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April 18, 2012

More Mistakes That Can Lead to "Employee Handbook Betrayal"

Filed under: General HR Buzz7:00 am

Below are the next few tips to remember when writing and reviewing your employee handbook and policy manual.  These tips are continuing on our theme of “employee handbook betrayal”.  Some of the recent legal landscape has supported these tips, specifically in the area of “not providing enough wiggle room”.  Flexibility is important when writing policies as lack of flexibility can unintentionally morph into employment contracts or indicate inability to work effectively with federal and state regulations.

  •  Over Promising and Under Delivering. Don’t make statements and promises you don’t intend to keep or include policies you don’t follow. If managers don’t enforce it, don’t include it.
  • Being Too Microscopic. Providing too many specifics in corrective action, termination and other policies may then require you to closely follow all outlined action steps in every instance. Allow deviation from suggested steps as circumstances require. Make clear that you can act as is necessary.
  • Not Providing Enough Wiggle Room. Use words like “suggested steps,” “includes but is not limited to,” “steps may not be followed in every instance,” “should” vs. “must” to provide the flexibility you need to respond to different situations. Poorly drafted policies can morph into employment contracts (not a good thing).
  • Don’t Forget To Tell ‘Em About Your Employment At-Will Status. Providing very visible at-will statements throughout your handbook and within the employee acknowledgement (which should be signed) are critical for you to be able to rely on your at-will status and terminate as necessary.  You’ll also want to make sure that you include a conspicuous disclaimer stating that the handbook isn’t a contract, there are no employment guarantees, and that any policy (except employment at-will) can be changed or eliminated.

Did you know that HRN Performance Solutions offers a product to assist you in staying up-to-date and ensuring your policies are current?  We do – as part of our HR Suite product.  In today”s fast paced world, human resource management is one of the most rapidly changing and expanding fields.  Click to learn more…and stay tuned for future blogs with some important tips for employee handbooks!

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