The Top 10 Tips for Writing an Employee Policy Manual
by June Campbell

 



Do your employees understand what's expected of them in any given
situation?

More importantly, do YOU know what you expect of your employees in a
given situation?

Take the following scenario:

A journalist from your local newspaper phones your office wanting an
interview regarding a charity benefit that your business is
supporting. You are not available, so the employee who answered the
phone gives the interview.

Is this okay with you? Are your employees authorized to give
interviews to the media? All of your employees or just certain ones?
Can they give interviews without clearing it with you first? In what
situations? Do they know what to say and what not to say in an
interview? Do you require a written or verbal report following an
interview?

If you have an Employee Policy Manual, that's just one of the many
topics that you will have addressed.


1. You need a manual whether your business is large or small.
Regardless of the size of your business, the Employee Policy
Manual is an essential management tool that communicates your rules
and expectations to employees. Management consultants tell us that the
Employee Policy Manual is created to ensure consistency and to
establish methods that the employer will use to address an array of
issues.


2. Your manual will cover all aspects of employment.
A good Employee Policy Manual will not only cover issues like
media contact, but will address the more important issues of
employment, health and safety in the workplace and employee theft.


3. Follow a general format, but customize for your own business.
Although the contents of the Employee Policy Manual will differ
from business to business, all should contain the following main
sections: Employee Code, Employee Misconduct, Health & Safety
Guidelines, Internet Policy, and Sexual Misconduct.


4. Start with Employee Code.
Use the Employee Code section to outline basic elements such
as working hours, vacation time, salary and benefits, overtime,
orientation procedures, and performance evaluations. Also, include
coverage of customer handling and other issues that arise during the
normal course of the work day. Include job descriptions in this
section as well.


5. Include an Employee Misconduct section.
Use the Employee Misconduct section to include descriptions of
how employee misconduct will be addressed, including issues such as
tardiness, persistent lateness, or employee theft.


6. Remember to include a Sexual Misconduct section.
Even small and startup businesses should include a Sexual
Misconduct section. Include a policy item outlining behaviors that are
not acceptable within the workplace. Primarily designed to protect
women in the workplace, these policies also advance strong guidelines
to mitigate the occurrence of sexual misconduct in the work
environment.


7. Occupational health and safety issues are important.
When employees share in the responsibility for health and
safety issues, the entire business benefits. Guidelines must comply
with applicable local, state and federal legislation.


8. Add Internet Policy.
In the Internet Policy section, include mention of appropriate
Internet and email usage. Be sure to specify that employees may not
use company email or other Internet components to conduct illegal
activities, or to access or distribute pornography or copyrighted
materials, such as the popular MP3 music files. Should you ever find
yourself in court defending your business because an employee has used
your email system to send threatening or harassing emails, an Internet
Policy will be to your benefit.


9. Ensure that employees read the manual.
By having an Employee Policy Manual in place, employers are
taking a proactive stand, rather than reacting to a negative situation
when it occurs. The Employee Policy Manual should be required reading
for all new employees, as well as for existing employees when any
substantive change has been made.


10. Update as needed.
As time goes on, you'll encounter new situations to include in
the Manual. Add these new items as an addendum, then incorporate
within the manual when you do a major revision.



About the Submitter:
Submitted by June Campbell, Self-employed writer specializing in
business and technology, who can be reached at campbelj@nightcats.com,
or visited on the web at http://www.nightcats.com

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