As a small business you may feel that it is unnecessary to have an employee handbook. But, they can be very helpful even for a company with just a few employees. Handbooks lay out clear expectations for employees from day one. They are also easy to reference, and may help in legal situations if a former employee feels they were unfairly terminated.  Since the idea of putting together an employee handbook can be a little daunting, I’ve put together some tips to help you get started:

  1. Handbooks don’t have to be long – they can simply be a list of your most important policies and procedures. Topics you may want to include are your equal employment opportunity policy, time off policies, equipment policies, your payroll procedure and your expense reimbursement procedure. If you want to get fancy, you could also include a section that talks about your company’s mission, vision and goals.
  2. Contact an HR consultant to review the handbook.  They will help make sure all of your policies are explained clearly and that you are using the correct language.
  3. Once you complete the handbook, make sure you have employees sign an acknowledgement of receipt. This is clear evidence that employees read and agreed to the policies in the handbook.  Going forward, have new employees read the handbook on their first day.
  4. Keep a running list of additions to the handbook and then make all of the changes once a year. Since employees have to sign another acknowledgement of receipt when changes are made, making updates once a year reduces the administrative burden.
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