Job Interview Tools: Employee Handbook
One of the best ways to win a job interview is by showing your skills, not just telling what you can do. It also leaves something tangible other than your resume.
The first rule of thumb is offer, but do not force. This is not the time to be pushy. Have both a hard copy and a thumb drive version. The employee handbook can give answers to more questions than you have time to address in a job interview.
- Are policies and materials clear and easy to understand.
- How to report sexual harassment.
- How to report racist or discrimination claims.
- How will complaints made on social media be addressed?
- Will complaints that cause tension be addressed if the incident happened outside of work hours?
- What is toxic communication and how will those complaints be addressed.
- Does the handbook comply with recent changes or legislation? Does it address future legislation.
- How will investigations be addressed?
- Use the Employee Handbook to outline training for management and staff.
- How will ‘termination with cause’ be handled?
- How do you want employees to request leave, what are appropriate reasons for leave, and how to voluntarily terminate employment.
- How will disabilities be addressed, including addictions, and pregnancies.
- Include fact sheets.
- If there is sensitive information offer links to online expanded outlines that employees can visit in privacy. (for example: sexual harassment or explaining what ‘work at will’ means and how it effects terminations)
- Immigration Compliance Threats
Empower individuals to be truthful and come forward.
Take a pro active approach to solutions.
Prevention is the best solution in every situation.
Mistakes in Employee Handbooks
If you supply an employee handbook and are looking for a high 5 figure, or 6 figure salary then you want to hire a company to help you write your book. There are small problems that can cause serious legal issues for your company.
Working at Will vs Implied Contracts: The language of an employee handbook can create implied contract situations. Some states allow these. Others do not.
Termination: Does your policy outline that employees will be fired for only specific misconduct, or after receiving the benefit of each step in the company’s disciplinary system? You can be forced to live up to that even if it means paying for rehab, allowing people with addictions extra (paid?) days off, etc. If the policy isn’t followed ‘verbatim’ to the handbook then the employee can sue the company for breach of contract.
Employee vs Probationary employees: If your handbook uses terms like ‘permanent employee’ then your employee now has job security and termination may become very difficult, and expensive.
Another problem can be caused if you list bonuses or advancement for employees who do good work. This may make it incredibly difficult to fire an employee. You may also be forced to pay that employee more. Some wording may also imply that the employee will never be fired.
Disclaimers: Are your disclaimers legal? Avoid language that could be interpreted to promise job security in the handbook’s disciplinary policy, performance and raise policies, layoff policy, probationary policies, etc. You should also explicitly reserve the right to fire employees at will.
Illegal Claims: Kentucky Supreme Court just rejected conditioning employment on agreement to arbitrate. Just because you add something to the handbook doesn’t make it legal. Always consult a lawyer before trying to infringe on an employee’s rights, or impose restrictions on their freedoms.