I recently did some research on the subject of employee handbooks and I was pleasantly surprised.  Most of the information available emphasizes the importance of a handbook not being a book of policies and rules.  It helped me realize that the reason most businesses avoid getting a handbook is because that is exactly what they don’t want – a book of laws and decrees.  Fear not!  This can be a chance for any business to evaluate its philosophy, lay out a strategic plan, share positive information about the type of work environment it sees as ideal.

The real purpose of the employee handbook should be to clearly communicate information that is important to your employees.  This can be your opportunity to educate employees about company products, customers, commitment to the community and competitors.  “The goal is to establish a positive image as an employer, responsible citizen, provider of goods and services and a contributor of economic benefits to society” according to About.com.

So here are the top 10 reasons:

  1. Present the philosophy of your organization.  State your purpose and mission.
  2. Clearly and consistently convey what is expected of employees of your organization
  3. State your strategic plan
  4. Educate employees about your products, services and about their role in the organization
  5. Communicate legal obligations of the employer and employee
  6. Avoid difficult discussions in the future by making it (whatever it is) a policy now
  7. Describe why you are a desirable place to work; position your business as an attractive employer
  8. Explain benefits including vacation, paid holidays, insurance and employee assistance programs
  9. Detail the organizational environment including things like smoking, rest rooms, break rooms and emergency procedures
  10. Provide fair and consistent treatment for your employees by putting things in writing

For more information on determining if you need an employee handbook, or to have one custom made for your small business, contact Jason Chagnon at jchagnon@masemp.com.