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An employee handbook is an important tool for keeping both your new and seasoned employees updated about your company’s policies, labor laws and regulations.

The employee handbook is a great reference resource for all your employees. It enables new hires to put their best foot forward by empowering them with knowledge, while giving longtime employees a source for checking on such things as the company’s attendance policy. Whether you have one employee or 100, it’s important to inform and educate your employees about your company’s policies.

The last quarter or end of the calendar year is a good time to update your handbook in preparation for the new year. If you can’t review the handbook annually, update it at least every two years.

Have any internal policies changed? I recommend that changes in most internal policies be communicated to your employees as they occur. These changes also should be included in the updated version of your handbook.

Overview of state, federal laws

Are there new or updated state or federal laws employees need to know about?

An employee handbook or guide, whatever you’d like to call it, not only includes the company’s policies, it’s an overview of relevant state and federal laws on immigration, labor and employment, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. You don’t need to include the full text of the laws in your handbook. Make sure to summarize the law, provide a reference to the full law and update the handbook with any changes.

It isn’t necessary to update your handbook every time there’s a change in a law. You can keep information on changes throughout the year and revise the handbook all at once. When you distribute the handbook to your employees, be sure to include a signature page, which advises the company that the employee has received and read the handbook. This protects your company by ensuring employees are responsible for reading the handbook.

And don’t forget

When reviewing your current handbook, don’t forget to include such company policies as:

  • The mission and vision of the company.
  • Procedures for new hires.
  • Antiharassment, employment discrimination and equal opportunity policies.
  • Standards of conduct and discipline.
  • Attendance and call-out procedures.
  • Leave of absence.
  • Sick time, paid time off, vacations and overtime.
  • Reimbursement for travel or business expenses.
  • Performance reviews, pay increases and promotions.
  • Procedures for layoffs and firings.

If you have implemented a remote-work model, for example, policies and procedures governing working from home should be added under a section on day-to-day work.

When compiling an employee handbook, I recommend making sure the terminology is clear and isn’t technical. Also include a disclaimer and the contact information for your Human Resources representative.

Valuable resource

In addition to information about your benefits and mission, the handbook can be a valuable resource for an employee who has been sexually harassed or has overheard an off-color remark and doesn’t know what to do. The employee handbook should detail the steps an employee can take to file a complaint.

Creating an employee handbook can involve a lot of work. I consult with many of my clients on how to produce professional, easily understood employee handbooks. If you need help creating one or updating your existing handbook, don’t hesitate to reach out to Melody L. Beach Consulting Group at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

50+ Job Seekers workshops

The 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group’s workshops are free and virtual on Zoom, with some held in person.

Upcoming workshops are:

  • Saturday, Dec. 16, 10 to 3 p.m.: “Resume Help,” with Ed Lawrence, in-person at the Framingham Public Library, top floor – Learning & Technology Center.

The session is in two parts. Attend either or both sessions.

  • Part 1: 10 a.m. to noon: Presentation – Resume writing and a bit on cover letters.

This session is mostly a presentation with time for some Q&A. We will prepare you for the afternoon session, cover the basics, present the modern theory and answer questions.

  • Lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
  • Part 2: 1 to 3 p.m.: Workshop.

No presentation. Build your resume with help from Ed Lawrence and others. If you need a new resume or don’t have one at all – use the library computers or bring your own computer. If you have a resume and just want a review, or have questions, stop by and we will assist.

Framingham Public Library is at 49 Lexington St., Framingham.

Register here.

  • Monday, Dec. 18, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Interview Practice … with Ed Lawrence.

For good or bad, first impressions matter. When interviewing you need to put your best foot forward, and that takes practice!

  • Do you have an interview coming up?
  • Do you know how to respond to behavioral questions?
  • Do you need suggestions on how to address gaps in employment?

Join us for answers to your questions and learn how to respond to a variety of questions that may be presented to you during an interview!

Register here.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 19, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Resumes … with Ed Lawrence.

