Over the next 4 weeks, we will be reviewing what areas to focus on as we enter the new year. The end of the year is a perfect time to refresh policies, build in new employee incentives, update employee information, and build a solid schedule for the upcoming year.
So, follow along as we ease you into the new year with these next-level tips and tricks!
Tip of the Week
Week 1 of 4: Review Handbook Policies
Each year, employers are highly encouraged to review their employee handbook for potential changes and updates that have occurred throughout the year. The best time to roll out an updated handbook is the start of the new year. The main reason is due to changes in benefits. If a benefit has changed and the eligibility period aligns with the new year, it is easy to draw a line. Below is a list of the top 5 areas of an employee handbook that should be reviewed annually.
For instance, on August 2nd, the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) changed how employers can enforce certain traditional behaviors in the workplace. Many times, this verbiage is in "stock" handbook language and must be addressed. Areas that may need attention are:
Restricting employees' use of social media.
Restricting criticism, negative comments, and disparagement of the company's management, products, or services.
Requiring confidentiality of investigations and complaints.
Restricting behaviors such as using cameras or recording devices in the workplace.
Outlining rules for safety complaints.
Restricting the use of company communication resources, such as email or Slack.
Limiting the recording of meetings or the use of smartphones or other devices.
Restricting meetings with co-workers or the circulation of petitions.
Limiting comments to the media or government agencies.
The bottom line is employers must be aware of these regulatory updates and align their employee handbook with the new standards.
Workplace Safety Updates
Review opportunities to highlight areas of safety concern that may have come up throughout the year. Capture the safety expectation without any specifics to an incident. The intention is to ensure employees know the safety standard. Also, include if you have updated an employee boot or clothing stipend. This is a great benefit to employees who may not have extra funds for buying boots or adequate safety footwear.
Remote Work Policies
Covid-19 started the world's largest trend in remote work and now many businesses are calling employees back to work full-time or creating hybrid positions that allow for more flexibility. If you have a remote work policy in place and have made changes throughout the year, include these changes in your handbook.
Paid Time Off Updates
With the limited hiring pool, employers are getting creative with compensation packages to include more PTO than ever. And employers are getting creative with PTO policies. Some are adding paid parental leave policies, pet bereavement policies, and time off for child school events. This may be the perfect opportunity to dig and and make some wonderful announcements to your team for 2024! Get creative!
Benefit Offering Updates
If you have never offered benefits before 2024, make sure to add a benefits section to the handbook highlighting all the amazing perks of working at your company. If you're no stranger to benefit offerings to your employees and you added another benefit like short-term disability, add it!
Once you have made all your changes to the employee handbook, have it reviewed by legal counsel just to be safe that you are in compliance.
Next, issue the new employee handbook to your team pointing out the changes and ask for a signed acknowledgment from each and add it to their personnel file. And get ready for another great year!