Why your practice needs an employee handbook

November 13, 2017|Rick Balzan

Create an employee handbook to ensure your policies are consistent and clear.

That time of year is upon us—yes, the holidays. For me, the stress level rises knowing I will be assembling something for my children or grandchildren. Anyone who knows me will agree that I am not the handiest person around. I am the most thankful person on earth for the directions that come with the item to be assembled. Yes, I do absorb what the directions say, but sometimes that doesn’t even help. It also takes me twice as long to get the best gift ever put together.

An employee handbook is very similar to those magnificent directions. No two practices are alike, and employees truly appreciate the guidance and direction an employee handbook offers. The employee wants to understand what is in it for them—and I am not speaking of just pay and benefits.

Here’s how an employee handbook can help you become a great place to work and an employer of choice.

  • Introduces employees to your culture, mission, vision and values. This may be the most important section of the handbook. It provides an idea of whether this is a place where they will want to spend a great deal of waking hours.
  • Communicates what is expected of employees. A well-written handbook serves as a guide for policies and procedures. 
  • Educates employees on what they can expect from leadership. The handbook provides a hint of leadership styles. If practiced, they will mirror the culture, mission, vision and values.
  • Clarifies key company policies. Provides leadership with the blueprint needed for consistent communication.
  • Showcases your benefits. Quality benefit offerings are an excellent recruitment and retention tool. This is the section with the most visits.
  • Discusses federal and state laws. These will vary based on the size of your organization. Listing yours will deter people from believing they were misinformed.
  • Offers direction when employees need help. If an employee has a concern, it is better they come to you than to make the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor their first call.
  • Assists leadership in treating employee fairly. Flexibility in rule interpretation is fine as long as there is no discrimination.
    An excellent employee handbook is a great tool for getting leadership and employees on the same page. It can serve as a blueprint for how to get the work done and what is expected in doing so.

An employee handbook can save you time

You are swamped with patients, paperwork and regulations related to the practice. Save yourself some time and let the employee handbook answer some of those common questions. The handbook informs employees of their rights, and at the same time, defends your practice against lawsuits arising out of their lack of understanding rules and policies.

If you would like more information or assistance in creating an employee handbook, please reach out to rick.balzan@schencksc.com or any of Schenck’s HR Consulting team members.

Rick Balzan, manager – HR consulting, has more than 20 years of human resources experience, including training, recruitment, policy and procedures, job training and employee handbooks. He provides one-on-one guidance and counsel, along with the ability to analyze and offer solutions to everyday HR challenges.