The Empowering Employee Handbook


Employers should consider the attitude their handbooks present and what their handbook says about their company culture. This is particularly true for start-ups and those who hire professional employees. Handbooks are a pivotal piece of success and risk management but many employers avoid using them because of bad connotations from their personal past. While I wholly empathize with that position, I also know poor or missing employee handbooks lead to companies paying unnecessary legal fees. It is paramount that employers have a handbook for their employees but those policy books do not need to be oppressive documents.

Employers with professional employees find it very valuable to educate employees regarding the reason a company has a certain policy. This is true because, while your employees may be professionals, chances are they do not understand every angle of every lawsuit from every workplace. If employees understand the motivation behind certain rules it also helps them apply the rule to their actions rather than feel irritation about a rule.

The explanations do not need to be elaborate, just enabling. For example, if you have a rule about wearing safety shoes, you may have a line in the relevant portion of your rulebook that says, “OSHA is a government agency that has regulatory authority over this workplace and their studies have lead to a rule that employees in workplaces such as ours must wear safety shoes at all times.” Many professional caliber employees will understand that a company like yours is subject to OSHA’s mite but probably not going to be able to change the rule to accommodate flip-flops in their employer’s warehouse.

The great Michael Maslanka has a few other good examples in this video:

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