An Employee Manual is in written form to ensure that employees will clearly understand what it means to work for the organization.
You can also use it as the basis for taking action, whether remedial, corrective or disciplinary, where there is a serious failure to adhere to any of the provisions.
Record Receipt of Employee Manual by Employees
It is necessary that you make every employee acknowledge receipt of a copy of the manual. This is to prevent any issue of non-compliance arising from misunderstanding as alleged by employees due to absence of personal copies given.
Do not just put a copy in the general office and inform employees that they can refer to that copy. It is not easy to prevent loss or damage to that office copy. By all means, put a copy in an area accessible to everyone but give a copy each to every employee.
Since you are giving a copy to each of your people, ensure that nothing in the Employee Manual contradicts the contents of the Policy Manual. This can cause you difficulty.
To prevent any danger of the loss or accidental or deliberate alterations of this important document, keep at least two copies in a safe place. Mark these as the controlled copies. These will become the ultimate reference materials in the event of review. A record is inserted in a file stating that there are controlled copies kept somewhere. This is a file opened for the purpose of managing the Manual.
It is always a sound filing practice to have the record cross-referenced to a general file meant for closely-related subjects.
Another important principle to follow (in this digital age) is to keep a password-protected digital copy. Publish a copy of both manuals in your intranet if you have implemented such a system.
Employee Manual Review
Make it a policy to have the manual reviewed from time to time to reflect the actual situation in your organization and as the result of new legislation.
Conducting a yearly review is too burdensome. You may choose a period of between three to five years with the possibility that you can carry out a review at any time if the situation requires it.
If you choose to review the manual after more than a year, you can issue a circular informing everyone if there are changes made as the result of new legislation or management decision in response to certain important events affecting the organization.
You can incorporate these changes later on when you change the contents of the Employee Manual.
Where necessary (in principle, it is preferable) prepare an Employee Manual in addition to the Policy Manual as a method of communicating important policies and procedures, and rules and regulations;
Give every employee a copy and make the employee acknowledge receipt of it;
Keep at least two controlled copies in a safe place and make a record where they are kept, and a protected digital copy;
Review the manual at regular intervals in order to update it to reflect present conditions;
Issue an official circular signed by the CEO if changes are required before the stipulated time for review. Conduct the review if required by new legislation or management has made important decisions pertaining to employer-employee relationship.
The major part of this responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Human Resource Manager and HR specialists.
However, the ultimate responsibility rests with the Chief Executive Officer.