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Tips for writing employee manuals/handbooks

Perhaps your business has finally grown to the point that you see a need for employee manuals/handbooks to ensure everyone is on the same page. Congratulations on the business growth!

Of course, preparing such a document can seem daunting. Your concerns may be what to include, how to make sure the manual is legally appropriate and how to make it interesting enough that employees will actually read it.

Start small

No doubt there is a huge amount of information that could potentially go in your handbook. That said, there is a lot of merit in starting small. For example, you could, in theory, include sections on workplace visitors and a dress code to start with, but they may not be necessary right away if your business has never had problems in these areas. Focus on the essentials that employees absolutely need to know but often do not. Perhaps your employees tend to ask a lot about health insurance information, how time off works and telecommuting policies.

Involve at least one other person

It is fine to write and prepare the handbook yourself, but involve at least one other person for review purposes. This person could be a human resources specialist or an attorney. One advantage of going with an attorney is that you have the peace of mind that your handbook is legally compliant and does not inadvertently set out discriminatory policies.

Make them accessible

Accessibility goes beyond having online and print versions, although offering many formats is a fantastic idea. Rather, it means using simple, easy-to-understand language rather than a lot of jargon. It also means keeping handbooks up to date and having a table of contents that clearly outlines the sections. Your handbooks should provide invaluable insight into your company culture and what employee expectations are. Consider naming your document something other than "XYZ Employee Handbook," which sounds dry. Something such as, "A Fantastic Guide to Working for XYZ" sounds more appealing. 

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