An employee handbook is perhaps the single most important document in any company. In addition to communicating your company’s policies, it’s an essential part of onboarding new employees and conveying the core values of your business. But in spite of its importance, many small business owners don’t actually have a company handbook. Others don’t recognize its value until something goes wrong. That’s why it’s always better to have one as soon as you start your business. This is the best way to set clear expectations for your employees and outline your legal obligations and their rights. Our guide will tell you what should be included in an employee handbook and how to create one. What Is an Employee Handbook?An employee handbook is also referred to as an employee or company policy manual or a staff handbook. It outlines your company’s mission and culture while informing employees of the legal framework governing their employment. The handbook also includes various other components such as your company’s background information, procedures and policies, working conditions, and employee rights.This document should be made available to each employee as soon as they are hired. The new employees should also be asked to provide a written acknowledgment that they received the handbook. What Topics Should Be Included in an Employee Handbook?As an employer, you aren’t legally required to provide employees with a policy manual or a handbook. However, this is a highly beneficial communication resource between you and your employees, which is why many small business owners choose to create one. While insurance policies for small businesses protect you from professional mistakes, a written format of the company rules and policies can go a long way in shielding you from discrimination and harassment claims. But an employee handbook is not only about the rules and policies. It should also set the tone of the company’s culture and help create a healthy and positive work environment. This is why you should finish writing an employee handbook before you turn to job posting sites and begin the onboarding process. This approach informs employees about everything that’s expected of them before they start working. An employee policy handbook should cover several topics, including information about your company (history, values, mission), in-house rules (mobile phone use, for example), mandatory policies (equal employment opportunity and PTO), and human resources information.The Main Components of an Employee Handbook for Small BusinessThere is no shortage of templates and employee handbook examples online. Most include the aforementioned key components and additional policies for different business organizations. Below is a list of the most common features in every company policy handbook, including some of the most important small business policies and procedures.IntroductionStart by introducing employees to your company history and background information. This section can have a welcome note from the CEO, which introduces the company’s team and explains its mission and core values. This is the most flexible part of a handbook and can include everything from the purpose of the handbook to a contractual disclaimer. A widely accepted employee handbook definition requires the introduction to explain how your business is organized, who are the owners/CEOs, and where the business is incorporated. These sorts of details are useful to have on hand as most companies that provide business incorporation services, like Northwest Registered Agent, require you to provide this information. Onboarding Once you’ve outlined your company’s mission and vision, it’s time to explain how your company works. Start with the hiring and onboarding section, where your employees can get informed about the company’s structure, confidentiality agreement (nondisclosure agreement or NDA), and conflict of interest procedures. The most basic employee handbook information should also assure your staff that the company guarantees equal employment opportunities for all candidates. EEOC protects candidates against age, race, gender, or any other form of discrimination. Code of conductThis section tells employees how the management expects them to behave, as well as the measures taken by the company against those who violate the rules. It’s one of the most important components on the long list of employment policies and procedures that protect both the company and its workers. Even the most flexible companies have boundaries, and it’s important that these are clearly outlined for everyone’s sake. The code of conduct section can include policies regulated by law, like the anti-harassment policy, but it can also outline other small business rules and regulations for employees, like the dress code. Payment and compensation For employees, this section will probably be among the most important ones, so you should make it clear and comprehensive. This part of an employee manual includes information about the payroll schedule, salary, and bonuses. It should also provide a simple explanation regarding taxes and deductions. While you can use software for calculating and filing taxes, the employee handbook should explain the main payroll deductions (federal, state, and local taxes, for example). Benefits When creating an employee manual, make sure you include all the perks. The section consists of the various benefits that the company offers to its employees - from sick leave and vacation time to health insurance, retirement plans, and career development. It goes without saying that this is a crucial section of your company’s employee handbook for every member of your team. In addition to the most common benefits such as paid time off and health care plans, some businesses include free courses, team-building exercises, office meals, and even unemployment insurance. Your workers will want to see their list of benefits spelled out, and they’ll carefully review these employee handbook contents. Employee termination procedure If your employee finds a new job or you need to lay someone off, there are procedures the company needs to follow. You should also inform your employees what happens when someone has to leave the team. The standard offboarding procedures include information about the last paycheck delivery and unemployment insurance. The policy can also explain how the last conversation with the company’s HR looks like. Employee acknowledgment This page should be signed by your employee after reading the handbook. It confirms that the employee understands your company’s rules and policies. How