Essentials of
Small Business Management

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How to Write a Policies & Procedures Manual

The company employee handbook is one of the most important communication tools between your company and your employees. Not only does it set forth your expectations for your employees, but it also describes what they can expect from the company. It is essential that your company has one and that it be clear and as unambiguous as possible. Make certain that it is written in an understandable language which makes the company's policies accessible - otherwise it is a useless document.

The company employee handbook and related personnel policies are usually the first formal communication that you will have with an employee after they join your team. Make sure the first impression is a good one. Similarly, in the event of a dispute or poor performance review, this will be the first place that the employee turns.

The handbook should contain enough detail to avoid confusion; but not so much as to overwhelm. For instance, if there are other documents (i.e. group insurance handbook, retirement plan documents, etc.) which more appropriately provide details, don't try to recreate the information in the handbook. Instead, offer a brief summary and refer to the other document in the employee handbook.

In this section, we will discuss various human resource policies and guide you through the elements of an employee handbook. We'll provide examples and things for you to consider as you prepare your own policies and manuals. Make sure that you are familiar with the myriad of laws and regulations for employment. It is always wise to consult with your legal counsel on any topics that you don't understand. And remember, that a poorly written policy manual or policies that are written, but not followed, can be more harmful than not having written policies at all.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015