An employee handbook is a powerful tool for employers: it promotes safety, helps ensure HR compliance, reduces the company’s risk and exposure, and nurtures corporate culture. A staff handbook can’t offer any of these benefits if employers make this significant mistake, though: borrowing an unedited employee manual from another organization. MP’s HR services experts share four reasons why this is a critical mistake.
4 Reasons Why Borrowing an Employee Handbook is a Mistake
1. A borrowed employee handbook may not be optimized for serving an organization’s size.
Employers are subject to varying regulations depending on their size. If an organization uses a borrowed employee handbook, their employee policies may not be in compliance with regulations related to their size. For example, an employer with less than 50 employees may not need to comply with Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employers with more than 50 employees will need to comply with FMLA, and their handbook should include employee policies for it. It’s also imperative for employers to update their handbook, since their sizes may change from year to year.
2. A borrowed employee handbook may not be in compliance with the employer or employees’ locations.
Employers are subject to the laws and regulations of the cities and states in which their offices are located. If employees are remote and live (and work) in different cities or states, their employers are also subject to the laws and regulations of those locations. Employers should work with HR and compliance experts like MP to ensure their employee handbooks reach compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. A borrowed handbook is very unlikely to meet these needs.
3. A borrowed employee handbook may not be effective for the industry of the organization.
Industries require employers to meet specific standards for workplace safety, employee rights, etc. Employers may need to include employee policies to reach compliance for their industry. A borrowed handbook won’t necessarily meet these requirements. Even a handbook borrowed from the same industry may not be in full compliance. If the requirements change from year to year, the borrowed handbook could be outdated and thus out of compliance with current industry standards.
4. A borrowed employee handbook won’t contribute to the company culture.
Every organization uses multiple tactics to build and nurture its unique corporate culture. A borrowed handbook isn’t tailored to support this initiative. A borrowed handbook won’t outline the organization’s values, its origin story, or the kind of events its employees engage in together. In 2021 and 2022, building a solid company culture is more urgent than ever. Employers are competing for top talent in a tight candidates’ market. Employers won’t attract and retain the talent they need if they don’t invest in an excellent work environment.
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