to make an employee handbook?By now, we’ve established that an employee handbook is an important ingredient in any business organization. Yet many businesses decide to bypass this step when setting up their operation. Some business owners find it too difficult and time-consuming.Here’s the good news. If creating a handbook for your small business is not your cup of tea, you can always outsource this task. Just like there are companies that provide bookkeeping services, there are those that can help you create your handbook from scratch.Both professional HR consulting companies and law firms offer this type of service. With professional services, you’ll get something that’s customized to fit your business needs, but you don’t need to know how to write an employee handbook. These professionals will take care of everything, from incorporating the federal, state, and local policies into the handbook to writing sections that reflect your company’s culture in the best way possible. If you decide to go at it alone, you’ll need to conduct thorough research to identify the policies that need to be included. But this option gives you a chance to be creative. No one knows what kind of atmosphere you want to create in your company better than you. Think about the values you wish to promote and write them down. Alternatively, you can use online templates and forms for free to create a small business handbook. Adjust them to fit your needs, check if all mandatory policies are included, and write your expectations and rules. When you’re done, make sure the document is reviewed by legal counsel. Tips and tricks for writing an employee handbook:If you decide to author a handbook on your own, here are some useful tricks that will help you along the way. Set the tone Make sure that you use a friendly voice when writing a handbook. Of course, you want to be sure that your employees will take it seriously, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to come off as authoritative. You can make an employee handbook by using encouraging and affirmative tones that are as effective as those written from the “don’t perspective.”Design your handbookThe way you present your handbook is also important. Whether you create an online handbook or a paper copy, make sure it introduces new employees to your company’s colors and logo.Include imagesYou can take things a step further when personalizing your handbook. Include photos of your office and team members to give off a more positive and friendly vibe.What not to include in an employee handbook?An employee handbook should have all “boring” mandatory policies, but you shouldn’t go into too much detail. A handbook should offer explanations that your employees can understand. This is especially important when it comes to things like health insurance and other benefits. However, for detailed information, there should be links to government websites where your staff can find additional information. It’s also important not to confuse an employee handbook with other manuals. While trying to figure out what to include in an employee handbook, some company owners arrive at the conclusion that it’s the same thing as an HR manual. This is incorrect. These are two completely separate documents. A handbook is a document for your employees that should be given to them when they start working for your company. Its purpose is to set expectations and communicate policies. An HR manual is for you and your human resources team. Its purpose is to explain the process behind your company’s policies. If someone violates any of the policies, your HR will know how to deal with it, thanks to the HR manual.
By Danica Jovic ·
What Does HRIS Software Do?So, what is an HRIS, and how can your company benefit from one? The biggest HRIS advantage is storing, processing, and managing employee information such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers or national IDs, visa or work-permit data, and information about dependents. You can also expect these software solutions to provide HR functions that help with recruiting, talent management, applicant tracking, employee training, time management, and performance appraisals. Some options may feature employee self-service functions, along with payroll and accounting software integration.Since it gathers purposeful data in all processes that you want to track and analyze, a human resources information system is considered a smart database of all employee information in a given organization.The Benefits of an HRISHundreds of HR software companies offer some type of HRIS. Given that each product comes with different data entry, tracking, and information features, you should take the time to pick a solution based on your company’s specific needs. This can be a serious undertaking: Organizations of all types and sizes can benefit from such software, thanks to their advanced data interaction features and comprehensive reporting capabilities. Still, this means HRIS systems are becoming more sophisticated by the day, so you need to know what to look for specifically.To help you get a better understanding of HRIS features, we’ve compiled a list of reasons to consider using this type of HR management software: Organization. One of the most apparent benefits of an HRIS is unification - all your employee spreadsheets will come together, with no disparate versions. Thanks to the advanced capabilities of these records-keeping systems, you can add, find, change, and keep track of every bit of employee-related knowledge in less than a minute. Compliance. The best HRIS systems are offered by vendors who make sure that their products align with any regulations affecting human resources. These solutions are equipped to handle any changes required for the company to remain compliant with the relevant laws. Efficiency. Time and labor management are no longer tedious with an HRIS. For example, leave requests and approvals take mere seconds. Vacation time and leave accrual can be tracked automatically, and none of these functions have to be maintained manually, saving HR professionals plenty of time. Human resources strategy. With fewer everyday maintenance issues to resolve, HR managers can focus on advancing human resources and business strategies. A neatly organized human resource database system could prove invaluable for new ideas on improving employee retention and increasing productivity. Employee experience. Most HRIS solutions allow a certain amount of user access to employees. Even a modest level of self-service can help improve how employees feel about their workplaces. Most workers