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Five reasons you need an employee handbook

By Julie Ellison bio

For many employers, the idea of creating an Employee Handbook is overwhelming.  But the importance of having one should outweigh that hesitancy given the peace of mind it can provide you while you are busy running your law firm or business.

An Employee Handbook is your roadmap for what your employees can expect from you and what you expect from your employees.  It should be simple, straightforward and relevant.  Not having one in place can create huge headaches that are completely avoidable.

Here are five good reasons to have an employee handbook:

1. Handbooks Set Employee Expectations
Handbooks allow you to clearly set forth everything from job responsibilities to disciplinary procedures, thus keeping employee expectations consistent with the employer. Experience teaches us that employees are willing to accept almost anything associated with their work if they know about it before it becomes a problem.

2. Handbooks Help Limit Legal Liability
Court cases have made it clear, for example, that employers without a sexual harassment policy and reporting procedure lose key legal defenses that are otherwise available under the law. And employers have greater difficulty defending themselves in everything from unemployment hearings to discrimination actions when there are no written policies available for review.

3. Discipline Is More Uniform With A Handbook
A written disciplinary procedure means that employers and employees alike know what to expect when a rule is violated. One of the biggest causes of losing unemployment hearings and discrimination actions is treating similar situations in a dissimilar manner. A handbook can eliminate this problem.

4. A Handbook Communicates Important Information
Management often wastes a lot of time answering the same questions over and over. Handbooks that include a recap of benefits, work times, dress codes, time off, and other “everyday” issues saves the time and energy of management personnel.

5. Handbooks Allow Employers To Make Many Key Decisions Ahead Of Time
Policy decisions concerning everything from dress codes, social media use, to personal internet blogs, to privacy concerns in the workplace can all be carefully thought out, discussed, and decided upon before an issue actually arises. This means that long range implications and other, more subtle, matters can be part of management’s decision-making process. Such matters are not always at the forefront when an incident happens and a decision must be made quickly.









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