In order to have an effective policy manual, the employer should take the time to identify what is important to the business, both in keeping the employees informed and happy, as well as accomplishing the business objectives of the company.
"It can serve as a playbook and spell out the rules of the game for employees about what is expected of them," says Nancy Cooper, chair of the labor and employment group of Garvey Schubert Barer, a law firm based in Portland, Oregon.
They typically generate consternation from employees, especially if they are not clear, well-written, and specific to the business and if they focus mostly on negativity -- in other words list, only what not to do.
Employers, meanwhile, typically look at these manuals in terms of how to cover their…assets…in the event of any potential lawsuits. Experts say that small and mid-sized businesses can craft employee manuals that both protect them from litigation and put staff members at ease by spelling out in positive terms the company's policies.
The first rule for writing a winning playbook is that it must be written in a clear, understandable manner, and reflect the culture of the business.
Certain policies need to be in the handbook by law.
"The value is that employees can understand what is expected of them and what they can expect from the company," adds Paul Rowson, managing director at World at Work, a global human resources association that focuses on compensation, benefits, work-life, and integrated total rewards.
Employee manuals, policy and procedure manuals, employee handbooks -- whatever you want to call them -- are often considered a necessary evil by both employees and employers.
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This means that you should take the time to learn about local and state requirements, as well as federal requirements, Cooper says.
Other policies should be in the handbook to protect the employer.