Is an employee handbook a contract
# 256 Ten Tips for Your Employee Handbook
Tips for your staff handbook
+ Create a general template and overview
First of all, you should consider how the manual should be structured. Make a general template so that later all pages look the same and you can also track changes. For example, the heading and the target group should of course be noted at the top (mostly all employees / but there will certainly also be special instructions for special groups such as occupational safety for cooks). For example, in the footer you could add the version and / or the date of publication. It could look like this: Version 1.0 - 08/2018.
Then create a table of contents with all of the topics you want to cover in the book. Take a look at the article -> Employee Handbook here on the website and note the other links at the end of this article.
+ Tell us something about the company
At the beginning you should tell the story of your company. How did it all start? Who are the makers? What is your company philosophy? Who is your target audience? Also tell funny stories from everyday life. This creates a connection and especially new employees get a deep insight.
+ A manual is not a contract
Make it clear that an employee manual is not a contract and that the provisions in it do not replace the provisions of the employment contract. Rather, the manual is a collection of standards, specifications and work instructions.
+ Have the receipt confirmed in writing
Whenever you hand out a manual to a new employee (or an updated version to all colleagues), you should obtain written confirmation of receipt. This gives the manual a greater meaning and nobody can excuse themselves that they "have never heard" one or the other.
+ Stay flexible
When formulating your standards, you should be as clear as possible, but also remain flexible. One cannot always think of everything or consider every special case.
Don't make it look like the law
Make sure you have fun designing the manual. Don't make it a boring piece of paper. Add comics, drawings or vivid photos. Use a clear and legible font. Just ask your employees who would like to contribute their own drawing, if any. Of course, you should approach the subject in a very serious way wherever there is really serious content, such as the section on discrimination. With specifications for the external appearance, however, you could bring in more fun.
+ Take objections and suggestions for improvement seriously
Always be open to objections to one or the other requirement or suggestions for improvement from your employees. If you take care of such things right away, you may not become a real problem later on.
+ Manual printed, online, on the bulletin board ...
As I said, every employee should receive a printed copy against a signature. But that doesn't have to mean that these are the only copies. Make it as easy as possible for all colleagues and place the manual on your employee website, on the intranet, in your internal app, in your employee Whatsapp group, etc.
+ A lawyer should look at the manual
In particular, if this is the first time you are creating the manual, you should consult a lawyer before giving it to employees. A specialist lawyer specializing in labor law is best. He's just supposed to make sure that you don't create any problems here and that the manual becomes your undoing in the end. For later revisions, you don't necessarily have to involve the lawyer every time - except for sensitive topics.
+ Update and revise
Such a manual is not a law set in stone. It should "live" and be constantly adjusted. In order to optimize the administrative effort (print out, distribute), you could think of a 6-month edition. During this period you can add, change or adapt the topics.
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