The Case For Employee Handbooks

When confronted with a question such as "Can my employee take medical leave to have surgery?," managers often find they have either too little or too much information. This can make people management decisions challenging and can impact productivity as well. Even a fairly routine employee question can lead a manager or human resource professional to spend considerable time searching through policies, reviewing regulations, and making phone calls before being able to give the employee a definitive answer.

But there's a bigger risk. For example, a manager who is unsure whether an employee is eligible for medical leave might err on the side of generosity, which can lead to increased labor costs, or might deny a request in error, which can have legal consequences.

The goal is for policies and related information to be easily accessible, current, and organized in a format that guides decision-making.

A Better Way

In addition to minimizing risks and costs, the reorganization of policy-related information can reduce the amount of time managers spend on administrative matters, meetings, and other things that do not add value, while increasing the amount of time available for "real work." In addition, managers often gain time to be proactive and reflect on issues before acting rather than responding to them on the spur of the moment. Another benefit to making information available in a consolidated, easily accessible format is that it can help managers identify other issues that might impact an employee, such as how one leave policy interacts with another.

But leave issues are just one example of the types of questions managers and human resource professionals wrestle with. Pay classifications, termination pay, benefits eligibility and other issues often arise, though the answers vary depending on the laws an organization is subject to as well as its policies and practices.

With a comprehensive, people-friendly arrangement of information, managers can:

Find the processes and documents they need when they need them.
Solve the problem.
Have confidence that what they have is compliant and up-to-date.

The solution is to make sure information is accessible, actionable, and current. A well-crafted employee handbook is just such a tool. An employee handbook that complies with both federal and state employment laws provides an effective resource for employees and managers alike.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with employee handbook development and other employment issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .