Increase Handbook Comprehension

June 14, 2021

What is the importance of an employee handbook?

Thorough, legally compliant, understandable and readily available—these are the essential characteristics of an effective employee handbook. Employee handbooks explain the relationship and responsibilities of the employee and employer and provide clear communication on a variety of employment topics. A comprehensive employee handbook will include information regarding compensation, benefits, dress code, human resources issues, time off, workers’ compensation, performance reviews, discipline and rewards, drug and alcohol policies, anti-discrimination policies, social media usage, safety guidelines, and various other behavioral and procedural expectations. A well-written employee handbook establishes guides for the workplace and protects the employer from liability. In many employment lawsuits, the handbook will be a key piece of evidence that can either protect your clients or provide ammunition for an employee (or former employee) who is suing them.

Increase Handbook comprehension
Are employers responsible for making sure employees read their handbook? Employees that have a clear understanding of what they should expect to give and to receive from their employer are more comfortable and confident, allowing them to do a better job. Aside from keeping a current copy easily accessible to employees, employers typically are not required to do much else. However, it is a growing trend (and suggested by most legal counsels) to ask employees to sign a form stating that they received and reviewed the employee handbook. This signature will ensure that an employee cannot later claim that he or she was unaware of a particular policy. It’s also in everyone’s best interest for all employees to have a clear understanding of everything in their employer’s handbook, so simply handing it out and asking them to sign it isn’t enough in most cases. To increase employee knowledge of workplace policies and benefits offerings, though, employers should consider making their handbooks easier to read and develop simple ways to help employee understanding and comprehension of their handbook.

How can employers increase employee knowledge of their handbook?

There are a couple of simple ways employers can encourage employees to read the handbook, which include the following:

  • Dedicate time during orientation/employee training to go over the most important points of your handbook and require everyone to read it before signing.
  • Give employees a basic quiz on its contents to ensure that HR and managers understand critical topics.

Setting aside time specifically for employees to read and ask questions on parts of the handbook increases the odds that they will actually read the policies and statements included in the handbook. Giving a quiz to proper stakeholders in any format—including open notes and partner quizzes—helps ensure that people really do understand their employer’s policies.

How can you help your clients?

HR departments are often short on time and swamped with numerous important tasks. Finding time to write an employee handbook and keep it updated, and quiz or teach employees on the employee, can be difficult.

That’s where you can step in. Pass along our completed employee handbook that feature over 80 sample policies and related forms that they can use to revamp or create their own handbook. Be sure to also give your clients our customizable, interactive Employee Handbook Quiz (Document ID: 153443) and Employee Handbook Quiz – Answer Key (Document ID: 153444) documents. The quiz is broken down into the following sections:

  1.  Employment Policies
  2. Workplace Conduct Policies
  3. Employee Benefits Policies
  4. Time Away From Work Policies
  5. Information and Office Security Policies
  6. General Practices Policies

The professionally written and attorney-reviewed questions featured in this quiz are designed to encourage employees to read the policies included in their employer’s handbook, which will increase overall comprehension. Prove your value as a broker and provide your clients with the tools they need to effectively communicate what’s in their handbook to their employees, today.

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