If your organization hands out their employee handbook to new hires and then never thinks about the handbook again, you are not alone. The fact that many companies make this same error, however, does not make it an effective business practice. It is vital that all employees – be they new hires or senior members of the team – periodically revisit the employee handbook. This practice ensures that company policies stay fresh in employee’s minds. Regular re-examination of the handbook also ensures that employees understand your company’s processes. This includes workplace guidelines, and procedures for resolving problems or issues they may face.
Although employers often expect their employees to remember and revisit the employee handbook on their own. Employers still have a responsibility to keep the handbook up-to-date with new developments and approaches to emerging needs. This article explains how your organization can determine if and when it is time to update your employee handbook. It also covers how an up-to-date employee handbook benefits not only your employees, but your company’s overall productivity and efficiency.
How Often Should You Update An Employee Handbook?
Review your company employee handbook at least once a year.
It is crucial that all companies and organizations maintain an annual practice to assess and update the handbook’s contents. This is especially wise for start-ups and developing companies, who are more likely to face new, complicated scenarios as their business grows.
Ideally, you should update your company’s handbook every time there is a change to federal, state, or local employment laws. When your employee handbook reflects the latest legal and regulatory changes, it safeguards not only your employees but your company as well.
Inform Employees Regarding Changes in Policies with Evidence
While some companies maintain a concise employee handbook that only includes information required under the law, other companies may treat their handbook as an all-inclusive manual for their HR department and the organization at large.
Managers and HR departments must notify employees whenever there are regulatory changes related to their employment within a specific department. That does not necessarily require you to add those regulatory changes to the handbook. Instead, you may only need to provide an update to the specific employees who were impacted by the updated protocols.
However, if it’s an organization-wide update, it is best to reflect changes in the employee handbook as quickly as possible so that the older policies do not needlessly impact new employees.
An updated employee handbook is imperative because it may help protect your organization in the event of a lawsuit or other legal issue. Likewise, an employee handbook serves to outline your organization’s processes and stipulate its dedication to complying with all relevant employment laws.
If a former employee were to file a complaint against the company, your organization may reference the employee handbook as documented evidence of company procedures concerning employees and various work scenarios. If it’s not feasible for your organization to update its employee handbook several times a year, then schedule an annual recurring date to revisit the handbook’s accuracy. Employment law is ever-evolving, and it’s integral that organizations stay abreast of the latest employment-specific regulations.
Reasons To Keep Your Employee Handbook Up To Date
There are multiple reasons why you may need to update and modify your employee handbook. These include:
- State and local regulatory variations. When changes in state and local laws affect your employees, it is vital to notify them. You should also add these regulatory changes and updates in your company’s employee handbook.
- Societal changes. Social standards and cultural norms change. Your organization must consider these sociocultural shifts whenever updating policies. It is good to annually review your company’s employee manual to ensure that it reflects societal changes.
- Branding changes or company policy. Your employee handbook can also reflect changes to the organization’s direction or business approach. Employee handbooks should also mention company-specific guidelines for observing legal and regulatory requirements. Doing so will help employees understand your company culture, values, and mission.
- Federal law. Whenever there are changes or amendments to federal laws that regulate employment, update your employee handbook to reflect those changes.
- Add Information. During your annual handbook review, you may discover that a policy was left out. Annual reviews are an opportunity to correct errors and omissions.
Your employee handbook will set the tone for your workforce. It can teach your employees about the company’s mission, as well as how the company determines promotions, its rules for ensuring on-the-job safety, its internet usage policies, and information concerning compliance with employment laws and regulations. None of this information has utility unless employees can readily access it. An accessible employee handbook is a useful employee handbook. By acting as your employees’ primary employment reference manual, it can also build a more robust organizational culture.
Stay Ahead Of Changes With HR Search & Rescue
The bottom line is that organizations should evaluate and amend their employee handbooks at least once a year. An even better practice is to update the handbook every time a new law, regulation, or policy is implemented
It can be challenging for some organizations to stay on top of the latest laws and regulations that impacting the workplace. If your organization needs help writing or updating its employee handbook, HR Search & Rescue can help streamline the process. Contact us today online or by calling us at (844) 934-3743.