10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook


Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources.

Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals:

  • They save money by not printing their handbooks.
  • They’re able to update their handbooks much more easily and save even more money.
  • They connect better with younger employees; many of whom don’t read printed materials.
  • They make it more convenient for employees to see your HR policies.
  • They are more environmental friendly and convey the right eco- image to their employees.

So an electronic handbook is a suitable tool to help you in employee-engagement.

A sure-fire way to improve employee engagement for profit is to partner with your employees.

In fact, I would argue a handbook designed for the 21st century is helpful to achieve profits, and for powering your brand with employee empowerment.

Note: There are dos and don’ts in switching employee handbooks to an electronic platform whether it’s to a database or Web site.

It isn’t a difficult process and it makes it easy for you to insert updates.

But there are best practices to guard against legal hassles or simple miscues.

Best practices include:

  1. Prominently insert your employee acknowledgment form. You’ll want your employees to see any disclaimer and acknowledgment forms before reading the document.

2. Secure your document. Make certain your employees have to create and use passwords to see the handbook. You don’t want non-employees to see it.

3. Make sure your handbook is mobile-friendly.

4. Insert links into your document that will make it easy for employees to see related information pertaining to your benefits, health care insurance or federal tax forms.

5. Incorporate all important email, telephone and other information.

6. Make certain to thoroughly proofread your handbook before going online. Look for mistakes, omissions and simple typos. Test all links to make sure they work.

7. When you update or make changes to your handbook be sure to notify your employees. Send them an email marking it “urgent” with a link to your handbook.

8. Request employees to acknowledge the email and to show they’ve read the handbook. Give them a deadline to respond.

9. Have a suspense system so that you follow up with employees who fail to respond.

10. Perhaps it goes without saying, but you must save and back up all communication with your employees.

For workers who still prefer a hard copy – whether they don’t use computers or who just simply want one – accommodate them with a hard copy.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for relevant HR strategies:

HR: Is it Time to Rethink Your Marijuana-Testing Policy? — For HR departments, it was once-unthinkable: Deleting Marijuana from the list of drugs in workplace drug-testing programs. But should you? And what should you do about your handbook policies?

Best Employee-Handbook Values to Avoid Legal Issues — Neither you, nor your company and nor should your employees be relying on an employee handbook with illegal or antiquated policies. Here are employee-handbook values to consider.

For Best HR Performance Reviews, 10 Sample Goal Phrases — A well-written set of performance goals work to motivate employees and help them to focus better on their responsibilities. They must be written with the right phrasing so they inspire performance and don’t invite costly lawsuits.

How to avoid EEOC Discrimination Suits — Here are six tips for micro-companies and 13 strategies for larger organizations to avoid EEOC migraines.

Why Companies Fall into the Management Lawsuit Trap –– Small and many big companies are ripe for EEOC complaints. The majority of lawsuits targeting management usually stem from a half dozen poor practices. You’ll get into trouble using these six bad practices.

Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations –– How should you properly evaluate employees? Make sure you are careful to avoid errors in evaluations. Naturally, you want to praise good performance and discourage bad. What are the best ways? Here’s how to avoid making those classic mistakes.

Legal HR Issues? Best Practices in Workplace Investigations –– As an employer, one of your biggest nightmares can be issues involving your employees. There can be many reasons to conduct an investigation. “Action expresses priorities,” said Mohandas Gandhi. So you should act quickly.

7 Tactics to Enjoy Your Job Managing Difficult Employees –– With a difficult employee, you have two obvious problems – the impacts on your organization and the behavior of the individual. Here’s how to love your job even when managing difficult employees.

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.”

-Timothy R. Clark


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Trust Gap between Managers and Workers — How to Drive Engagement



While it’s true there are companies that are aware that good morale among employees propels profits, many businesses are missing opportunities for growth.

It’s not because of marketing. It has to do with internal issues. Why?

There’s still a wide gap between what managers and workers think about trust, according to a 2013 study, “The Forum Corporation’s global Leadership Pulse Survey.”

Based in Boston, The Forum Corporation is a leadership and sales training firm.

For example, the study shows only 8 percent of workers trust their bosses “to a great extent.” More than a third, 37 percent of employees, trust managers less than they have in previous years.


More than 90 percent of managers believe employee trust is vital, “more than 65 percent of employees rate their level of trust in their leaders as moderate at best,” reveals the study.

