Terrible Shakespeare paraphrasing aside, the question of whether or not an employee handbook is necessary has been discussed, sometimes heatedly, on a number of occasions. It is easy to see why the employee handbook is ostracized, many are long, boring, heavy and complicated, to the point where an employee needs to hire his or her own legal counsel to parse through the legalese. This assumes, of course, that the employee is even reading the handbook.
I count myself as a proponent of employee handbooks, and not because I write them. If you have read any of my other blog posts, you will notice that I am a firm advocate of clear communication with employees.
Many employee handbooks forget the main purpose of a handbook, to communicate the policies to the employee. For example, your vacation policy should only require a few sentences: how many days they get, the way vacation is accrued, and the policy for requesting vacation.
The contents of an employee handbook will always differ from business to business. Most employers want policies regarding time off, discrimination, and harassment. Your business may want or need to have a dress code, or a computer/social media policy; and the bulk of a handbook’s content should be specifically tailored to your business. However, one rule should govern handbook drafting: keep it as simple as you can. And I would be happy to discuss your particular handbook at any time.