Are there errors in your Employee Handbook that you’re not aware of? An Employee Handbook is the baseline document that an employer gives to their employee to represent the company. Laws, policies, and compliance are constantly changing so if your employee handbook isn’t updated each year, you could get yourself into some hot water. For example, if you had to fire an employee because they took too many days off but their labor lawyer looks at the company’s Employee Handbook and the attendance policy isn’t updated, you might be served with a costly law suit.
Here are the top seven common mistakes we find in Employee Handbooks.
1. You’re Using a Cookie-Cutter Handbook Template
Your employee handbook should reflect your company—its culture and its values. It’s fine to reference templates but you shouldn’t just copy and paste an Employee Handbook that you found online and expect it to do everything it needs to.
2. You’re Not Including All Company Policies in the Handbook
Often employers will send memos via email or post bulletins in the break room regarding policy changes or new workplace rules, however these one-off notifications don’t always make it to the Employee Handbook. This can both be confusing for employees and could prove to be a liability for employers because an employee can easily claim they weren’t made aware of policy changes.
3. You Don’t Have Effective Anti-Harassment Policies
Having a clear anti-harassment policy and protocol is more important than ever. All employees should undergo sexual harassment training so they’re aware of what counts as harassment and what to do when it occurs. When there is an incident, employees should be able to refer to their employee handbook to find how to report the incident of harassment, including the specific person they should report the incident to.
4. You’re Enforcing Overly Restrictive Social Media Policies
Within the last decade, Social Media has transformed the way we communicate, share information, and keep in touch. When it comes to the workplace, Social Media can quickly become an HR nightmare so it’s important to craft a clear Social Media Policy. However, laying down an overly strict Social Media Policy could backfire and violate employee’s rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Striking the right balance is key by ensuring your policy includes dynamic language, brand and identity guidelines, and regulatory awareness.
5. You’re Not Making It User-Friendly
If your handbook is loaded with legal jargon and endless detail, you run the risk of employees not actually reading or understanding it. Make sure you’re keeping your handbook concise and readable so your company policies are easily absorbed and adhered to.
6. You’re Applying Policies Inconsistently
The longer an Employee Handbook gets, the great the possibility of contradictory or redundant language. This can lead to inconsistent enforcement which can have a negative effect on company morale, especially when two employees are handled differently for the same offense. This can devalue the importance of your employee handbook, leaving employees confused about where to turn to for reliable information. It’s important to get an Employee Handbook Audit every so often to troubleshoot your policies and look for ambiguous language.
7. You’re Not Running the Handbook by an Employment Attorney
Laws and regulations might change on a dime, so have your employment legal counsel review the handbook annually (at minimum) to keep it up-to-date. Make sure to notify employees regarding updates and have them sign and acknowledge that they received the updated copy of the handbook so you have a paper trail.
Need an Employee Handbook Audit? We can help you with that. Reach out to us at email@example.com to schedule a consultation.