Why A Small Business Owner Needs An Employee Handbook
If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably asked yourself dozens of times whether your company needs an Employee handbook. You might be thinking that employee handbooks only apply to large corporations with hundreds of employees, but the truth is, even if you are a small business owner with only a few employees, your company needs an employee handbook.
There are many benefits to having an employee handbook. Probably the most important benefit is it can reduce your risk of a lawsuit from your employees. When you have outlined company guidelines to your workforce, it shows your employees that your company supports an environment of professionalism and order.
With clear guidelines in place, your employees will understand what is expected of them, what company policies need to be followed and what they can expect from you, their employer.
While you can never guarantee these guidelines will be followed, they do create an employer/employee agreement and an understanding that your company will support the employee as long as the employee meets the expectations outlined in the handbook.
But I have no time for an employee Handbook
Sure, putting together a handbook for your employees takes some time and planning. But implementing an employee handbook will benefit your company immensely. It will also give you some insight about how you want your company to operate. Your handbook should be clearly written with good grammar and no typos.
It’s probably not a great idea to download a template you found online and just put your company name and logo on the handbook, because you want your handbook to be unique to your corporation. Nor is it a good idea to copy another employer’s handbook since his or her requirements could be much different from yours.
Your handbook should be written to comply with local, state and federal laws. That is not to say you should reference federal and state laws but just make sure your company guidelines are consistent with compliance and regulations pertaining to your industry.
What Should I Put in My Employee Handbook?
Each employer will have different needs and desires for their handbook, but some of the most common things you should include are:
Workplace Etiquette: How your employees should be treated and how they are expected to treat their others
Attendance: The importance of arriving to work on time and absenteeism
Sick Days, Vacation and Time Off
Employee safety: how to follow safety guidelines and put safety first
Hours, Pay and salary: How employees are paid. Normal working hours and how over-time works
Discipline: Conduct that is acceptable or unacceptable and consequences for bad behavior
Benefits: What benefits are available to employees such as retirement plans health insurance and other insurance benefits. How to qualify for company benefits, plan descriptions about how they work.
As you can see, an employee handbook can be very important for your business, even for a small business with only a few employees. Not taking the time to create and maintain an updated handbook can be a big mistake that can cost your company more in the long run.
Note: This should not be taken as legal or tax advice. These are just the views of a veteran insurance agent who has been in the business for more than 20 years.