Why You Need an Employee Handbook

Employee handbooks may sound boring. But, as a Kansas City human resources consulting firm, Morgan Hunter knows they’re an essential tool for running a business, whether it’s large or small. Why?

Because a handbook can cut down on misunderstandings, make clear important policies, and answer basic, yet common, questions. It can also help you if you do face a lawsuit from an employee claiming unfair or discriminatory practices.

Now that you know why you need a handbook, how can you go about creating one? Here are some essential components yours should include:

  • Salary & Benefits. Information on salaries and benefits, including how you set and raise salaries; who qualifies to receive benefits, such as health insurance; and any bonus programs you offer. Also be sure to include information on vacation, sick days, and bereavement and maternity leave.
  • Working Hours. Cover working hours for full-time and part-time employees, as well as any rules surrounding overtime and related compensation.
  • Policies. Explain your company’s policy on issues such as Internet usage at work, regular tardiness, drug and alcohol abuse and drug testing, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Remind your employees of what behavior violates those policies and the consequences of doing so. Also include information on how to report policy violations and/or instances of discrimination or harassment. Another important policy to include is your right to terminate an employee without cause and their right to leave at any time. The purpose of covering “at will” employment is to protect you from a potential legal claim should an employee say an oral promise of job security was made to them.

Besides the information above, also make clear in your handbook that not every possible workplace situation has been covered in it. Otherwise, an employee may claim that certain actions you take are outside of what’s outlined in the handbook and therefore unfair.

Once you’ve developed your handbook, have a legal professional review it to ensure the information you’ve included is in compliance with local, state, and federal employment laws.

And finally, make sure every single employee gets a copy of the handbook and signs a form stating that they did receive a copy. This will protect you from an employee claiming they were fired for rules they were unaware of.

Need Help Creating an Employee Handbook?

Let Morgan Hunter know. As a Kansas City human resources consulting firm, our in-depth understanding of the human resource function, along with our 32 years of combined experience, enables us to help our clients overcome their biggest HR headaches. Let us help you too! Contact Morgan Hunter today to learn more.