Writing Employee Manuals

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Writing up your company's employee manual can be a daunting task to say the least. Without drawing up a comprehensive list of points to address you already know you must spell out your safety guidelines, your corporate philosophy, your benefits packages, your disciplinary procedure, and your hiring practices. And that's just for starters.

A well-thought-out manual will include information on a slew of other important matters. Among these, environmental compliance, substance abuse, termination procedures, severance pay, overtime rules, and occupational hazards policies all leap to mind. These segments should all be connected in an organized and intuitive manner that's easily searchable for employees, not simply placed alongside one another in any old fashion.

How To Write an Employee Manual

The first thing to include in your employee manual is a page identifying your company, its location, and its date of incorporation. After that, you may wish to include your mission statement as well as any legal disclaimers your legal counsel advises. This is the time and place to lay out any general policies that may be misinterpreted or misapprehended, not for specific legal minutiae or other specialized information--that comes later.

Most companies then follow said legal disclaimers with an index that lays forth the purposes of the manual as well as major chapter headings and subheadings. The more carefully organized this table of contents, the easier it will be for workers to find the info they need in a hurry. To that end, it's best to include all emergency contact information right up front at the beginning of the manual. Police, fire department, poison control centers, and building managers and superintendents should all have prominently listed numbers within the first few pages.

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