Why have an Employee Handbook?

A few years ago, I was working with a family owned business and the owner asked me a simple question, that all small business owners need to be thinking about… “Why should we have an employee handbook, when we have a family owned and operated business?”

The answer:

Simple answer: Because you want to make sure you keep your family in one piece.

The real answer:

Good intentions in employee and family relations are not enough. To keep your business from having employee management issues or a family feud; written policies that cover legal, employee behavior, compensation and growth are much better insurance to avoid issues.

Your handbook can be the most important communication tool your company (business) has. Handbooks (HB) can minimize lawsuits or complaints, it can be used as an orientation tool, instruct employees on what is expected and can help confirm your commitment to the well-being of your employees.

Your handbook should cover but not be limited to the following:

  1. Mission and vision statement

  2. Employment process (hiring, orientation, probation period, promotional standards)

  3. Performance goals (attendance, job performance, health and safety, personal conduct, and termination policy)

  4. Employee benefits (benefits waiting periods, vacation, insurance retirement, 401K and other benefits)

  5. Compensation /Wages (Salary, overtime, timekeeping, payday)

Remember business is fluid and so is your handbook. SO, it will change as you grow. It would be a good idea to review and update it every three years.

Whether your business has 1 employees or 100,000, you need to have a handbook that makes sure everyone knows what is expected and what they can expect.

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