Does your small business have an employee handbook? If not, then you should consider creating one. A well written, engaging employee handbook can help guide new hires in the quickest way possible to know about your business, your goals and your policies.
A great employee handbook can help new hires get comfortable in the workplace, and avoid asking “What have I gotten myself into?” Business owners should take the same time and energy to create a memorable employee handbook as they do in pursuing a new hire.
When creating an employee handbook, small businesses don’t have to be legalistic and cagey. Instead of dwelling on sections about sick day policies and such, try a more open, authentic, and honest approach to your employee handbook.
Create an employee handbook from your new hire’s point of view
What do they want to learn from you about your company? Write the handbook as if you’re learning about the company for the very first time. This authentic approach will cast a more favorable reception to the handbook from your new hires.
Include these items in your employee handbook
Think about incorporating these elements in your employee handbook.
- Personal welcome
Welcome the new hire, and congratulate the reader on winning the new job. Warmth and honesty are the key here.
- Company history, mission, values and goals
Convey information about how the business got started, where it’s headed, and how it will get there with the help of the new hire. Remember, employee involvement and recognition matter.
- Office culture
Can you explain your office culture? What makes your business tick? How can you produce confidence in your new hire to succeed? Tell the new hire about events and work examples that show great company culture.
- Company workload
Startups and small businesses may often have a designated workload right from the start, but explain how new employees can be proactive on projects, getting involved without being asked, and demonstrating their value and input.
- Employee expectations
What are the key things a new employee should expect in the workplace? This could cover basic things like general working hours, remote working guidelines, and department work descriptions, but even deeper topics like employee safety, gender respect, sexual harassment and employee team relationships.
- Legal paperwork and more
This section should ideally come in a separate packet, to make the forms easier to fill out. Items to include here are information about employee holidays, vacation time, leaves of absence and more.
- Personal welcome
Use customized software to create your handbook
Look for software programs that give business owners control over the set-up, production and editing revisions for employee handbooks. The Gradience® Handbook Manager is one such customized software offering that allows you to tailor your policies and procedures for your individual business and industry and so that they comply with federal and state requirements. You can also check out Blissbook.