A receipt from an employee that proves he was given a copy of an employee handbook is one of the wisest things to require in your personnel files. Employees have a lot to absorb during their orientation on the first day of work. A handbook that outlines company policies reminds employees of the rules and lets them know that the company is doing its part to help them succeed. The book shouldn't be just a posting of rules and regulations. It tells the employee everything they need to know about working for the company.
Prepare a receipt for employees to sign the day they are given the handbook. A sample is included in Appendix A. You may include it as the last page of the booklet, then ask the employee to tear it out after it is signed. Put it in the personnel file as soon as it is signed.
Some managers ask employees to read the handbook from start to finish before they start working. An hour on their first day can be set aside for this. Others send it home with the employee and advise them that they are expected to read it and ask about anything they don't understand. Employees should be told that failure to comply with one of the policies or procedures because they didn't read the handbook is unacceptable.
How to Write a Handbook
You can prepare a handbook yourself by using a word processor or custom publishing program or you may hire a professional writer or human resources consultant to do it for you. The booklet will be a lot of work, but worth the effort. Be sure to save the document in two places. You'll want to have a backup if one file is destroyed.
Number the pages like this: 1 of 35, 2 of 35, etc. so that you and employees will both know that the booklets are complete when distributed. This will make it easy to identify a missing page.
What to Include
Start out with a welcome message. Let the employees know that you're happy to have them on board and give the history of the company. If there is a mission statement, include it toward the front of the booklet. A mission statement spells out a company's purpose and future goals.
Here are some of the policies to include in the handbook. Once in the handbook, they are considered the company's written policies.
Attendance and tardiness
Personal relationships with customers
E-mail and Internet
Being on property during nonwork hours
Chapter 17 explains how to develop company policies. You may have ideas for policies not mentioned above. Talk with other business owners or HR professionals for ideas. There may be rules to set that are specific to your line of business.
Keep It Updated
The employee handbook should be reviewed twice a year to make sure there have not been any changes or additions that didn't make it into the book. When there is a change, update the original document on the computer and reprint the respective page for any handbooks that are yet to be distributed to employees. Toss the page with the old information and add the updated one. Send an amendment to the handbook to everyone on staff.
When there is a change to the employee handbook, ask each employee to sign a receipt acknowledging the change. This is for the employee's benefit as well as the company's. If an employee is not aware of a policy change, he could break one of the rules as a result of the lack of communication or understanding.
An annual handbook review during an all-staff meeting will help keep everyone in compliance and the lines of communication open. For fun, have a quiz with prizes for the people with the most correct answers.