Written by attorney Beth Lincow Cole

Employee Handbook Best Practices: An Introduction

Employee handbooks or manuals are a critical component of an effective personnel management program.

Therefore, it is important for employers to be familiar with the legal guidelines for drafting, revising, and disseminating employee handbooks.

This post is the first in a series devoted to best practices for drafting an employee handbook (or manual).

First, it is important to point out the numerous advantages of an employee handbook. In particular, a handbook is an effective means to:

  • Establish legal compliance/protections
  • Disseminate operational policies
  • Create a platform for management to “sell" the company
  • Communicate corporate culture
  • Convey corporate expectations
  • Avoid outside interference
  • Provide a reference tool for employees
  • Provide a reference tool for management

Although employee handbooks provide numerous advantages to employers, as with all legal tools, they are not without drawbacks. While professionally written policies can minimize an organization’s liability, poorly crafted materials are a potential source of liability.

While the posts in this series will provide employers with the knowledge and tools to ensure that their handbooks afford the maximum protection, the laws regarding an employer’s duties and responsibilities arising under an employee handbook are complex. Therefore, an experienced attorney should be contacted to review individual circumstances.

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