A frequently overlooked item for many startup businesses is the employee handbook. This is an important document for any business, regardless the size. Your employee handbook should include items and topics that protect the company and its employees by setting clear guidelines and expectations.
Some of the important items to consider when creating your employee handbook include information about your company, guidelines on work and behavior expectations, as well as guidelines on internet and technology use.
1. Company Information
Since your employee handbook is something that will be provided to new employees, it is smart to include some information about your company. Details regarding company values, goals, and mission statement are excellent topics to introduce in the beginning of your handbook. By establishing goals that your company strives towards and holds most important, you are ensuring that new employees have an understanding of the company culture and beliefs.
2. Work and Behavior Expectations
It’s important that new employees understand your expectations when it comes to work behavior. If you have set schedules and times for breaks or time off, be sure to reference these expectations. No smoking or drinking policies while on site should also be noted in the handbook, as well as your prohibited harassment policy.
3. Internet and Technology Guidelines
Internet and technology guidelines are extremely important due to the advancement and ease of use regarding today’s technology. You must first decide how comfortable you are with personal use of your computers, printers, or internet.
TLNT advises the importance of including a policy directly referencing social media use. If you are comfortable with employees using company internet and computers to check social media sites while on break, be sure to include this in your handbook along with guidelines that will prevent abuse.
Today, some companies are becoming more flexible with how they allow employees to use technology. Taking time to check Facebook or twitter is not always seen as a bad thing, especially when done in moderation.
However, you should consider including in your policies something surrounding the referencing of your business on social media sites. For example, there has been some confusion in the last couple of years regarding who owns the rights to contacts on an employee’s LinkedIn account. It is smart to reference this topic in your handbook, especially when you have employees networking or dealing with existing and potential customers.
As with any company guidelines or policies, you should first check state and government laws to ensure your expectations are within legal requirements. Your employee handbook is not a contract, but simply documents of information to help your company and employees know the expectations and guidelines, within legal requirements.
What are some important items that you have added to your employee handbook? Please share your experiences below in the comments.