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Common Handbook Mistakes

This post will be the first in a series of posts on common mistakes that employers make when they prepare a handbook. Contrary to popular belief, a handbook is not something that you whip together on a whim. A handbook should articulate the expectations that you have of your workforce. Although there is some commonality in handbooks, an effective handbook is one that is tailored to the way your company does business. That’s a nice way of saying that if you are a physician, don’t copy the handbook used by the tacqueria down the street. It won’t work and it will only cause you heartache.

That brings me to the first mistake made by businesses.


Use of a “form” or plagiarized handbook.

Over the years I have seen all kinds of handbooks. I can think of some that are copied from another business and still have the name of that business in some of the policies. Others are the pick and choose variety of handbook policies, typically from an overpriced software package from an office supply store, that end up binding the company to commitments that it just does not have to make.

Your business and the people that work for you are unique. Your handbook should be tailored to meet the needs of your business and bind you only to those obligations that you are legally entitled to provide your workforce. As you can tell I am not a big fan of the form handbook. There is a good reason for it. Over the years, I have seen well-meaning employers who decided to go cheap but end up paying for that decision in legal fees because of what they said in their handbook or what was not in their handbook. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.

Till next time,


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