Eighty-nine percent of managers also state they’re great at apologizing for mistakes, less than 20 percent of employees agree. 

While such conclusions from a training firm might appear to be self-serving and of dubious value, the study’s results are accurate in my experience as a business-performance consultant.

Employees aren’t always right but neither are managers. 

The study provides more findings with solutions. 

Seven mistakes leaders make:

1. Being inconsistent

2. Lying/lacking transparency

3. Lacking leadership skills

4. Taking undue credit/passing blame

5. Talking behind employees’ backs

6. Not “walking the talk”

7. Poor communication/interpersonal skills

Advice from employees:

1. Act with integrity

2. Listen/demonstrate care

3. “Walk the talk”

4. Demonstrate trust and empowerment

5. Encourage/recognize hard work

6. Provide clear and consistent messages/vision

7. Give constructive feedback/coaching

From the Coach’s Corner, more HR management solutions:

15 HR Strategies to Improve Your Business Performance — Studies show many employees are dissatisfied in their workplaces. Employee dissatisfaction, of course, will adversely affect a company’s performance. A lack of employee engagement means: Higher costly turnover; less focus on customer service; less productivity; and weak profits. The dissatisfaction is global and the trend is likely to continue unless businesses improve their approach.

Profit Drivers – How and Why to Partner with Your Employees — If you want maximum profit, consider partnering with your employees. “Key employees – in fact, all employees – will be more valuable to a company if they understand what drives profit and improves cash flow for the business,” says leading financial consultant Roni Fischer.

Secrets in Motivating Employees to Offer Profitable Ideas — Savvy employers know how to profit from their human capital. Such knowledge is a powerful weapon for high performance in a competitive marketplace. Furthermore, there’s a correlation among excellent sales, happy customers, and high employee morale. Proverbially speaking, employees are where the tire meets the road. They daily experience firsthand a wide variety of problems – including dysfunction from vendors, shortcomings of software, aggravations of customers, poor intra-company communication and dangers facing your company.

Tips for Marketing Your HR-Policy Changes to Employees — So you’ve identified workplace policies that need to be updated. But you want your policies to be accepted and followed by your employees. Employees are often uncomfortable with change even if it’s necessary for a business turnaround. Remember high morale among employees propels profits. You might recall the hysteria over Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s telecommuting ban.

Easy Ways to Boost Your Employees’ Morale — Employee morale affects performance. Study after study shows a significant percentage of worker morale is mediocre, at best. That’s often the case even for companies that are able to pay competitive wages and benefits. As you might guess, it’s a bigger quandary for business owners that don’t have enough cash flow for raises. There are strategies you can implement.

Strategies: If a Valued Employee Wants a Raise, and Money’s Tight — In this economy, whether you operate a large or small company, trepidation of higher payroll expenses can turn your hands cold with perspiration. That’s especially true when talented employees suddenly ask for a raise. Talented workers are an asset – your human capital. Many companies don’t have a compensation policy. And your company might be like the majority of small businesses or nonprofits in this uncertain economy – having difficulty funding even merit raises.

“The best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 




More Companies Know High Employee Morale Propels Profits



More companies are aware that employee engagement enables a better customer experience, which leads to higher performance. That’s a salient conclusion of the Temkin Group’s “Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2013.”

The direct benefits to a company with engaged employees:

    • Such workers are more twice as likely to stay late when necessary.
    • They’re more inclined to act as good team members.
    • They will pitch in even if the task isn’t in their job descriptions.
    • They’re three times more likely to offer solutions.
    • Such talented workers are more than six times more likely to refer their friends or relatives to apply for a job.

ID-10089899 imagerymajesticLevels of employee engagement

The research examines the level of employee engagement within different types of organizations.

Seventy-five percent of employees in companies with significantly above-average financial performance are moderately or highly engaged, compared with less than half of firms with subpar financial results.

The study, which is based on a survey of employees completed in August 2012, shows that 57 percent of U.S. employees are moderately or highly engaged, an increase from 47 percent that Temkin Group found in its 2011 survey.

The complimentary report can be downloaded from www.TemkinGroup.com.

“It may not show up on any balance sheet, but a highly engaged workforce is one of the most valuable assets that an organization can possess,” states Bruce Temkin, Customer Experience Transformist and Managing Partner of Temkin Group in a press release.

