So, you’ve just crossed the finish line in the hiring process and now you’re ready to welcome your new employee into your small business. There are critical steps you need to take both to onboard and retain employees. A key link between these two is your employee handbook.
Your manual not only sets the stage for your company’s culture, vision, vibe, and rules of the road, but it also establishes your intention to communicate clearly. Also, certain elements within the handbook—such as perks, compensation, benefits, and a safe work environment—are essential for the retention of employees.
We’ll explore why you need an employee handbook as a small business owner (and the heartache and dollars you’ll inevitably save), what to include, how to create one, and how to make sure your employees make it one of the first documents they read on day one.
The Purpose of an Employee Handbook
An employee handbook is the operating playbook and communication tool you and your team need to codify the rules of the road for working at your small business. A well-written handbook offers a breakdown of the standards, expectations, and processes you expect your employees to follow, while also signaling to them how you’ll manage situations that arise.
Great handbooks are documents that will excite and empower your employees, while reinforcing your culture and values. The employee handbook provides clarity and context—should any problems arise—so employees know precisely where to turn. New hires are given a copy of the employee manual with a form to sign, confirming they’ve read through it and understand its contents.
While the manual doesn’t guarantee compliance (and it’s not a formal employment contract), it does give all parties clarity on how to operate, and it can protect small business owners from legal action or even be used as evidence in an anti-discrimination lawsuit, for example.