Handbooks Should Rock Your World

December 3, 2007
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

PITTSBURGH - Elizabeth Fletcher was curious as to why people would attend her seminar on creating good and useable employee handbooks. The operations manager for F.H. Furr, a plumbing and HVAC contractor from Manassas, Va., and Nexstar member, is an authority on employee handbooks and wanted to share her expertise with attendees to the Nexstar fall meeting in Pittsburgh. The answers were predictable.

Some people wanted to take back new ideas to improve their existing handbooks while others didn’t have a handbook and needed to create one. “You need a handbook because it keeps you out of trouble,” Fletcher said. “And that is an important reason from where the owners sit.”

Fletcher acknowledged that a handbook is an important communications tool, which should give a complete history of the company. It should tell where the company began and where it is going. A handbook should also serve as an employee relation’s tool to bridge the communication gap between management and workers.

“The handbook can set the standard for a company and new hires can base their opinion on a company by what the handbook is like,” she said. “Handbooks will tell me instantly about your company and it may not be the message you want me to know.”



KEY POINTS TO FOLLOW

Fletcher cautioned that a handbook should not be hard to read or comprehend; rather, it should be able to answer all of an employee’s questions. She said the handbook should be an instruction manual which states, “This is what I expect you to do.”

With the influx of Generation Yers to the workplace, Fletcher said that handbooks will likely become larger because one trait of this class of workers is to challenge everything.

She said it is absolutely necessary that a handbook contain all government rules and regulations regarding hiring practices and these practices should not just be a set of words on paper. “Make sure you know what the regulations are and that you follow them in your workplace,” Fletcher added. “Don’t put laws into your handbook if you don’t understand the laws.”

She noted the handbook should also be positive despite the fact that many rules and regulations are not positive by nature. “It is all about a positive delivery and presentation,” she said. “You don’t want to make employees mad when they read the handbook. Use words like ‘encourage’ and stay away from words like ‘don’t.’ And don’t use phrases like ‘use common sense’ or ‘use good judgment’ in a handbook.”

Fletcher said that even if something is obvious, it should be written in a handbook - and at an eighth grade reading level.

She gave an outline for suggested handbook sections, which should include:

• Welcome letter from owner or president;

• Company history;

• Company mission statement (values/visions);

• Organizational chart;

• Federal and state policies;

• Specific information including benefits (compensation), employee relations, management policies, selection and placement, technology, training and development, and health and safety.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Fletcher at mefletcher@fhfurr.com or visit the Nexstar Website at www.nexstarnetwork.com.

Publication Date: 12/03/2007

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

Recent Articles by John Hall

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 ACI Home Performance Conference

The 2014 ACI National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show was held in Detroit.

Podcasts

NEWSMakers: Michael Willburn

Michael Willburn, president, Infloor Heating Systems, joins the program to discuss his company, radiant heating, industry trends, and whether contractors are becoming more interested in radiant heating. Posted on July 11.

More Podcasts

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 07-21-14 cover

2014 July 21

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

R-22 PHASEOUT POLL

Some in the industry are calling for the EPA to halt production of R-22 as of 2015. What do you think?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con