Handbooks 101: The Important Questions

10/08/18

Handbooks 101: The Important Questions

Having a properly made and maintained employee handbook can be essential to creating and instilling a strong cultural foundation within your organization. However, too many times, handbooks fall onto the backburner, and who can blame us? When tasks, requests, and paperwork start piling up on desks it’s easy to forget to keep an updated handbook, or worse, pass it off as something to get to when someone, hopefully, remembers to get around to it. Perhaps it’s time to start making handbook maintenance a top priority, it may seem like a small piece of your organization’s culture but remember, this is an employee’s first introduction to what you want the core of your organization to rest upon.

So what questions need to be asked when taking steps to perfecting your employee handbook?

1) Do you have one?

            A bit of a no-brainer but make sure you do, maybe you think you do, or remember someone mentioning something about a handbook but upon looking you may come up empty handed. Remember, a few documents compiled together into the husk of a handbook are not going to get the results you want.

2) Is it easy to access?

            Can anyone, no matter who they might be within your organization, easily find your handbook? Is there one designated person who can be contacted if a handbook is needed? Does that person truly know where the handbook is or is it a scavenger hunt every time they need to find it? We all know how easy it is for files to quickly pile up and become mazes of documents, but make sure your handbook remains in an uncluttered, easily found and easy to access location so it’s not an expedition every time one is needed.

            But what if you’ve tried this route? You’ve done your best to keep your files organized and your folders relatively junk free, but you’re still having trouble with searching for your handbook at a moment’s notice. An electronic handbook might just be the tool for you. Many organizations have recognized that an on-demand, electronic handbook, possibly on an intranet of some kind can save the new employee time and the HR department a lot of stress if it means a new employee can easily access their handbook at a moment’s notice.

3) Is it up-to-date?

            Regardless of how well a handbook may be put together, if it’s more than three years old there’s a good chance that it won’t be entirely in-line with your organization’s expectations anymore. Organizations, their cultures and their operations change over time, and so should your handbook. Not only does this keep new employees from feeling lost and confused if what they read in their handbook continually no longer applies within the office, but it also maintains a professional look and feel for your handbook when it helps new employees seamlessly transition into your workplace.

            This is also just as, if not more important from a legal aspect. Having your legal department or attorney regularly review your handbook is an easy way to ensure that you won’t find yourself in trouble when your employee accidentally violates wording that has been irrelevant for over a year all because of a lack of regular editing.


Now you can get to work! Remember, sometimes many hands make the work harder than just a single pair does. Designate a singular person within your organization to be in charge of your handbook, and ensure that they understand exactly what needs to be in the handbook, where it is, and has continual reminders throughout the month/quarter/year/etc. to update the handbook if needed.

Your handbook is, or should be, a vital part in building a positive, strong and beneficial organizational culture, don’t neglect it. Your handbook will only return however much you put into it.


Know where you would like your handbook to be, understand the steps to take to get it there but just not sure where to start? Come talk to us. At IBTX, we understand how important your employee handbook is and we are available to help. With extensive backgrounds in employment law and Human Resources, our dedicated team of HR consultants can provide your company with as much or as little support as you need. Whether that means simply helping you find the right place to start, guidance in how to take your handbook to the next level, or even creating a handbook for you if you would like. We are happy to custom-tailor an HR strategy that best fits you and your organization’s needs, no matter how unique they may be.

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