Having an employee handbook is essential to the efficient operations of your business. In general, it contains all the procedures and policies that go on in your firm. It’s vital to have one, especially in construction companies, where logistics plays a huge role. Employee handbooks can also be a tool for conflict resolution between employers and employees.
Let’s see how you can set up your employee handbook and utilize it efficiently.
First off, the purpose of an employee handbook is to familiarize new and old employees with all the protocols and rules in the company. It also contains all the rights and obligations that employers and employees have. Any new employee should receive their employee handbook to fully understand their responsibilities and what is expected from them. Additionally, if created correctly (i.e., following your local and state laws), it can provide legal protection for your firm.
What are the main parts of an employee handbook?
Different companies have very different employee handbooks, and it is up to you to decide how to structure yours. Nevertheless, there are some essential points that will add immense value to it. Here are some of them:
Company mission and vision
Educating your employees about the value they add to your firm can be the first step to fully immersing them into your company culture and earning their loyalty. They must know about your mission and values from day one.
General employment information
To avoid constantly going back and forth with new employees, all the material covering employment policies should be covered in your employee handbook. Make sure to include information regarding hiring, firing, compensation methods, leaves of absence, and any other procedures you find relevant.
Rules of conduct
Aside from legal requirements, it is essential to include the ethical expectations you have regarding your employees. Starting from the dress code and alcohol usage policy all the way to your conflict resolution policy, your employees should always be informed about how they should behave.
Interestingly enough, this is the most referenced section of employee handbooks. Here you can include all the small or large perks that come with having that job. These perks may range from having a flexible schedule all the way to free gym memberships. Additionally, you can include information about vacations, retirement plans, or insurance.
Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws
This section is especially vital in providing legal protection to your firm regarding misunderstandings between employees and employers. If your handbook follows your federal, state, and local laws, you’ll always know where to turn in case an employee accuses you of discrimination.
After informing your employees about their obligations, it is also necessary to tell them about the punishments they will receive if they don’t follow the rules. In case of any conflict, you’ll be able to refer back to your employee handbook and settle any misunderstandings.
How to set it up?
If you have all the information mentioned above, just putting it all together can work. If you are missing some info, here is a framework you can follow to set up a comprehensive employee handbook for your construction company.
Set up your mission and culture
The environment in your workplace is shaped by the culture you set up right from the beginning. Knowing what your mission and vision is, you should create your workplace ethics based on your company’s core values.
Create your policies
Your first step should be making sure your policies are finalized. Keep in mind that they should fit the lifestyle of the kinds of employees you wish to find. For example, younger people tend to be drawn to less strict work environments. However, don’t forget to consider the needs of your firm as well.
Go over it with an attorney
There are two ways you can go to make sure you enforce your policies. Either have an attorney check it after you create it, or simply consult with an attorney during the process of creating it.
Review it every year
There is no doubt that your company is continuously growing, and so should your protocols and procedures. As time goes on, you will probably find things that don’t work or could work better for your firm. It would be best if you always revised your employee handbook to keep up with the rapid changes in this modern world. Aside from internal changes, reviews are also important for keeping up with changing laws. One year is an excellent interval of time for reviews, however, depending on your industry, you can choose to do it more often.
How to make sure your employees read it?
An employee handbook may be a lengthy document. Thus, you are responsible for making sure your employees want to read it. Merely emailing a pdf to them may not work. Instead, make a ritual out of presenting it to your workers. Have an annual meeting, conduct surveys, and even give prizes to those who complete quizzes based on the handbook. Additionally, you can have attractive graphics to make it more readable and friendly.
Whether you’re creating your employee handbook from scratch or simply updating yours, going through these steps is essential. It should have most of the answers to your employees’ questions and be the comprehensive introduction to your firm for newcomers.