Developing and distributing an employee handbook is no easy feat. Capturing your company’s policies, procedures and culture in one document means covering a lot of ground and, oftentimes, gaining consensus from colleagues and upper management. Once the draft was complete, you likely had to develop a process for: distributing the employee handbook; confirming that the policies have been received and read by all employees; keeping track of those signed acknowledgement forms.
Needless to say, once a manual has been implemented, you may be inclined to rest on your laurels and never give it a second thought.
However the reality is that an effective employee handbook is a “living, breathing document,” that needs to be reviewed and updated periodically. Leading HR pros recommend doing this annually, at the very least.
Once you have reviewed the document in detail, how will you know if your employee handbook needs an upgrade?
- Your Employee Handbook Predates the Internet
If your employee handbook was developed offline, it likely could benefit from an update. Digitizing your employee handbook offers numerous benefits, such as simple electronic distribution, password protection, collaboration features, and streamlined collection of digital signatures – to name a few. Utilizing an online app to develop, host and publish your employee handbook will make the whole process more efficient, allowing for headache-free updates going forward.
- Your Company’s Brand or Culture has Changed
Your employee handbook may have been a good reflection of your company when it was developed a few years ago… but a lot can change in a short time. Factors such as new leadership, expansion and growth, or external factors such as a change in consumer trends can have a significant impact on the culture of your organization. Or, perhaps your organization has gone through an identity change or rebrand. Review your employee handbook to ensure its content, look and feel align to the company, as you know it today. If not, it’s time for an upgrade.
- Your Employee Handbook is Stale
There may have been a time, many years ago, when a staff handbook was simply a document outlining rules, processes and other procedural material. Those times are long gone. Today, companies across all industries, including hospitality, retail, technology and finance, are recognizing that the employee handbook is a company’s chance to make a first impression. When reviewing the employee handbook, look for opportunities to inject the personality of your company, talk about its values and leadership, and wherever possible, include photos, infographics and other visuals to make it engaging and fresh.
- Your Policies are Out-of-Date
While employers are not required by law to have an employee handbook, any HR professional or legal counsel will advise that companies can use the policies in an employee handbook to protect themselves and employees from lawsuits. This may cover issues such as harassment, employment termination, discrimination policies, and more.
But if your company policy book is out of sync with the latest state or federal legislation, it isn’t going to be much good to you. Additionally, if your company has rolled out new policies since publishing and distributing the company handbook, the discrepancy may cause avoidable confusion and disputes amongst employees and management.