Creating an Employee Manual to Minimize HR Nightmares


Running a business is certainly rewarding, but it can be unpredictable at times. While you can’t see the future, you can safeguard your company against many HR nightmares by creating an employee manual. This compilation of company policies serves as an invaluable point of reference. In fact, it can even protect your organization from lawsuits. Provide each new employee with a copy of it on their first day of work, to make your expectations clear from the start.

Employee Handbook Guidelines

Ready to write your first employee manual? Every company has different needs, but you can get off to a great start by covering the following bases in your handbook:

  • Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): Depending on the type of projects your company works on and the employee’s role at your company, it may be necessary to have them sign an NDA to safeguard private information.
  • Discrimination: It is your job to protect the rights of all of your employees. You’re required to comply with the equal employment opportunity laws barring discrimination and harassment at your company. Use the handbook to explain these laws and how employees are expected to observe them.
  • Compensation: Outline legal obligations concerning overtime pay, pay schedules, performance reviews, merit increases, time keeping records, breaks and bonuses to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Attendance: Clearly state your company policy on work hours, punctuality, reporting absences, flexible schedules and telecommuting, to ensure everyone is treated fairly.
  • Dress Code: Share your standards of acceptable attire for both men and women. Explain the types of clothing that are unacceptable for employees to wear and the consequences that will be taken for violating these rules.
  • Safety: Explain your policies for ensuring the safety of your team at work. This includes compliance with OSHA standards requiring all accidents, injuries, potential safety hazards, safety suggestions and health and safety issues to be reported.
  • Technology: Detail your policies for the appropriate use of company computers and software. Include steps people need to take to secure electronic information.
  • Social Media: Outline key topics, such as the use of social media at work and what employees are permitted to say about your company online, if anything at all.
  • Benefits: Share information about any benefit programs and eligibility requirements available to your employees. Include optional benefits like health insurance, wellness programs and retirement plans.
  • Leave Policies: Provide details on any voluntary and required leave policies offered by your company. This includes things like family medical leave, jury duty and military leave. Also cover policies in place for vacation, holiday, sick and bereavement leave.
  • Miscellaneous: You will also want to cover topics like employee referrals, termination and resignation policies, relocation, job postings, transfers and even applicable union information.

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