Keeping your employee handbook regularly updated is an important aspect of maintaining a cohesive workplace environment. Having a well-made employee handbook can help HR leaders communicate important updates and integrate the latest legislation and cultural shifts into the company employee handbook.
With so many new regulations being updated in areas such as health and safety and even dress codes, how can you tell when is the best time to update your employee handbook? While there is no straight answer that applies to everyone, there are some guidelines that can help you make the best decisions when it comes to maintaining a professional and modern employee handbook.
When is The Best Time to Update An Employee Handbook?
There are many factors that can affect the timing of employee handbook updates. In order to maintain an updated and comprehensive employee handbook, consider the following questions:
What is the purpose of the handbook?
This can vary between industries and the level of information employers want to provide employees regarding workplace laws. This should be determined by the type of position and industry you are involved in. Other businesses may opt for a more nuanced and detailed description of applicable workplace laws, cultural issues, and more. The more detailed the handbook, the more often revisions should be considered.
Overall, the purpose of the handbook is to:
- Maintain a common understanding of workplace dynamics
- Address important employment laws
- Establish the feel of your workplace dynamic and what is expected of all employees
These are just the main points, and different kinds of businesses may focus on other, more unique aspects of what it is like to work for your business.
Has there been new legislation or updates relevant to the workplace?
Asking this question and remaining diligent about keeping up-to-date with the law is critical for maintaining a high-quality employee handbook. New laws affecting employee rights are being passed everyday, and over time, it can affect a large portion of the business as they progress. Try your best to keep track of what is happening in the industry or have regular checks put in place.
There should be procedures in place that give your employees notice when something relevant to them has changed. This type of practice can help to minimize the number of times that you update your employee handbook while still keeping employees informed.
Have there been major updates to the company?
If there have been important changes to any company policies, procedures, leadership, or other factors, then an employee handbook update may be due. There are two options: either provide notice to employees of these changes, or have annual or semi-annual employee handbook reviews in place in order to get a modern and consistently optimized employee handbook.
Some of the main things to ensure are always updated are disability accommodations, equal employment, family/medical leave policies, and more. Each state has unique requirements to be aware of, so be wary — especially if you operate in multiple states.
Many industry professionals and business leaders will agree — if it has been longer than a year since you updated your employee handbook, it could be very beneficial to the overall efficiency and workplace dynamic of your office to get it updated. Having an updated employee handbook can improve the motivation and efficiency of your employees, ensure that managers and employees are on the same page, and also keep your business safe from expensive litigation.
It can be very beneficial for companies to work with outside professionals to ensure that the employee handbook is covering all of the points it needs to and contains everything that a company is legally responsible for including. This process is very thorough and requires a deep knowledge of best practices and industry-specific regulations and workplace laws.
HR Search and Rescue is a full-service HR consulting company that specializes in solving complex workplace issues and enhancing the overall efficiency of any business. Contact us to get started with updating your employee handbook today.