Among the 6,873 things you have to prepare for year-end, it’s a good idea to add conducting an employee handbook audit to that novel of a list.

Here’s why. As your business grows and evolves, so do your policies and procedures. If you’re looking to ever add new employees to your staff, you’ll want them to experience the best possible onboarding as possible so they’ll stick around. (After all, finding that great talent was probably a challenge in the first place).

Along with your changing small business policies, the legislative landscape has probably already changed slightly somehow since you’ve read this paragraph. Maybe within the past year (or last time you’ve taken a look at your handbook), you have now grown to a staff size that requires you follow certain compliance guidelines that you never have before. Year-end isn’t the time for you to start from scratch and compose an entirely new handbook, but it is a great time to at least audit and adjust where necessary.

Don’t have one for your small business? You’ll want to check out this article explaining if it’s worth the investment.

What goes in an employee handbook?

First things first. What types of elements should be included in an employee handbook? Here are the top 10 most important things to include.

  • At-will statement
  • Employee classifications
  • Disciplinary policies
  • Overtime, pay days, hours of work, exemptions
  • Attendance policies
  • Time off
  • EEO, Anti-Harassment, ADA and FMLA (if required) policies
  • Benefits and how to qualify for benefits
  • Leave policies
  • Social media and technology policies

I know, there’s a lot listed there – and these are only general guidelines. Don’t worry, there’s a solution for you at the end!

Conducting an employee handbook audit.

It is best practice to consult a trusted legal advisor before making any changes to your handbook, but this is a brief outline of how you can conduct an audit for year-end to help you prepare for 2018.

The purpose of doing an audit is to ensure it:

  • Is filled with positive employee relations requirements designed to improve morale and create a positive image and culture of your organization.
  • Educates employees on a number of things including your business’s origin and employee relations philosophy.
  • Acts as a mechanisms for two-way communication.
  • Contains the most up-to-date and necessary protective language to mitigate the risk or threat of litigation and/or employee complaints.

ThinkHR powers our HR Advisory solution. (See below for more on this). They’ve got an incredible resource that acts as an actual checklist that you can use as a guideline for this self-audit. Here’s a snapshot of yes or no questions to evaluate:

Has your small business developed policies and procedures dealing with the following?

  • Wages?
  • Benefits?
  • Employee relations?
  • Day-to-day operations and administration?
  • HR management?

How are these policies and practices communicated to employees?

  • Orally and by having the employee observe how an organization operates?
  • In written memos and documents given to employees and placed on bulletin boards (including intranet bulletin boards)?
  • Through the use of a written employee handbook?
  • By posting an electronic version of the handbook on an intranet?

Reviewing these HR policies by year-end will help save you the headache of running into compliance issues at the start of the New Year.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by this all? There's great news! With PrimePay’s HR Advisory, you can have access to a federal and/or state employee handbook builder (depends on which solution you have). This builder will guide you through the process and ensure that you stay compliant. PrimePay client? You get the federal handbook builder for $4 per month! Upgrading to the Advanced version will get you both federal and state handbook builders and much more important HR guidance for only $39 per month. Click here to learn more or fill out the form below.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.