|Do Employee Handbooks have a place in Startups and Small Businesses?

The employee handbook. For many, even just the mention of this particular document gives them unpleasant flashbacks to working under overbearing managers and bureaucratic HR reps who wield the handbook like a weapon. Almost anyone who has worked for a large company has a story or two that confirms this; how people higher up on the bureaucratic ladder used it to nail employees on technicalities, or hide behind obscure clauses for their own protection.

Is it any surprise then that an employee handbook is rarely high on the list of documents to write when building a new company? Far from it, in fact. But this also suggests that the problem lies in a lack of appreciation for what an employee handbook can offer a startup or small business.

Most of the articles and writings you will find out there on the web about writing employee handbooks for small businesses and startups seem to assume one thing: your company is burning down around your ears due to some legal problem. In these situations, writing an employee handbook becomes an exercise in damage control and preventing the same catastrophe from happening again. Sure, the imminent implosion of your company is a great reason to focus on policy. However, this scenario should not be the first time writing a handbook becomes a priority.

Sure, the imminent implosion of your company is a great reason to focus on policy, but why wait? A properly written handbook can go a long way to preventing those types of nightmare scenarios in the first place.

I am a strong believer in the school of thought that one of a founder’s first projects after starting a company should be putting together an employee handbook. It will likely cover most of the same topics as one written after all hell breaks loose, and just having the document written up somewhere isn’t a magic shield that makes founders, their companies, or their employees invincible. However, a properly written handbook can go a long way in preventing those nightmare scenarios in the first place, and it can help all sides navigate the storm, should one arise.

This series will take a look at what goes into an employee handbook, some common excuses and roadblocks that cause small businesses and startups to not prioritize writing one, and why it still makes sense for founders to make a handbook one of the first documents they write.



To add a comment, please login or register.


Using a Lenovo P51 Laptop with an Airplane Power Supply
The Lenovo P51 Laptop comes with a huge 170 watt Power Supply. However, airplane power supplies provide a maximum of somewhere between 75-100 watts. If you plugin a power supply requiring more watts, the circuit breaker will short out and the power will stop flowing.
C-Level Security: When your team uses military analogies, are they using the wrong narrative?
For years, I have bristled when people would use medieval military descriptions in an attempt to convey concepts within the Network Security business. Bastions, Firewalls, Moats, Drawbridges, Countermeasures; all of these descriptions give way to a more accurate and detailed explanation of what was really taking place.
Setup Point-to-Site VPN with Ubiquiti EdgeRouter
Learn how to setup a VPN with your Ubiquiti EdgeRouter.
Turning Atlassian JIRA into a CRM
Here at Member.buzz, we use Atlassian JIRA to track our features, bugs, and incoming requests from users through our Support Site. So when it came to choosing a CRM, we wanted to find one that integrated nicely with the rest of our infrastructure.Our first thought was to try out some of the existing JIRA CRM plugins. Here are the ones we tried out:CRM for JIRAAtlas CRMKanoah CRMAlthough there were definitely some interesting features among these options, there was nothing substantial enough to make us want to choose a specific one. We wanted something simple, yet well-integrated into what we already had