Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Academic Divisions > College of Business and Entrepreneurship > Kansas Small Business Development Center > Handbooks
Managing employees in a small business can be a double-edged sword. As a small company you want to maintain a friendly, casual atmosphere; yet, at the same time, you must set a standard of professionalism. Employee relationships in small companies can often reflect a family-type culture, but what do you do when a member of the family doesn't live up to his/her end of the bargain? It is important to clarify, up-front, the level of professionalism you expect in your company and to set some ground rules about employee performance and unacceptable workplace practices. An employee handbook will help you to communicate and consistently apply those rules and procedures you establish.
An employee handbook can also be used as a retention and employee satisfaction tool. Employees want clear and accessible information about their benefits and rights. They want to know what's expected of them, and they want to feel assured that they will be treated fairly and equally to other employees. A well-written handbook will help employees feel more comfortable with abiding by the rules and can help create a sense of community and mutual understanding.
Consistent. Often, employee handbooks are pieced together from a variety of sources: existing company policies, procedures from outside vendors (benefit administrators, payroll companies), "borrowed" policies from other companies, reference books and software programs, etc. Once the manual is complete, be sure that it is checked for consistency among topics and policies. It is important that the individual policies and procedures do not contradict each other, or cause confusion. For example, your discipline procedure as outlined in your discipline policy should be consistent with the discipline procedure discussed in the sexual harassment section. Also, use consistent terminology, e.g. references to gender, organization, departments, divisions and positions.
Timely. Creating an employee handbook is a continual project. As your company grows and the workforce becomes larger and more diverse, new issues will come up and new policies must be developed to address them. Changes in such areas as employee benefits, work rules and performance evaluation procedures may require updates to the handbook. Additionally, case law, statutes, and regulations continually change and may require revisions as well.
Here is a list of possible topics:-Introduction/Welcome Letter -Statement About Company History-Equal Employment Opportunity-Sexual Harassment-Classifications of Employment-Work Hours & Overtime Pay-Pay Procedures-Performance Reviews-Vacations & Holidays-Paid & Unpaid Leave (Bereavement, -Jury Duty, Medical, Personal, Military, FMLA, etc.)-Summary of Benefits (Health Insurance, Retirement Plans, etc.)-Grievance Procedure-Dress Code-Code of Conduct-Drug-Free Workplace/Medical Exams-Smoking Policy-Absenteeism and Tardiness-Confidentiality of Information-Discipline and Termination of Employment-Safety and Health-E-mail/Internet Policy