The employee handbook is often the first contact of an employee with the culture of a company. But if your handbook isn’t carefully written, not only certain federal or local laws might conflict with it but will also leave a bad impression on the employees and create more confusion.
The internet is full of ideas on how to create your own employee handbook, what to include in a handbook but what not to say/include is equally important when dealing with employees as this is your first impression. And let me tell you, people talk.
To avoid the legal pitfalls or fear of information overload, we have listed the policies that do not need to be in your employee handbook:
1. Social Media Discussions
Social media policies on posting, brand books and other such things do not need to be a part of your employee handbook. This policy is only needed for your marketing and communications team.
Also, some companies restrict their employees from speaking anything about them on social media. This is treading in dangerous waters on the social sphere. Strictly prohibiting employees from doing so can negatively impact the image of the organization. Generally, every individual has the right to discuss their organization, wages, and work problems online without facing any kind of retaliation. But, it should be made sure that the platform underuse is an employee’s personal account and anything posted on it reflects the employee’s personal stance and not that of the company’s.
There should be a welcoming culture to talk about problems which will help the company avoid this problem altogether.
2. Birthdays And Other Celebrations
Celebrations are a time of fun and joy and should not be made into a policy. Every company that treats its employees through a humanistic lens does celebrate birthdays, have dinner and lunches, gaming tournaments and what not. This is a part of giving your employees a positive and comfortable work environment. But including this information under perks and benefits is just taking up space in your handbook and nothing more. It might give the new employee a “we a pretentious and obnoxious company” impression too.
3. Don’t Write Checks You Can’t Cash
As the saying goes “Dont write a check with your mouth that you can’t cash”. The only thing that needs to be communicated directly is the company’s culture, its processes, and how it operates. The handbook should clearly reflect “can and cannot do” for the employee. Clearly stating policies and being careful in the use of “should” and “may” will cause you lawsuits even if you include a disclaimer about the handbook.e.g the dream machine policy “one employee’s dream will come true every year”. You can’t leave this open ended and your handbook will work fine without it.
4. Dress Code
Everyone who ever applies for a job is well aware of the fact they can’t just show up to work looking like a sloth who haven’t bathed for 2 weeks. The dress code policy takes up space and pages in your employee handbook and nothing else unless you are hiring children. If your employee handbook includes a painfully detailed description of what can you wear and how you should smell like, boy oh boy we have a problem. Trust based cultures do not treat their employees as inmates or children. Leave the dress code out.
5. Attendance Saga
The best workplaces give their employees the flexibility to come and go as long as they complete their work with all responsibility. Having a strict attendance system which restricts the employees to sit in the office without anything to do just kills productivity.
Employees should be informed during orientation that they are required to complete their work and just completing 8 hours at office is not a requirement. But again, this policy can be taken negatively by a lot of employees so your safest option is to create a flexible workplace but not include this policy in the employee handbook.
More and more people are demanding to see the employee handbook before they sign a contract with any company. This trend is not only safeguarding employees from being in the wrong companies but also helping employers have better policies and paint a better first impression picture. Let us know which handbook policies you think shouldn’t be a part of the handbook below.
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