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7 Reasons Why You Need An Employee Handbook

Whether you have three employees or three hundred, you need to have a way to inform them of your company's policies. An employee handbook serves as the bible of a company, providing the answers to some of the most basicemployment questions.

7 Of Reasons Why Your Business Needs An Employee Handbook.

Benefit #1: Liability - A well documented human resources policy contained in the handbook will put you in a strong position to defend yourself from a lawsuit. In most cases, winning an unemployment case requires proof that the terminated employee knew about the rules that led to their termination. The page of the handbook containing the applicable policy, as well as the signed acknowledgement form, is critical to the defense of unemployment or other legal claims.

Benefit #2: Your Rights As An Employer - Written policies concerning workplace inspections, drug testing and background checks will help establish your rights as an employer. Also, having a disclaimer in your handbook allows you to make changes to employee benefits and job requirements should the need arise.

Benefit #3: Setting Rules - Employees need to know the protocols of the workplace. A handbook can clearly explain dress code, drug testing policy, how to request time off from work, how to report possible theft or workplace violence, etc. Also, when rules are broken, employers can point to the specific language in the handbook for counseling or disciplining of employees.

Benefit #4: Setting Expectations - Through an employee handbook, your employees will know what is expected of them and what the consequences are for not meeting those expectations. In addition, by laying out your expectations up front, your employees will know exactly what they need to do to succeed in their jobs.

Benefit #5: Consistent Treatment - If you have several managers or executives, the handbook ensures that they treat all employees and issues consistently across your organization. Although every situation is different, the handbook provides a framework for managers to follow.

Benefit #6: Defines The "At-Will" Relationship - In most states, employees who are not under contract may be terminated at will. However, this employment-at-will doctrine can generally only be enforced when it is communicated to the employees. One way to do this is through your handbook, specifically on your signed acknowledgment page.

Benefit #7: Explaining Benefits - Benefits are useless if your employees don't know about them. Through the handbook, you can list all the benefits provided by you, such as workers compensation, medical insurance and short-term disability. As an employer, you spend a significant amount of money on every employee in ways that employees do not see or appreciate. A handbook allows you to take credit for all that you do for your workers.

Executive Summary: In today's business environment, a handbook serves both as a sword to carve out your legal rights, as well as a shield to protect them. A handbook also sets expectations, encourages employees to behave in certain ways, helps ensure employees are treated consistently, publicizes employee benefits and helps win unemployment claims and lawsuits. Considering all of the preceding points, you should make sure that you have an up-to-date, well-written, legally compliant handbook for your benefit, as well as for your employees.

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