Employee Handbook is More Than a Rule Book

By: Hameed Khan

Employee handbook should give more information than just set out a list of rules. It gives management the opportunity to communicate the company's mission and culture together with setting expectations.

What should be the main purpose of an employee hand book? Should it be the rules that employees are expected to follow? Should it be a marketing vehicle for enticing prospective employees to seek job opportunities in the company? Or, should it contain a roadmap to assist in business decisions which impact employees?

Various forms of employee handbook have been adopted depending upon the message management wants to deliver. It might be worth considering the features of the three different types of handbooks before finalizing one for your organization.

Rules dominated handbook will tend to ultimately constrain your employees. Handbooks written using this predominant theme will indicate that employees are expected to embrace a legal document. The handbook mostly deals with specific policies and procedures that appear to cover legal aspects designed to protect the company. It is important to outline such doctrines as "employment-at-will," and handbooks should include important issues as equal opportunity and harassment in the workplace. However, any legalistic tone to your employee handbook also clearly sends signals about the culture of your company.

Marketing driven handbook is broad in its coverage, and contains positive and motivating terminology. The handbook contains generalities designed to make the employees "feel good." A positive marketing message can excite existing and prospective employees alike. It gives them an idea of your company's culture and values. However, a "feel good" handbook alone may not serve you well in the long run. And if it is overly filled with superficial marketing messages, employees and prospects will see right through it. Besides, it may fall short of providing clear guidelines and establishing clear decision-making parameters.

Business decision handbook assists in providing guidelines to make solid business decisions that impact your employees. In other words, it is your "business HR guide" that doesn't constrain employees. On the contrary, it liberates and allows for faster and easier business decisions. It is a reference manual that gives leaders, managers and employees the information they need to make informed decisions, without being rules driven.

You may wish to create your own handbook; or use legal experts; or use employee handbook software program, or engage an outside consultant to assist you draft one. Whichever method you choose, the final content must meet the criteria that satisfy the purpose and intent of your manual.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Your input and suggestions will be appreciated to improve the contents and value of information in this brief article. If you wish to send your comments please email me at augusthuman@cheeb.com

Human Resources
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Human Resources