Are Employee Handbooks Necessary for Small Businesses?

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Small businesses often think that putting together an employee handbook is unnecessary and a waste of precious time that could be otherwise spent on more important matters. Everyone knows the company rules in a small business, so why bother with a whole formal write-up? In a certain sense, small business owners and employees who question the wisdom behind a write up are correct to do so. A write up for a very small company is unnecessary, and can actually become a liability if the information that it contains is misplaced or falls into the hands of a competitor. However, a manual for procedures, whether for individual departments or for the business at large, is important for when a business is ready to be scaled up, as it sets up a framework for growth. Much like a trellis allows a vine to climb steadily upwards, so a manual allows a small business’ s departments to grow steadily with greater ease.  Here are some other reasons that business owners should consider creating a manual for their procedures:

  • New hires have a lot to learn about the company and what is expected of them. A clear and easy way to communicate all the basic policies of your business to new staff is through the employee handbook.
  • Employee handbooks keep employer and employee expectations consistent so that you will end up with little or no misunderstandings between the two regarding company policy.
  • When a handbook is not kept, management may have to answer the same questions over and over again, thus wasting time.
  • Lack of clear company rules and regulations can lead to inconsistent policies which may in turn lead to poor company morale.
  • Last, but not least, you may jeopardize your legal power to enforce any company policies if you fail to put them into writing.

If your small business does not already have an employee handbook, you should seriously consider creating one in the near future. While relatively inexpensive to design and implement, an employee handbook can potentially save you lots of time and money in the long run. A handbook can be stored in a digital form through cloud hosting for easy access by all of your workforce, or it can take the form a a pre-printed physical document.

Photo Credit to Karen on Flickr

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