W2 Issues/Concerns


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What is the Employee Handbook’s Purpose in the Digital age

Whether you’re an avid reader of our blog, or just drop in from time to time, there’s no escaping our stance on employee handbooks: They are important, they are necessary, and you’re going to need one in order to do business of any kind.

The reason we push the employee handbook is multifaceted. From a kumbaya perspective, the employee handbook helps set the tone for your business and outlines what you expect from your workers and what they can expect from you. From a more business-minded perspective, that trusty handbook delivers the must-have information of your company and can even protect you in the event of any legal trouble.

The one thing the employee handbook is NOT is a stagnant document. It must be updated regularly to reflect the needs and requirements of your business, your industry, and even the world in which you do business. But how does this all fit into the digital age – and what purpose can the employee handbook serve through this lens?

In essence, the digital age refers to our current business climate – one that is driven by (and ultimately dependent on!) information technology. The way that your employees do business now is very different from the way they did it in the 1970s (the industrialization period) and because we all know how fast technology moves, it is even different from how they worked even five years ago.

Your employee handbook’s purpose in the digital age is to keep up with and accurately reflect the climate in which you do business. Specifically, your handbook should do the following:

  • Include a description of your company’s mission, as well as a statement that accurately reflects its goals and priorities for the year ahead.
  • Include an accurate, up-to-date description of your company’s structure such as names of heads of departments and who they manage and who manages them.
  • Accurately reflect current federal, state, and industry laws as it pertains to your business (such as an up-to-date description of FMLA rules.
  • Answer questions that went unanswered in your last employee handbook, such as how and when you can change a benefit plan and under what circumstances.
  • Correctly identify the process for reporting any issues, including how they should be reported, to whom, and in what time frame.

Because this is focused on the relevance in the digital age, let’s not forget that you can reflect the times in the format of the book itself. While you should certainly have it all written down in one place, you can opt to “teach” modules using videos, virtual reality, or any other interactive technologies that can improve the delivery, readability, or simply the level of enjoyment associated with using the handbook!

In short, moving your employee handbook into the digital age doesn’t mean overhauling it each year, but rather keeping a keen eye – or hiring someone to keep a keen eye – on your environment and making the changes that IMPROVE your handbook as time marches on.

Learn more about how Abel HR’s can become essential to your business. Contact us at (800) 400-1968 or via email at info@abelhr.com.

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