2024 is right around the corner, which means employee handbook update season.
How is it we are discussing the end of 2023 and the start of 2024? It seems to have just flown right by!
This is the perfect time to review your current handbook and make revisions for a clean start in the new year. This week's newsletter is dedicated to giving you tips to enhance your current handbook and set the stage for accountability in 2024.
Tip of the Week
A Fresh Start: Updating Employee Handbooks for the New Year
As we step into a new year, it's an excellent time for your business to take a closer look at your policies and procedures, especially the employee handbook. The employee handbook is a crucial document that serves as a guide to your company's culture, expectations, and rules. It sets the tone for the work environment and helps employees understand their rights and responsibilities. To ensure your organization remains compliant, relevant, and aligned with your evolving goals, updating the employee handbook should be on your to-do list for the new year.
Why Update the Employee Handbook?
Employment laws and regulations are subject to change. Staying up-to-date with these changes is essential to protect your business from potential legal issues. An outdated handbook might inadvertently lead to non-compliance, putting your company at risk.
Reflect Company Values
Your company's values, mission, and culture may evolve over time. It's essential to ensure that the handbook accurately reflects these changes, as it serves as a reference point for employees on what your organization stands for.
An updated handbook promotes clear communication between employees and the company. It helps avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and conflicts by providing a comprehensive and accessible source of information.
A handbook that is relevant and engaging can contribute to employee morale and job satisfaction. When employees feel that the company cares about their well-being and growth, they are more likely to be engaged and committed.
Steps to Update the Employee Handbook
Review Existing Policies
Start by conducting a thorough review of your current handbook. Identify outdated policies, unclear language, or areas that need improvement. Take note of any legal changes that may require updates.
Consult with legal counsel or HR experts (like FCHR) to ensure that your handbook complies with federal, state, and local employment laws. This includes issues related to minimum wage, overtime, anti-discrimination, and workplace safety.
Reflect Company Values
Consider whether your company's values and culture have evolved. If so, update the handbook to reflect these changes. This could include revisions to the mission statement, diversity and inclusion policies, and any new initiatives.
Clarity and Accessibility Make sure that your handbook is written in clear, concise language that is easy for employees to understand. Use headings, bullet points, and examples to improve readability. Ensure that the handbook is accessible to all employees, including those with disabilities.
Communication and Acknowledgment
Once you've updated the handbook, communicate the changes to all employees. Hold training sessions or webinars to ensure that everyone understands the new policies and procedures. Ask employees to acknowledge receipt of the updated handbook.
Employee handbooks should not be static documents. Make it a practice to review and update the handbook regularly, at least once a year, to keep it current and aligned with your company's evolving needs.
Updating your employee handbook for the new year is a proactive step towards maintaining legal compliance, fostering a positive work environment, and aligning your organization with its values and goals. By investing time and effort into this essential document, you can ensure that your employees have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities, leading to a more harmonious and productive workplace in the year ahead. Remember, a well-crafted employee handbook can be a valuable tool for both your business and your employees.
The Compliance Corner
Reminder: Remove Expired Posters
This is a reminder to remove all expired lab law posters and notices. I have visited employers who have the FFCRA poster displayed. This Act expired on December 31, 2020, almost three years ago. Please if you are displaying this post, I give the "Go Ahead" to take it down.
The following are posters that must be displayed in a conspicuous area at NH employers.
-Workers' Compensation Law
-Protective Legislation Law
-Criteria to Establish an Employee or Independent Contractor
-New Hampshire Minimum Wage law
-Whistleblowers' Protection Act
-Workers Right to Know
-Equal Pay Law
-NHES Vacation Shutdown
NH State Poster can be found here.
Federal Agencies Posters can be found here.
Employee Handbook Review
Full Circle HR is offering a New Year, New Handbook service for employers who have an established employee handbook and want to make changes for 2024.
This service includes a deep dive into what you want to keep, add, and change. We will review the handbook for compliance on a state and federal level. And we will prepare you to roll out your handbook to your team in 2024. If you request it, we can even come to you and meet with your employees to discuss the changes.
Space is limited and time is running out, so reach out today!
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Gusto is rated the #1 HR platform for payroll, benefits, and more. Gusto offers small businesses the ability to do payroll, onboard employees electronically, allow employees to punch in and out, store employee information, administer benefits, track paid time off, recruit, and complete performance evaluations, all in one place!
Gusto's pricing starts at $40/mo plus $6/mo per person for the Simple plan. And $80/mo plus $12/mo per person for the Plus plan. If you want to find out what Gusto can do for your business, contact me today to schedule your free demo!
"You can't start the next chapter if you keep re-reading the last one." Unknown
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