Join us as we discuss formatting, your professional summary, and your experience section, which will include the following:

  • Successful format styles.
  • What experience to include/exclude.
  • How many years the section should cover.
  • How to write bullet lines that will impress the reader.
  • How to manage a gap.

Why you need to know about this: Formatting can affect your resume’s chance of being interpreted correctly by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). And the humans who read the resume want to see a clean-looking, professional document. Your professional summary is often the first view a company has of how you introduce and describe yourself and the skills you offer. Your resume is your primary marketing document. It must present the best you!

Register here.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2 to 3:30 p.m., in-person at the Natick Community-Senior Center: “Working with Recruiters,” with Ed Lawrence.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2 to 3:30 p.m., in-person at the Worcester Senior Center: “Working with Recruiters,” with me.

The three main ways people look for jobs are by applying online, networking, and working with a recruiter. Most job seekers talk to a recruiter, apply, and then wait for an answer. But is that best practice? Of course not. You can’t simply give a recruiter your resume and expect them to find you a job you covet.

Join us as we discuss all things recruiter: types of recruiters, each party’s responsibilities, and best practices for ensuring a long-term relationship.

  • Are all recruiters the same? What are the kinds of recruiters?
  • How do I find a great recruiter?
  • How do I know a recruiter is a really good one?
  • How should I communicate with them?

Why you need to know about this: After networking, the next best strategy for landing a role is to work with a recruiter. If you want the recruiter to really help you, you should learn how to best help them help you. It is vital for you to present your best self, know your responsibilities, and understand the responsibilities of the recruiter.

Each session is limited to the first 20 reservations.

The Natick Community-Senior Center is at 117 East Central St. in Natick. Worcester Senior Center is at 128 Providence St., Worcester.

Register here.

  • Thursday, Dec. 28, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: “An Afternoon at the Improv,” a Savvy Seeker Series program with Karen Sowsy and me.

Join us for a fun and different way of preparing for interviews and networking conversations — Improv!

Improvisational theatre is unplanned or unscripted: created spontaneously by the performers. In its purest form, the dialogue, action, story, and characters are created collaboratively by the players as the improvisation unfolds.

We’ll start with simple improv with interviewing or job search situations. As we progress, we’ll mix in different situations and more performers.

Are you ready to have FUN!? Yes, and … (what comes next)?

Why Improv?

  • Improv Allows You to be a More Positive Person.
  • Improv Makes You More Creative.
  • Improv Helps You Become a Team Player.
  • Improv Makes You a Better Listener.
  • Improv Helps You Make Big Choices.
  • Improv Brings Out Your Playful Side.
  • Improv Helps You Enjoy the Moment!

Register here.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 2, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: G2G (Give to Get)

G2G is an open forum for Q&A, breakouts to discuss your job search questions, and plenty of time to network and connect with fellow 50+ job seekers. Every attendee’s name will be placed on the Wheel of Names. You could win a free coaching session.

Register here.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: “How Do I Network?” in-person at the Natick Community-Senior Center, with Ed Lawrence.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: “How Do I Network?” in-person at the Worcester Senior Center, with me.

Did you know? Eighty percent of all job searches are done online. But 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking.

Networking is critical for your job search. Yet, most people fear networking. Let’s overcome that fear.

Join us as we review the principles of networking and discuss how to introduce yourself at networking events.

Please register by 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 1 for the Natick session. Please register by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2 for the Worcester session. Each session is limited to the first 20 reservations.

The Natick Community-Senior Center is at 117 East Central St. in Natick. Worcester Senior Center is at 128 Providence St., Worcester.

Register here.

The 50+ Job Seekers website is https://50plusjobseekers.org/. For questions, email 50plusjobseekersadmin@mcoaonline.com.

Get in touch 

Contact me by downloading my digital business card by texting HRPRO to 21000 or emailing me at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.


Melody L. Beach Consulting Group
Proud Member of
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
PARWCC The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches Woman in Business (WIB)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
50+ Job Seekers
Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Women's Information Network (WIN)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

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