Additional findings

      • Professional services and construction companies have the highest level of employee engagement, while travel and retail firms have the lowest.
      • Sixty percent of the workforce at companies with 100 or fewer employees are moderately or highly engaged, compared with only 46 percent at companies with 10,000 or more employees.
      • Seventy-five percent of senior executives are moderately or highly engaged, compared with only 46 percent of individual contributors.
      • The most engaged employees tend to be older, male, college educated, and African-American. 

Conclusion

The study’s findings make sense. Engaged employees are more polite to your customers. Politeness has a bearing on whether your customers will stay or leave.

A sure-fire way to improve employee engagement for profit is to partner with your employees. It’s advantageous to power your brand with employee empowerment.

From the Coach’s Corner, related resource links:

13 Management Tips to Solve Employee Absenteeism — Absenteeism causes migraines for a lot of bosses. Obviously, your company will make healthier profits, if you don’t have an absenteeism problem.

4 Reasons Why New Managers Fail in Human Resources— Best practices guarantee success for new managers. Not to over-simplify, but here are the four solutions that will help new managers succeed.

Management and HR for Higher Performance— Part three: How to grow your small business. In analyzing the growth rates of small businesses – every great entrepreneur has one salient quality – the ability to be an effective manager.

There are two kinds of people: people who like their jobs, and people who don’t work here anymore.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Photo courtesy imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

15 HR Strategies to Improve Your Business Performance



Studies show many employees are dissatisfied in their workplaces. Employee dissatisfaction, of course, will adversely affect a company’s performance.

The dissatisfaction is global. The trend is likely to continue unless businesses improve their approach to managing their human capital.

A lack of employee engagement means:

— Higher costly turnover

— Less focus on customer service

— Less productivity

— Weak profits

Higher pay and benefits are important to workers. But they’re not the greatest motivators, and employees often have more salient non-financial concerns.

So, the key is to take steps that lead to higher employee morale and performance.

The bottom-line question for you: Do your employees mirror what you expect?

Solutions

Assuming you’ve hired the best talent in terms of attitude and to improve your business performance, here are 15 HR strategies:

  1. Be authentic, not a patronizing employer.
  2. Walk the floor twice a day to engage your staff. Show empathy. Ask questions, such as “How are you?” Wait for the answer.
  3. Demonstrate your listening skills with open-ended questions. (“What is the dumbest thing you on which you’re working?” or “Where is the company wasting resources – in time or money?”) Thank the person and follow up whereever feasible.
  4. Communicate what the company is doing and how it’s performing.
  5. Help employees to understand how they contribute to your bottom line. Show them your company-wide objectives and how their work contributes to your company’s performance.
  6. Give workers a purpose with challenges.
  7. Without being verbose, teach them how you think and why.
  8. Create collegial teams of workers without micromanaging them.
  9. Make employees a CEO of their work. Empower them to contribute ideas and allow them as much autonomy as feasible to make decisions.
  10. Encourage each employee to be customer-focused.
  11. Immediately, show appreciation for good work and counsel employees following sub-par work.
  12. Budget for development and training.
  13. Show flexibility to enhance employee balance for career and personal life.
  14. Establish an employee assistance program. Do what you can to help eliminate the employees’ stress factors so they can have maximum focus on their responsibilities. That includes financial tips. As my dad once told me: “It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you bring home.”
  15. Employees know who their toxic co-workers are. Don’t let the toxic workers hurt your workplace environment.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more management suggestions:

20 Tell-Tale Signs – If You’re Under-Performing as a ManagerManagers can often struggle whether they’re new or experienced. Poor management, of course, leads to poor performance. As red flags, under-performing managers share one of two common traits with ineffective employees.

21 Quick Tips to Avoid the Dark Side of Management — News headlines from Seattle to New York are cause for some serious head slapping when it comes to managing employees. Here’s how to avoid HR troubles.

Human Resources – Profit By Not Letting Your Stars Become Free AgentsLike baseball, it’s important to identify talented performers and then take care of them. Follow these steps – you’ll be rewarded with a grand slam.

Boss Checklist: 16 Strategies for a Competitive Edge — Are you one of the countless businesspeople who needs a good look at your situation? Are you having a good year? Are your employees performing well?

Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations — How should you properly evaluate employees? Make sure you are careful to avoid errors in evaluations. Naturally, you want to praise good performance and discourage bad.

“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”

-Peter Drucker 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.