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In some cases, an employee handbook is seen as the lifeblood of an organization. The handbook is where rules are born and disagreements are solved. While some leaders have a tendency to stick with one generic set of rules throughout their tenure, others cherish the fresh sense of motivation, confidence, and productivity that can be brought about simply by updating a few guidelines as new situations arise.

The Best Time to Update

Generally speaking, your company’s employee handbook should be reviewed and, if necessary, revised on a yearly basis. Many entrepreneurs choose to do this immediately following the onset of the new year, which gives them a fresh start on their list of resolutions.

However, some situations warrant revisions on a regular basis. In this case, reviewing the handbook once every six months is usually sufficient. This gives you plenty of opportunities to identify and correct inconsistencies or discrepancies, document new policies and update your existing ones.

What Info to Include

Employee guidelines and handbooks are best left as concise as possible. Remember, brevity is critical when trying to get your point across without compromising the interest of the reader.

There are some key items to include in any employee handbook. Policies regarding employee compensation, including any potential benefits, are an obvious choice. Common work schedules or shifts, anti-discrimination standards and any applicable non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements should also be included.

Depending on your line of work, you might want to add any number of other rules or documents. Any established dress codes, policies regarding computer and data security and even standards in media or public relations can all be addressed in an employee handbook.

Establishing Accountability

The internal hierarchy of your company may make it difficult to determine exactly who is responsible for establishing the rules and policies outlined in the employee handbook. While the duty ultimately falls on the shoulders of the business owner, many opt for the assistance of a technical writer in order to ensure integrity and readability.

Business owners aren’t alone in creating the rules and policies that govern an organization. Include other company leaders, including any managers, supervisors or board members. Apart from cultivating a strong sense of community and teamwork within your executive ranks, the simple act of including these figureheads in the decision-making process can drive loyalty, dedication, and motivation. It may even lead to new advancements, updates or revisions that you would have never thought of on your own.

Maintaining Your Employee Handbook for Years to Come

Although an outdated handbook can be difficult to repair, it’s actually easy to maintain the relevance of a recently updated book. It’s critical to review your company’s guidelines, including those that have been documented and distributed to employees, on a regular basis.

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