Employee Handbook Guide for Small Businesses
June 15th, 2022
As your company expands, an employee handbook serves as a guide for what your employees may expect from you and what you expect from them. So, unless you are the single employee of your company – or you run a family firm with only you, your siblings, and your cousin as employees – you need an employee handbook.
Having unclear personnel policies can lead to major issues. Employees frequently hunt for loopholes in your employee handbook to excuse behavior that is outside of your standards. Your employee handbook should include instructions for reinforcing your rules. Keep your employee handbook basic, concise, and relevant to your specific firm when you begin creating or revising it. Describe the policies that apply to your personnel. But it takes some forethought to learn how to design an employee handbook for a small firm, but the return is well worth it. Are your internal policies documented in a formal manual? If they are not, you may find yourself in a difficult situation.
Common mistakes by companies in writing Employee Handbook
Many businesses don't know how to design an employee handbook for a small firm, and they make some very typical – but possibly devastating – errors. The following are three frequent mistakes made while developing and executing policies:
Several handbooks are written in compliance and legalese, leaving employees perplexed and HR with a mountain of queries to address. Instead, shift your handbook's focus to what your workers need to know rather than what you want to tell them. Separate the compliance and policy wording. Employees want quick, direct responses and information that explains why they should bother.
2) Focusing more on policy rather than values
Don't let policy take over your manual. Teach the value system that drives decisions and the vision that motivates people to contribute. Reduce policy references to a link where essential policies may be accessed. Create an inspiring and straightforward guide to culture and value-based decision-making in your handbook. Call it a cultural book, and encourage staff to read it on a regular basis rather than hating it.
3) Poorly written Handbooks
Finally, your policies are only as good as how well they are articulated. What's the point of creating an employee handbook for a small firm if no one reads it? An employee handbook that is not distributed to each and every employee exposes you to risk. When creating or updating a current handbook, all internal policies, particularly those pertaining to sensitive matters such as vacation days and reasons for termination, should be distributed to every existing employee. Make handing out the guidebook a regular component of your orientation procedure from there on out.
Guidelines for creating a unique employee handbook
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all corporate handbook, but most contain a few key components. Here are some recommended practices to consider when creating an employee handbook for a small firm.
1) Taking help from lawyers
Creating a handbook tailored to your home services business does not imply starting from scratch. It is a good practice to create the guidebook by using online platforms like Rocket Lawyer. The website has an easy-to-follow template and allows its users to modify each component for the user’s sector and style of work. You might also contact an attorney for assistance in completing the specifics. Enlisting the assistance of a legal mind, whether online or in-person, means you're developing a guidebook that will stand the test of time.
2) Separate section and subsection for each policy
Anyone's eyes gaze away when they see a long list of employee policies and state legislation. A good manual, as shown below, contains a well-organized table of contents and designated sections. Creating an employee handbook with an easy-to-follow structure allows employees to get directly to the part they need. And you won't be accused of including something in the fine print that a reasonable person may overlook.
Table of Contents Section 1
1.1 ---- 1.2 ---- 1.3-----
2 Employment Policies
2.1---- 2.2 ------. 2.3 -----
3) Creation of Soft Copy
It is a good practice to keep a guidebook at each of the job sites so that staff may take it and read it as required. This technique could work for you as well, or you could put a copy of the guidebook in the glove box of each service van. Each employee should have a physical copy of the handbook. When feasible, generate a soft copy of the handbook and email it to each new employee, or make it available online via google sheets or the HR portal. With a digital copy, any employee can read it at any time on computers or smartphones in case of any confusion or conflict.
4) Precise Social Media Policy:
Any organization may profit from social media policies. Is anybody interested in having their employee harass a person on the internet, become viral, and be publicly tied to their company? Most likely not. Create a policy that instructs your employees on how to act online so that your organization is not embarrassed. Given that we live in an always-connected, always-digital world, having a solid social media policy is becoming increasingly important.
5) Workplace safety issues:
Addressing workplace safety concerns is an especially essential goal for a home services provider. On a construction site, safety may have immediate and devastating consequences. Make sure your employee handbook includes a section describing how employees should report possible dangers. Even better if you can specify the method they should follow (for example, reporting to their immediate supervisor in writing).
6) Updating the handbook (as per the company’s needs):
Your handbook must evolve as your company grows, adjusts policy, and responds to new legislation. It is not official if you modify your termination policy but do not update the handbook. Your employee handbook should be updated as needed. It is not only fair to keep employees aware, but it also protects your organization when it comes time to enforce a corporate policy.
As many small companies discovered the hard way, your human resources must change in tandem with the expansion of your business. Make sure you create a guidebook that you will be able to provide to an attorney or a state authority if necessary. Meanwhile, utilize WorkerX to discover how to develop your business. Our capabilities allow you to easily track an employee's work fulfillment so you know when they don't show up for a call.