interpret it as an important step toward establishing an atmosphere where they can enjoy a certain level of operational freedom. Whether it’s because of the opportunity to update their personal data, find a colleague’s contact information, change retirement benefit programs, review pay scales, or request leave, employee access to HRIS software ensures a better experience. Payroll functions. It’s safe to say that handling payroll is one of the essential tasks human resource management needs to take care of. A good HRIS should allow quick and easy download and upload of employee attendance data, making the process of wage distribution more seamless. Reducing the need for human intervention also means fewer errors, especially when calculating benefits and taxes. For companies dealing with multiple tax levels, HRIS payroll system solutions play an important role in improving tax compliance. Benefits management. Every employee is affected by the company’s benefits strategy and the regulations the employee has to comply with. The way these perks are managed has a significant impact on the overall experience an employee has at work. Benefits management does not pertain only to retirement investments and medical benefits, but also to all benefits-related communication. This is where HR applications come in handy, as employers and employees alike can use HRIS platforms to enable smoother operations and complete transparency. Talent acquisition and retention. An organization simply cannot grow without acquiring and retaining the right talent. Keeping this in mind, recruitment and retention are not only the most important aspects of HR management but also crucial components of an HRIS. Getting the right candidates on board is just the beginning of the process. All employees should also be offered adequate training, career path counseling, and rewards plans. Human resource information systems can improve the employee experience by fostering growth, job happiness, and company morale, while also making it easier for recruiters to find, track, and engage with suitable candidates.HRIS FeaturesWhen exploring HRIS solutions, try not to think of the features these programs provide as a shopping list of items you’re hoping to tick. Just because one solution claims to do it all doesn’t automatically mean that it can complete the tasks well enough for you. Instead, focus on figuring out your company’s biggest challenges and compare different types of HRIS systems based on how efficiently they can solve these problems. Don’t forget about usability, either: If the solution you’ve decided on has an overly complicated interface, no one will use it, and you’ll just end up wasting your time and money.Before you start shopping around, take a look at this list of the features these HR information systems typically offer: Employee database and directory Payroll management features 401k management Accounting Scheduling software Applicant tracking Time-tracking and attendance Leave management Benefits administration Training Succession planning Report templates and customization Employee access Electronic signaturesMore advanced uses of HRIS enable much more than just time tracking and other basic capabilities. These software solutions can also contribute to company culture and help guide the employee experience. Good HRIS software does that by allowing employees to be in charge of their own onboarding; other than that, these products help with performance management and offer integration options with additional HR solutions, often with extensive mobile accessibility.
By Milica Milenkovic ·
Finding new employees to join your business is a process that takes a lot of preparation. You need to search for the right candidate who will easily adapt to the company’s culture and work ethics.
Nobody knows this better than people from the HR sector. It takes months of thorough searching and setting up the ground to create a mutually productive and relaxed interview environment. This is all part of the process of onboarding new employees, which aligns new hires’ skills to your company’s needs.
According to research by Gallup, 21% of millennials changed jobs in 2020, while more than half expressed their desire to find a new job. That’s why millennials are often labeled as the job-hopping generation. But attaching that kind of label is an oversimplification, no matter what the stats say.
One of the reasons for this is that many job hunters are naturally nervous during job interviews, so it’s the HR manager’s responsibility to create a stress-free environment that brings out the best in them. A well-prepared onboarding process for new employees can help new hires achieve positive job satisfaction and encourage them to remain loyal to your company.
Why Onboarding Is Crucial
Besides finding the best person for the job, onboarding, as its definition implies, is essential for leaving a good, lasting impression on new employees. It’s the first contact a new candidate will have with your company before the formal interview and evaluation process starts. A positive image will help with the interview’s tone and will establish what’s expected from them in their new job. It will introduce them to how your company operates and build a forward-looking relationship with your employees from the get-go.
An onboarding plan for new employees that leaves a negative first impression will generate animosity toward your company. Even when they start working, they’ll already be looking for new job opportunities.
Proper onboarding efforts create long-lasting and satisfying working relationships with your company and can turn a promising candidate into the company’s most valuable asset. In contrast, poor onboarding leads to higher employee turnover. When focused onboarding is done right - which can take up to 12 months of preparation - it will reduce the work your HR team needs to do in the future.
But this is easier said than done. To establish a satisfactory new hires onboarding process, you’ll need to ask yourself some crucial questions: how will you begin the onboarding process, and how long will it last? What kind of first impression do you want to leave on new candidates, and how will you explain your company’s goals and ethics? What goals should new candidates have, and how can they improve their performance and grow within your company?
Steps in the Onboarding Process
As you prepare to onboard a new employee, make sure everything is ready from your side. Having a well-designed and straightforward onboarding process will significantly reduce the paperwork your HR team will have to go through.
