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3 Reasons Employee Handbooks Aren’t a
Waste of Time
The Employee handbook, a document required to be given to every employee but rarely read, has seen some new changes over the past few months. With new changes from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and popular HR topics like company culture and civility rules, we’ve provided three reasons employee handbooks aren’t a waste of time and why your company should have one.
Employee handbooks have seen some changes regarding the NLRB strict standards in past years. In December 2017, the NLRB reversed previous standards on employee handbooks and has incorporated two new standards that are more reasonable for enforcing common sense issues like “no camera” and “civility” rules. The standards put into place provide a more objective view on two factors that regulate what employers can put in their employee handbooks:
- The essence of the policy and/or employee “rule” and how it will affect employees’ rights pertaining to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
- The importance of the policy with regard to your business or organization’s operation.
These two new factors will allow employers to more easily draft in policies that will hopefully aid in the business’s success while respecting employees NLRA rights. If the talk of the new sanctions for drafting an employee handbook has you feeling hesitant, here are three reasons why you should reconsider tossing that employee handbook out the door.
When a policy is written in the employee handbook, employees are more likely to commit to following that “rule” rather than the idea being talked about and encouraged. If one of your policies is to respect your coworkers and your employees are following the enforced policy, you may deter civility problems before they start. A more popular civility rule that you may consider incorporating is restricting cell phone and camera use where and when employees are working with private data and information.
Employee handbooks administer certain behavior expectations that are mandatory for all employees, whether supervisors, vice presidents or assistants. Providing a clear-cut guide may help ensure all employees are being treated equal and all employees are being held to the same behavior expectations. Morale in the workplace can quickly diminish when employees are being reprimanded differently for the same action.
The guidelines, rules, and expectations in employee handbooks may seem overwhelming for newly onboarded employees, but in reality, they are the pieces that make up your company’s puzzle that is culture. If your company culture is about open communication at all levels of management, then you should have an expectation of communication in the workplace noted in the employee handbook. If your employees don’t have a guide on how your company operates, how are your employees going to perform the required expectations and create a successful company culture for your business?
With the new NLRB revisions in place, now is a perfect time to review your employee handbook and the policies and rules it contains. Workplace culture and expectations are constantly changing and it may be beneficial to have an employee handbook that includes the “rules of the road” for your business.
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