What should a business owner include in an employee handbook?

The contents of your employee handbook can be a key component to your start-up business’ success. Strong employee handbooks discuss a company’s policies, benefits, and values and relay the employer’s expectations to their employees. With the recent news coverage, a good place for a business owner to start may be developing the company’s anti-harassment policy that will be included in the handbook.

When creating your handbook, keep in mind that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) plans to update the workplace harassment guidelines for employers later this year. This is one reason why it is a good idea to review the handbook frequently to ensure that it stays up-to-date as your business grows.

Here are some things to consider when incorporating a workplace harassment policy into your employee handbook.

Empower employees by holding training workshops

By holding training sessions on workplace harassment, employees can learn how to recognize harassment and how to report it. Training sessions can help to eliminate the fear of retaliation if an employee reports inappropriate conduct. By discussing the policy with employees, the staff may be more inclined to report incidents of workplace harassment.

Address the various types of workplace harassment

A thorough – and legal -- workplace anti-harassment policy will state that harassment based on protected classes such as race, ethnicity and religion will not be tolerated. The handbook can also cover the types of workplace harassment such as a hostile environment or “quid pro quo” behavior.

Provide employees with examples

Not all employees will enter your business knowing what type of conduct crosses the line. When an employer provides examples of workplace harassment in both training sessions and in a written document, employees will be better able to recognize it when they see or experience it. These examples can describe possible scenarios of unwanted sexual advances, bullying or intimidation.

Employee satisfaction can make or break a business’ success. A thorough employee handbook can help your business succeed and ensure that employees feel safe and valued when they work at your company.

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