Employee handbooks are useful documents for setting
standards and expectations. Staff members typically receive a copy within the
first few weeks on the job. For most the booklet is filed away or stashed at
Employers regularly edit and update handbooks to comply with
legislative changes or company initiatives. These alterations don’t need to
involve a complicated reprint. A paragraph or two is changed; a copy of modified
or added language posted on a bulletin board, company intranet or issued via
email to satisfy notice requirements.
The best intention of revisions, inserts and distribution
can be thwarted by conflicts with other handbook verbiage. When you updated
FMLA procedures at the beginning of 2009 did you check to make certain they
agreed with any attendance or call in procedures? Before you effectuate a
content change identify an editor to take the time to review the entire
booklet. They can start with the new text but should continue to all sections.
Don’t be surprised when the exercise points out the need for
additional corrections. It’s time to take out the rule about employee meals that
describes the location of a break area which was renovated into a conference
room two years ago.
If your handbook is a dusty ten plus years old, the first
and only edition was issued in 1999, it might make more sense to start fresh.
And if your version of this manual is a few random sheets pulled out of a
drawer, make a 2010 resolution to put a real one in place. A solid handbook
does not need to be a 65 page tome that becomes a kitchen sink for any policy
on everyone’s mind. A compendium of core policies that is concise and
clear provides a road map for both employees and company management.