5 Reasons Business Owners Should Update Their Employee Handbooks

Reviewing and updating your employee handbook may seem unimportant to some. However, for many employers, an updated handbook is an indispensable tool that protects them from unwanted litigation, employee distrust, and inconsistent implementation of corporate policies. It is important business owners update their handbooks every year.

An employee handbook that works in conjunction with separate company policies provides employees with a clear understanding of the procedures, rules, and expectations of your business. Topics include standards of conduct, overtime, payroll, employee classifications, security and safety, appearance, disciplinary action, industry regulations, harassment and bullying, drug and alcohol policies, and much more.

Below are the top 5 reasons business owners should update their employee handbook every year:

  1. Changes in the law - Local, state, and federal regulations and laws often change. It is your responsibility to make sure your employee handbook reflects those changes.

  2. Changes within your organization – Have you restructured or merged your business operations? Have you taken on a new line of business or expanded operations? If so, make sure those changes are reflected in your employee handbook. Changes in your business model, structure, or staffing, should be reflected in your employee handbook.

  3. Changes in technology – Your employee handbook should keep up with the changes in technology and address topics such as social media and smartphone usage in the workplace. Data privacy and other relevant issues to your business should also be included. What can employers do to protect themselves from social media attacks, criticism, and/or cyber bullying? Your employee handbook should be updated to address these issues.

  4. Missing information – Read your employee handbook regularly and have your attorney look it over for missing data. If there’s something you’ve forgotten to include, make sure you add it immediately.

  5. You haven’t looked at your handbook in a long time. If you have an old handbook that you haven’t updated in years, it’s probably best to scrap that old document and start new. If your business doesn’t have a handbook, create one immediately. All companies, regardless of size, should have an employee handbook that is reviewed annually for compliance with local, state, and federal law.

Tip: Provide an updated employee handbook to each new hire.

When you update your handbook, make sure every employee receives a copy and signs a receipt acknowledging that they have received the handbook, had the opportunity to review it, and have had ample opportunity to ask questions about it. Always make sure your handbook is readily available for employees.

The business attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to help with your employee handbooks and many other organizational needs at affordable prices. For more information, visit our website.