately reflects the intent and goals of the organization, ensuring it conveys the new organizational culture. In addition, we ensured that the policies met current legal requirements and that we took into consideration technology changes that led to a policy statement on the use of social media in the workplace.
You may be thinking – I have an Employee Handbook, how often do I need to have it reviewed?
Employee Handbooks need to be viewed as living, breathing documents. While an annual review may seem a bit much, the minimal expense and time spent will be well worth the peace of min in knowing that your employee handbook that is current and an appropriate reflection of your organization as it is today.
You may be thinking –I don’t have an Employee Handbook. Do I need one?
No matter what the size of your organization, as long as you have employees, having an employee handbook is good idea. Why?
- Handbooks provide guidance and direction to employees and managers.
- They help to ensure that you are treating employees in a fair and consistent manner.
- They provide employees with information about working conditions and some of the policies that affect employment.
- They describe many of the responsibilities of the employee and outline the programs designed to benefit employees.
Even though there is no legal requirement to even have an employee handbook, there are a couple things you need to be aware of if you do have one.
- Your employee handbook must be both federal and State compliant.
- You must ensure that the handbook itself or the wording of the policies does not create a contractual relationship with the employee(s).
Should you decide to move ahead with a handbook there are a few different options.
- You can purchase a handbook template through any office supply store or on-line for anywhere between $29.95 to $149.00+. Be aware that, as in all things, you get what you pay for. Not only do these software packages vary in price but they also vary in complexity, customization level, and effectiveness. When cacluating the cost, make sure you add in the time you or someone else will spend customizing the handbook to meet the needs of your particular organization and the State(s) in which you have employees.
- You can hire a lawyer or a human resource consultant to assist you with designing and implementing an employee handbook. There are benefits to this option that outweigh any potential added expense ~
- From the get-go, you will be assured that your handbook is legally-compliant and that every policy has been scrutinized to ensure that it does not create a contract.
- You can feel confident that your handbook reflects your organizational culture and company-specific policies.
- You have the benefit of having the expert introduce the handbook to your employees, explain the reasoning behind key policies, and answer questions.
If you would like to discuss further how C.H.A.R.T. Consulting can help you develop or edit your employee handbook, contact Nadine Pfautz at 781-826-0433 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This article is based upon general human resource management fundamentals, practices, and principles and should not be construed as legal advice.