An employee handbook can be the foundation of employee performance and a shield against law suits OR it can be a time bomb that confuses employees and strips away your legal defenses!
It depends on how well it’s written and implemented.
Here is a list adapted from The HR Law Weekly of common mistakes in company handbooks:
- ADOPTING A “FORM” HANDBOOK- It many include promises you will never be able to keep.
- INCLUDING TOO MUCH DETAIL ON PROCEDURES- This is confusing to employees and provides fodder for lawyers. Stick to company policies and keep separate procedures manual for managers.
- MENTIONING A “PROBATIONARY” PERIOD- To be effective, it must be called an ” Introductory” Period
- BEING TOO SPECIFIC IN YOUR DISCIPLINE POLICY- This may give the idea that the policy covers every infraction.
- NOT BEING CONSISTENT– Make sure all policies speak in one voice.
- OVERLOOKING AN AT-WILL DISCLAIMER
- SABOTAGING DISCLAIMERS BY WHAT YOU SAY- Especially by reassuring employees their jobs are safe.
- NOT ADAPTING THE HANDBOOK TO ACCOMMODATE EACH STATE’S LAWS
- FAILING TO UPDATE THE MANUAL FREQUENTLY FOR CHANGING LAWS
- SETTING UNREALISTIC POLICIES- If managers won’t enforce it- don’t put it in the handbook.
For handbook services, please contact HR Advisors.
– The HR Law Weekly