Every ministry, no matter how small, could benefit from maintaining an employee handbook. A proper handbook defines what you expect from employees and what they can expect from you. By following a few simple tips, your ministry handbook can provide valuable legal protection if your policies are challenged in court.
- Consult an attorney. Your policies and procedures may be subject to federal, state, and local laws. Have an attorney review your handbook before it is distributed to employees.
- Keep it simple. Information should be concise and straightforward. An employee handbook is not an employment contract and it shouldn't read like one.
- Understand what is required. Certain information—like equal employment opportunity and harassment policies—should be a part of every employee handbook.
- Answer common questions. Think of your handbook as an additional HR staff member. Consider the most commonly asked questions of HR and include the information in the handbook.
- Review the handbook regularly. You can never be finished with your employee handbook. Laws and interpretations of them can change over time. Establish a schedule for reviewing your policies and procedures.
- Communicate policy changes. When policies do change, have a formal plan for making sure employees are aware of the changes.
- Document acknowledgement. Maintain written or electronic acknowledgement that employees have received and read the handbook. There will be no question that an employee is aware of a policy, if you have proof to back it up.
- Enforce policies consistently. Your handbook will provide little protection from liability if it is not enforced or done so sporadically. If you don't expect employees to comply with a particular policy, consider rewording or removing it.
This article was created by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.