When starting a business, entrepreneurs tend to focus on the product or service in progress. In many cases, a minimal number of people collaborate on getting things off the ground.
Spun up in the frenzy of bringing a project to fruition, new hires come on board as momentum builds. Unfortunately, strategies vital to the general health of the business occasionally get overlooked – an employee handbook, for example.
Three ways documentation can protect business interests
As an employer, your responsibilities include setting the standard for your company culture. You must also clearly communicate your expectations, commitment to your workforce and dispute-resolution processes.
You might think of an employee handbook as a guide for:
- What you offer employees. Describe the benefits available to each of your workers so they understand what to anticipate from their employment. This might include information about health insurance options, available time off and your internal complaint policy. Additionally, you can address reasonable accommodations for workers with a disability.
- Behavioral expectations. Present a comprehensive overview of the conduct you will (and won’t) allow at your worksite. Outline job responsibilities, specify safety practices and define the organization’s intolerance for discrimination and harassment.
- Action you may take. Inform employees of their legal rights along with your commitment to addressing potential concerns as they arise. Explain your disciplinary process and potential reasons for termination.
Once employees read and understand the handbook, ask them to sign an agreement to abide by these policies, as well as a non-disclosure agreement for those who will handle the company’s proprietary information.
Written policies provided to those who earn a living in your employ can help maintain consistent fair treatment for all. At the same time, a well-drafted handbook may mitigate the risk of legal action that could steal time and money away from your vision.