This was an interesting question and I am sure you are thinking that from an HR person the answer is “absolutely”. Actually, I would have to say “depends”. I know, wonderful, still not a decisive answer.

Let me explain. It depends based on what you want the employee handbook to accomplish?

Is it meant to be:

• set of policies and procedures?
• outline the labor laws that are relevant to your size organization?
• a document to set expectations?
• all of the above?

If you want a set of policies and procedures that employees and managers are to follow – create a policies and procedures manual that is easy to update. Outline the relevant labor laws – that’s what the required posters are for.

However if you want to set expectation on behavior and performance – this is a good supplemental tool. Yes, I said supplemental – really I am not intentionally trying to be vague. It is that a handbook, manual, or poster should not be the only form of communication.

Expectations of behavior and performance should be outlined and consistently reinforced by the manager. The manager needs to verbally talk to each employee and explain what and why of the expectations.

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Melody L. Beach Consulting Group, Human Resources, Southbridge, MA