By Christine Thelen, Director of HR Services, Trüpp.
A good employee handbook will protect and serve
The value of a well-drafted employee handbook is often overlooked. In truth, they are an invaluable tool for creating a strong work environment and protecting an employer. Here are just a few ways a handbook adds value for an employer:
Beware of one-size-fits-all handbook solutions
Because handbooks play such a strong role in protecting against risk, it is important that they are well-written, composed carefully, and tailored to your company size, industry group, work locations, and culture. Simply copying a handbook from the internet or another organization or using cookie-cutter handbook content can create unnecessary obligations and liabilities that the employer would not otherwise face, or result in the omission of important policy components or topics.
Don’t over-commit and keep it friendly
To effectively protect an employer, policies need to be sufficiently detailed, without making unnecessary or potentially harmful promises, or restricting the organization to a single approach or response to a situation. The tone of handbooks is also critical. An employee handbook is one of the first documents a new employee receives; setting the wrong tone can get your employment relationship off to a bad start. A negative, overly paternalistic tone tends to put employees on the defense from day one, and more likely to file complaints or challenge the implementation of policies. In contrast, more descriptive approaches written in the first and second person (“you” and “we”) are perceived as more positive, collaborative and approachable.