An employee handbook is a great way to communicate a variety of information about your company to employees. Most employee handbooks contain nondiscrimination policies, terms of employment, alcohol and drug policies, and rules about using technology and social media.
There are other topics your employee handbook should include, however. Here are 4 types of information your employee handbook should cover, but might not.
1. Media Relations
Chances are that your company will draw media attention at some point. Whether it’s for a snazzy new product or a serious scandal, you need to have the right people lined up to do the talking to reporters and bloggers. Include information in your employee handbook about whom the company has designated to speak to the media on its behalf – and make sure every employee knows to transfer calls from the media to the appropriate contacts.
Avoid blanket prohibitions about speaking to the media because these aren’t legal. Designating one person or a small team of people to talk to the media will help establish who you want speaking for your organization.
2. Nondisclosure Statement
Include information about nondisclosure agreements, but not the agreements themselves. A nondisclosure agreement in an employee handbook can be nullified by the courts if your handbook has the common legal disclaimer that the handbook cannot be considered a contract. Instead, outline your nondisclosure policy in the handbook, but write the agreement itself on a separate sheet of paper for employees to sign and the company to keep on file.
3. Performance Review Process
Performance reviews sometimes fall by the wayside at companies even though they’re one of the most useful tools to track, develop and manage employees when done properly. Don’t let your performance reviews become a sporadic occurrence – or, worse, one that never happens at all. Include information on performance reviews – especially timing and who performs them – so your employees are well-informed about the process, and your managers know what’s expected of them.
4. Day-to-Day Office and Emergency Procedures
There’s a lot for new employees to learn during their first weeks of employment, so why not make it easier on them and give them a reference? Include details such as what a typical workday looks like, dates and times of regular meetings, where supplies are stored, and so on. This kind of information can reduce new employees’ confusion as they get settled in their positions.
Also, include information on what to do in an emergency. Where should people go in case of severe weather? Is there a notification system in case an intruder enters the building? If you have an emergency plan or hold regular drills in case of emergency, include that information in your handbook as well.
No matter what you decide to include in your employee handbook, make sure your lawyers look it over so you aren’t inadvertently creating a liability for your company or implying coverage or a contract where there shouldn’t be one. By including as much useful information as you can in your employee handbook, you’ll make it an excellent tool for employees, managers and company officers.