Refreshing the Employee Handbook
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!
Contributor: Kathryn Freeman, NCG Business Coach & Director of Operations
It’s the last day of the year! For many contractors, closing the books on 2020 will be a relief, for some it may have even been the best year they have ever had. In any case, the calendar turn provides us with an opportunity to look ahead and do an audit check on the basic information that is shared with employees, field personnel and office alike. It’s time to to review the Employee Handbook!
As many of you are engaged in the Cascading Planning Process™ this would be the time of year where I suggest that the businesses we coach look to their Employee Handbook for any needed changes. There is a bit of down time in the next few weeks and yet you are close enough to the events of the current year to remember what may need changing.
As an owner, you may be thinking, “When am I going to have time for this?”, but this, like a crucial conversation, is a problem only when it is too late to do something about it!
Before opening up the existing handbook, take note of the following:
- Delegate, delegate, delegate! Select one person on your team to own this project from start to finish!
- Review local municipal, state and even federal changes to any safety standards that you may have outlined in your current handbook. (It is worth noting here that I would recommend a separate Safety Manual that can be updated regularly, at least quarterly).
- For example – has your state or municipality started to require paid time off?
- What other mandates may have an impact on your handbook?
- In a COVID world, this may mean mask requirements or personal hygiene standards.
- Make a list of any employee issues that occurred throughout the year that may need clarifying in your handbook.
- Do you have a cell phone policy that may need to be changed to allow for your field personnel to listen to audiobooks while working?
- Make a list of employee issues that occurred that are not directly related to a written policy. Are they worth writing a policy around?
- Do not abdicate in favor of a written policy. Said differently, not all issues need a codified statement. Often effective communication of standards serves the purpose and it is when leaders are not communicating that most transgressions can occur.
It is only now, after these steps have been taken, that one can open the current Employee Handbook and read it thoroughly to review what currently stands. Did any of the above situations occur and do they warrant an addition to your handbook? Having delegated this process (see step 1), as a business owner you can now make a decision from a removed state – should any sections be re-written, should any sections be removed, should any significant information be added?
Once these decisions have been made and the proper sections refreshed, assign the highest C in your office (meaning the most detailed person) to go through to look for spelling, formatting even grammatical errors.
You are now ready to republish your handbook. At an all-employee meeting, share the new book and have copies of an acknowledgement form prepared to capture signatures indicating that your team has read and understood. It’s important that your team is aware of the changes and all are on the same page as you embark on your new year. Remember, the Employee Handbook serves all within the company – the employees know what is expected of them and your policies are created for operational efficiency!
To learn more about refreshing the Employee Handbook, check out our most recent podcast episode!
Happy New Year!