Is there a dinosaur on your bookshelf? Maybe it’s stuck way in the back of an old file cabinet. Maybe it’s buried under a mountain of papers on your desk. You surely don’t want to hear it roaring into view when you run into an unexpected employment issue!
When was the last time you took a look at your employee handbook? With recent changes to federal, state and local employment regulations, now is a good time for a review. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all handbook. When we go into a client’s office to perform our free audit, we often find handbooks that have been pieced together with information from other dental offices, which include generic documents found online placed alongside old discolored documents written long ago when the handbook was first drafted. There are some real dinosaurs out there! Unfortunately, these dinosaurs—dusty, outdated and left on the shelf—are doing you and your employees a disservice. I know you are thinking about this big reptile-like creature and when you’ll find the time to tackle it. Maybe you even have it noted on your to do list for January 2016. But there’s no time like the present to begin the process.
Let me help you get started with a brief list of employee handbook areas to reevaluate:
- Problem resolution procedure: Fair and equal treatment for all employees.
- Conduct: Types of conduct that won’t be tolerated.
- Paid leave policy: Clearly defined PTO or traditional vacation, personal, sick leave.
- Fair Labor Standards Act: Define “workweek” and employee report payroll errors immediately.
- Screening for substances: With use of marijuana in some states, revisit your drug policies.
- Social Media use: Make sure your policy is not overly broad.
- Cell phone usage: Usage and texting during work hours should be spelled out, most important if the employee is driving while working.
- Privacy matters: Business devices issued to employees, employers reserve the right to inspect.
There are many more areas to address in your employee handbook. Take small steps so it won’t feel so overwhelming. If you begin and complete these areas, you’ll be off to a good start! Once your handbook has been revised, give each employee a copy, and conduct a staff meeting to inform them of the update and answer any questions they may have. After all, there’s nothing better than showing your staff you care about them while giving yourself the peace of mind and saving money at the same time.