The Importance of Having an Employee Handbook

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The Importance of Having an Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is essential to your portable sanitation operations. It’s a key source of information about your company, policies, and expectations. Moreover, it helps portable restroom operators apply policies consistently across the workforce.

As work starts picking up, now is a great time to review or create your employee handbook. Doing so helps you set the right tone during your employee onboarding process while giving your current team access to important details.

The Purpose of an Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is a guide for your staff. It outlines your benefits, policies, and processes, such as payroll and timekeeping. Plus, it explains how team members can report problems and get assistance. The primary purpose is to give your employees a central spot to learn about your company and expectations.

For PROs, a manual is an excellent way to introduce new staff to your company and put policies down on paper. A handbook indicates that you’ve exercised reasonable care towards your employees and may help your company during a legal battle. If you need to discipline an employee or turn down a time-off request, it’s easier to point to your manual as reasoning instead of doing it on an individual basis.

Core Employee Handbook Sections

Your handbook should refer to all workplace policies, including your leave policy for situations involving the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), jury service, COVID-19, military leave, disability, sick days, parental leave, and vacation days.

Plus, don’t forget to add your equipment and materials use policy. For instance, can an employee be fired for taking home expired supplies that were in the trash? Or using your equipment off the clock? The main sections of an employee handbook typically include:

  • Code of conduct: Define your expectations about behavior, ethics, and attendance while noting consequences for failure to abide by your rules.
  • Communications: Talk about the proper use of company-owned computers, cell phones, and other devices and how your policies extend to digital media.
  • Compensation and benefits: Provide basic information about how you pay workers, available benefits, and contact numbers for employees wanting details.
  • New hire and separation: Explain what employees can expect during their tenure and your termination or voluntary separation process.

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Tips for Preparing an Employee Handbook

Don’t use legal jargon, keep it simple, and avoid overly broad statements. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a line like, “Be respectful to others and the company” is too broad. Instead, say, “Being insubordinate, threatening, intimidating, or disrespectful or assaulting a manager, supervisor, co-worker, customer or vendor will result in discipline.”

Your handbook should also give notice for required federal and state guidelines or other legal matters, such as:

  • An equal opportunity statement
  • Sexual harassment and discrimination policies
  • Statement about the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)
  • Drug and alcohol policy
  • An acknowledgment page for an employee signature

Employee Handbooks: Assess Annually and Use Regularly

Your employee handbook isn’t just for staff. Instead, PROs should refer to it when reprimanding employees or noting matters in personnel files. For best results, review your handbook yearly to assure compliance with any new state, federal, or local guidelines and have it checked by a lawyer. An employee handbook doesn’t need to be a hundred pages, but it should cover the basics and include a signed acknowledgment from all staff.

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