The employee handbook is something that everyone has had. While employees may not think twice about the booklet they receive on their first day, a proper employee handbook could protect you in the long run.

If you don’t have an Employee Handbook, you should. 

At ConnectedHR, we work with businesses and organizations every day to create and implement their employee handbooks. In this article, we cover what employee handbooks are and why you need one for your business.

What is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is a document that outlines the critical company policies and operating procedures in one spot for your employees. Whether it’s in digital form or printed, it’s essential for every company to create a handbook and for every employee to review.

Does Your Ohio Business Need an Employee Handbook?

Ohio is an At-Will work state which means that both the employer and employee may end the working relationship without cause. However, being able to cite specific reasons for termination is vital to preventing Wrongful Termination lawsuits.

When an employer provides a handbook in an at-will work state, the guidelines are treated as a legally binding extension of the employment contract. Other states have some exemptions, but not Ohio. This book is your opportunity to put your expectations in writing and receiving it implies consent.

Having guidelines and expectations in writing can protect you and your business from unlawful termination accusations and lawsuits.

Many companies have new hires confirm in writing that they received the handbook. They recognize the handbook as an essential tool, and that signed document is another layer of protection.

Creating Employee Handbooks for Your Small Business

Creating an employee handbook from scratch is no small feat. Luckily, there are resources that can help you create a comprehensive handbook to cover all of your basis.

Businesswoman doing conference presentation in meeting room-1When drafting a handbook for the first time, it’s important to include all the basics:

  • Dress code
  • Attendance
  • Discrimination
  • Paid and Unpaid leave
  • Theft/destruction of company property
  • Harassment
  • Disability
  • Equal opportunity employment

This list is always growing, as shifts in society and technology happen, it’s import to take that into account when updating your employee handbook.

Examples of this may be:

  • Social media conduct
  • Phone usage at work
  • Bullying
  • LGBTQ rights

At larger companies, you handbook may need to change every year. This is time deregulation in many industries, as well as a rapidly evolving internet culture. You may need to strike or develop entirely different policies from industry to industry, and state to state. Federal and state laws are changing, and it’s up to you to change with them.

As a small business, you may not have many employees, and the employees you do have may be absolutely stellar. However, you’re going to want both your current and future staff to adhere to certain standards and codes of conduct. A well-written handbook keeps everybody on the same page. It sets a precedent for the larger company your small company is going to become.

It may seem pretty basic, but remember, everything in this book is legally binding. So, consider hiring a legal professional to either write it, read it, or both before you hand it any new hires. You’ll add to and edit over the years, but you have to build on a solid foundation.

Employee Handbooks, New Hires, and You

Employee Handbooks are serious business, but this is also an opportunity to establish the culture you want to see at your company. Every new hire gets one- it’s a big part of the welcome basket.

As your business grows, you may not get much face time with every employee. The handbook has what they need to know- everything from lunch to arbitration to inter-office disputes. Think about your vision for the company and how you want it to run. This is your chance to set the tone.

Your employee handbook can be the backbone of your office; it’s essential to take the time to ensure it’s done right.