Q & A on Employee Handbooks
At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) part of our mission is getting back to basics by providing an opportunity for podiatric professionals to share experiences from many career vantage points. This enables us to provide members with trustworthy resources from those in the field. When it comes to hiring new employees for your practice and ensuring a smooth-running office, veterans will tell you that a well-written employee handbook is essential. Below are some Q&As about this important practice tool.
What’s the purpose of an employee handbook? First of all, having an employee manual shows your intention to communicate clearly with your employees. It helps you convey your practice’s vision, culture and vibe. It explains the nuts and bolts of your company, such as compensation, benefits, and perks. Your manual also acts as a playbook—letting new hires know what you as an employer do to create a safe work environment and also laying out the steps to resolving any issues that may arise. In addition, it should present the standards, expectations, and processes you expect employees to follow.
Are practices required by law to have an employee handbook? The Federal Department of Labor does not require you to create a physical handbook, but it does state that you must inform employees of their rights in the workplace. It can be done through visible workplace signage or a manual. Smart practitioners do both. Review the Department of Labor’s mandatory workplace posters and check for state-specific requirements through your state labor office’s website.
How should you implement the use of the handbook? Give new hires a copy of the employee manual with a form to sign, confirming they've read through it and understand its contents. While the manual doesn't guarantee compliance (and it's not a formal employment contract), it does give all parties clarity on how to operate, and it can protect small business owners from legal action or even be used as evidence in an anti-discrimination lawsuit.
Helping your practice be the best it can be is just one benefit IPED offers its members. To learn more about what membership offers, contact us by calling: 978-296-7634.
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