When running a law firm, you must ensure that your team has access to the necessary resources. Compiling your firm’s policies and procedures into an employee handbook is crucial to scaling your firm. Read 8 Figure Firm’s blog to learn more.
What is an employee handbook?
An employee handbook compiles your policies, procedures, and expectations into one document that your employees can reference. It sets clear expectations for your team, defines your employee’s rights, and states your legal obligations.
The handbook also helps new hires understand your firm’s vision, mission, and values. It’s a vital step in your onboarding plan since it contains information about benefits and where employees can turn for help.
This type of document can provide additional assistance against lawsuits from current or former employees. Because an employee handbook includes relevant information about your firm, it can show that you exercised “reasonable care” towards your staff members.
What should an employee handbook include?
An employee handbook is an essential part of your law firm. However, deciding what to add to your document can be challenging. Let’s look at some necessary sections to include in your employee handbook.
First, you should consider adding a welcome letter to your employee handbook. Writing a letter to include in the handbook adds legitimacy to the document, and it’s an easy way to establish your company culture.
Your vision, mission, and values
Your employee handbook should also include your mission statement, your vision statement, and your firm’s core values. Including these statements shows your new hires where your firm is going and how you will get there.
Code of conduct
A code of conduct contains values, rules, and standards that you expect your employees to follow while at work or working on behalf of your firm. These guiding principles define how to act and communicate within the firm and ensure your firm complies with the law.
Policies to include in your code of conduct should cover your dress code, drug and alcohol usage, personal technology usage, social media, data and customer privacy, and conflict resolution.
General employment information
This section may be vague, but it covers a variety of topics. Your general employment information should include meal and rest breaks and a few of your procedures. The procedures you should include should cover performance review, safety and security, and resignation or termination procedures.
Attendance, working hours, time off, and sick leave
In this section, it’s essential to include your expectations for attendance and instructions on how to request time off or sick leave. You should also have your firm’s general hours of operation and when the firm is closed.
Your discipline policy outlines how your firm will respond to misbehavior and rule-breaking. The policy should include:
- An overview of disciplinary steps.
- An explanation of each step in the process.
- A statement of at-will employment.
- Statements that offer you legal protection.
The employee handbook should also include a breakdown of your employees’ benefits. Be sure to include descriptions of health insurance and retirement plans since these are the benefits that most people seek.
A pay policy section covers how often paychecks go out, overtime pay, how to earn raises, incentives, payment methods, and how you’ll conduct annual reviews. In this section, you should include anything that has to do with an employee’s wages.
Equal employment opportunity policy
An equal employment opportunity policy protects you and your employees from employment discrimination. Your policy should state that discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information is illegal and will not be tolerated.
You may benefit from including definitions and examples of prohibited conduct. You should also consider adding a statement about reasonable accommodations, how employees can report discrimination, and an employee’s confidentiality.
An employee handbook should also include disclaimers about the document. You must note that the handbook states that there is room for interpretation, that it’s subject to change, and that it is not a contract between employee and employer.
The final section of your employee handbook should include an agreement form. When employees sign their handbooks, they acknowledge that they have read and understood the information and agree to follow the terms.
How do you develop an employee handbook?
Developing an employee handbook doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many templates and samples across the internet that you can use as inspiration; some examples include Valve, HubSpot, Netflix, and Trello.
To develop your employee handbook, start with your culture and values and decide what you want to emphasize. Then, you’ll need to craft policies that your employees will follow. You should also check and comply with federal, state, and local laws regarding employment.
Speak to the experts
Crafting your employee handbook is a crucial step in scaling your firm. Once you develop and implement a handbook, you will start laying the groundwork for employee success and ensuring consistency across your firm.
However, developing an employee handbook can quickly become challenging. Here at 8 Figure Firm, we’re here to assist you on your journey to success. We offer programs like ONE.Coach Premier to give you the support and insight you need.
If you’re ready to take your law firm to the next level, register for ONE.Coach Premier today. We’ll help you turn your law firm into a law business.