As a management tool for employers and a roadmap for employees, the employee handbook shouldn’t be considered a “one and done” situation. Because it addresses all issues pertinent to the day-to-day operation of the company and ultimately, it’s success, it will require consistent review to remain the cutting-edge resource it needs to be.
“The handbook is a living organism that needs to be changed constantly,” says employment attorney Albert Rizzo
Any number of situations can signal the need to review the handbook and make necessary changes.
For instance, growth within the company can bring about the need to revamp conflict resolution procedures. When the inevitable skirmishes and other related blips, bumps, or snafus arise, the detailed plan outlined in the trusty handbook should be the go-to resource for both the offense and defense. From the proper way to voice complaints through every step of the resolution process, an established step-by-step procedure will pave the way for a consistent approach to conflict. But the “by the books” plan may need to be tweaked or even overhauled as the company dynamics change, to ensure against favoritism or the temptation to sweep something under the rug. The better the procedure fits the current workforce, the more likely a timely, satisfactory resolution will be reached.
The changing of state or federal labor and employment laws will require a review to determine how the new rulings will impact the company and its policies. It’s wise to state the actual laws then, in layman’s terms, outline how that particular mandate will play out within the company. Attention to these details demonstrates to your employees that you’re striving to be compliant with the regulations and will honor your obligations to them.
The latest trends and the shifts in societal norms will also bring about a need to review the employee handbook. Take smoking for instance. While definitive rules regarding cigarette smoking in the workplace or on the property are established and included, now the use of e-cigarettes, as well as the medical or recreational use of marijuana, need to be addressed. As the states continue to adopt and work through laws concerning marijuana, employers must stay up-to-date and be mindful of how changing laws will impact their company.
The proliferation of personal devices coupled with the ever-changing world of social media creates another area where employers must be vigilant and attentive to how their company will be impacted. Privacy issues concerning the protection of company data, the sharing of proprietary information by employees, as well as employees’ privacy issues must all be addressed.
The benefit of a comprehensive handbook is non-negotiable, so set aside time each year for review and revisions. Better yet, schedule a check-up every six months.
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