The next step is to select what type of onboarding process for new hires you’ll conduct: formal or informal. Most companies opt for formal onboarding. This means implementing an unambiguous and straightforward onboarding program that will get the new employee up to speed with their role. This program includes their job assignments, the company’s expectations, on whom they can rely, and the proper channels of communication.
Informal onboarding leaves new employees to familiarize themselves with the business without anyone’s assistance, thus potentially creating confusion and disorder. In general, formal onboarding is widely used since it’s simple to follow and leaves new hires more satisfied about their position in the company.
The Recruitment Stage
Before you start with your onboarding new employees checklist, you should first set up the recruitment flow and adequately convey your company’s goals, ethics, principles, and the importance of your employees. Keeping your message clear and succinct should be your primary concern.
Go through your company’s website design, job offer description, and all the interview questions in a way that represents the company’s core values. Try advertising on the best job posting sites to speed up this process. Present new employees with an assignment that will let them know what to expect on the job and give you a sense of what to expect from your new hires.
One of the best practices for onboarding questions for new employees is to let them know how their day at work will look, which will set up positive and clear expectations. Notify them of any policies that concern them, including dress code, remote work, vacations, working hours, and any legal issues.
New employees should be aware of who they report to and which person is in charge of what. Make sure you give them a basic overview of the company’s culture, such as work ethics and social etiquette for employees. And, of course, let them know that they’re not alone; they’re part of the company’s network.
If everything goes well and you’ve successfully prepared your onboarding activities for new employees, let the candidates know that you appreciate the time and effort they’ve invested in this job application. This is also your last chance to remind them or clarify what the job will entail to avoid any confusion down the line. Consider using the best background check sites to confirm that the person you want to hire is who they say they are.
Now it’s time to extend a job offer to your preferred candidate. If they accept, let them know how delighted you are that they’ve decided to work with you and your company. This is the moment when the onboarding truly begins.
As soon as the candidate accepts your job offer, give them access to your company’s onboarding systems for new employees. Forward them job-related documents and the plan for their first week at work. Let them know it’s not expected that they study everything; you’re just giving them the info for clarity’s sake.
Provide your new employee with access to email, phone, and other communication tools. Simultaneously, inform your team about the new addition and send welcome emails to the new employee. These onboarding documents are meant to engage new employees with the company and the team they’ll work with.
Eventually, you’ll introduce your new hires to the office space during the onboarding of new employees, which will show them what an average day at work looks like. You can do this before giving new hires their job offer, or when they start working.
It’s important for new employees to have a sense of belonging in the workspace and among colleagues, as it will ultimately affect their performance. It will also give them some first-hand experience of the company’s work ethics and culture.
Show new hires where they’ll work and what they’ll use. Go through other offices and introduce them to other colleagues. If new employees have any questions, be there to answer them. Show them the kitchen and other non-working spaces that they’ll use daily.
First Day at Work
New employees will likely be ecstatic and confused, terrified and hopeful on their first day, so make them feel like they’re accepted by their peers. One of the best practices for onboarding new employees is scheduling their first day with colleagues. Schedule short meetings at the start and the end of the working day, especially if the team works remotely.
You should also give them some breaks during their first day. Set up a team lunch and talk about topics that aren’t related to work. Prepare a swag bag with company gifts and supplies as a welcome gesture.
Use the first day to let new employees know what they’ll work on and what they’ll need to focus on in the next one to three months. Make sure they get all the equipment they need for work and focus on familiarizing them with their new colleagues.
The First Few Weeks
Our successful tips for onboarding new employees don’t just cover the first day; you need to think several weeks in advance to help them truly fit in. Set up meetings with other teams and team leaders, your best employees, and senior people within the company. That way, they’ll get an idea of what they have to do to earn a promotion in the future. If the team is working from home, using the best conference call services might greatly enhance this process.
Use this time to organize weekly and annual goals and define key performance indicators. Provide feedback on new employees’ input, as this part of the ongoing onboarding process might be the most important. To continue successfully onboarding new employees, ask for their input and any problems they’re experiencing. During the first few weeks, they should have a mentor who will be of great assistance in introducing them to all the intricacies of the workplace.
To strengthen team connections, set up fun team-building events. And, of course, give new hires recognition when you feel they’ve earned it.
Your onboarding efforts as an HR Manager may indeed last a whole year as you assist your new employees and follow their progress. HR teams may use the best tenant screening services to seek help, but no matter how you choose to proceed, the cost of onboarding new employees will be well worth it. Be assured that these efforts will help you find top-performing employees who will become long-term members of your team.
By Nemanja Vasiljevic ·