An employee handbook, while not mandated by federal or state law, is an important document for communicating with staff, communicating company policies, and demonstrating your commitment to complying with applicable local, state, and federal workplace guidelines. It's among the most essential documents you can create for your business.
Given the rising number of employment laws and regulations and risk of penalties for noncompliance, many small business owners recognize that an up-to-date employee handbook can help provide a strong line of defense against legal actions that could be brought against your business by an employee or ex-employee. Even more so, the value of an easy-to-update employee handbook is important as your business needs change and/or grow, and you may even choose to build your own.
Business owners may make some common mistakes when developing their employee handbook. For instance, it may be tempting to use one of the many handbook templates available online, or create a “Frankenstein” handbook using another company’s document. While these may seem like low-cost options, they can be too generic, and may not adequately communicate your specific business policies, procedures, etc. This could also leave your company vulnerable to potential employee lawsuits.
Using a Handbook Builder
The ability to build your own employee handbook with a handbook builder product may offer the ability to create a document based on your specific business needs. Handbook builders may include the following features:
- The document is generally fully editable and customizable with the ability to include your company’s unique policies, philosophy, and culture.
- The document can generally be downloaded as a .pdf or to a Word file and saved in a location you choose.
- There may be the ability to distribute handbooks however you wish (e.g., company intranet, email, etc.)
- Periodic updates based on changes in federal and state workplace laws
A do-it-yourself handbook should be easy to use and support the addition of your own company policies. With the right tools at your fingertips, building your own handbook can:
- Take the stress out of customizing policies that are unique to your company.
- Make it simple to keep the handbook current with timely updates to federal and state policies.
Features to Look for in a Handbook Builder
Look for an option that includes pre-developed content, intuitive navigation and instruction, as well as legally reviewed federal and state policies. An effective handbook builder can help guide you on which policies are recommended, and which are optional based on where your employees are working and your employee count.
Whether you are creating a handbook for the first time or looking to roll out a new version of an employee handbook, consider the advantages of using a robust handbook builder to help meet your specific business needs.