4 common problems with employee handbooks

Running a small business can be both challenging and thrilling. Because you likely have an innovative product or service that your customers want, you need to retain top talent. Drafting an employee handbook is often an effective way both to set reasonable expectations and to protect your organization from legal liability. 

From communicating important policies to outlining disciplinary protocols, a comprehensive employee handbook accomplishes a variety of goals. Still, you do not want your handbook to do more harm than good. Here are four common problems with employee handbooks: 

1. Forgetting a legal review 

There are a variety of federal, state and local employment and labor laws that your organization must follow. Naturally, you do not want your employee handbook to run afoul of any of these provisions. By asking a competent attorney to review your manual, you increase your chances of inadvertently including illegal, unethical or ill-advised language. 

2. Omitting a confirmation page 

You may need to hold your employees to the terms outlined in your employee handbook. Of course, an employee may argue that he or she never received the book. Therefore, you should usually include a confirmation page in your manual. You should also probably ask your employees to sign the page and return it to you. 

3. Allowing provisions to become obsolete 

Employment laws change regularly. Furthermore, you likely have policies and procedures that supersede outdated ones. If you do not regularly update your employee handbook, it may not be a good source of information for either you or your workers. 

4. Failing to adhere to the book 

To fully utilize your employee handbook, you must be certain that you adhere to all of its provisions. Unfortunately, managers may inconsistently apply your rules. If so, your employees may argue that you are discriminating against them, fostering a hostile work environment or otherwise infringing on their rights. 

Having a good employee handbook is an excellent idea for most businesses of any size. Still, if your company’s book suffers from some common problems or any others, you may not be getting the most out of it.

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