When you’re busy taking care of your business’s most immediate needs, like bill paying and customer service, it’s easy to forget about other important priorities. However, even if your self-employed status means you don’t need to worry about documents designed to assist employees, it can be worth considering them for the future. If you plan to hire workers once your business takes off, you may not want them to miss out on the following things.
Every small business employee handbook outlines the business’s culture, values, and missions, so employees know how they will fit into your corporate culture. Typically, this opening information sets the scene for all other business-related information and the expectations of employees to follow it. Without such information, your workers can find it challenging to understand what your business is about and their place within it.
If your workplace doesn’t have guidelines for how to act and manage specific tasks, you can’t expect any new employees to know what you expect of them. You may have a clear idea in your head for how specific scenarios play out, but unless it’s on paper, it’s unlikely to be followed to the letter.
Your guide can include a wide variety of processes and expectations, such as what your employees can wear and what they should do if they require time off. You may not need this information right now, but it may be helpful in the future.
As your business grows, you’ll likely start thinking about things you can do to retain a quality workforce. These can be things like a work-from-home policy, health insurance, company discounts, and maternity leave. Rather than have future employees questioning what you can offer, it’s laid out clearly in an employee handbook.
Whether you hire one employee or several later on, it’s essential to understand what employment laws surround your business operations. If you can outline these clearly in a handbook, there does not have to be any gray areas regarding what you should do if you need to enact one of those laws. Some vital information in this regard can include laws surrounding federal FMLA leave, military leave, disability leave, and other government mandates.
Every workplace has different policies. You may not have needed to concern yourself with them as a sole trader, but they become important as soon as you hire staff. Your employee handbook can include policies on confidentiality, diversity, harassment, violence, health and safety, and even data protection. Whenever you or an employee has an issue that fits into one of these categories or another, they can refer to your manual to determine the most appropriate next step.
Out of all tasks you need to achieve in a single day, an employee handbook may not appear as one of the most important. However, as your business grows, you may soon learn just how valuable it is. Plan for the future by considering what important information should feature in yours.
Written by Laura Brown.