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Updating Your Employee Handbook in the New Year


As a health care company, you play a critical role in ensuring the well-being of your patients and communities. And the success of your organization largely depends on the dedication, commitment, and professionalism of your employees. Your employee handbook serves as a guide and a reference for your employees and outlines important policies, procedures, and expectations.

As we settle into the year, it's essential to consider updating your employee handbook to ensure it accurately reflects the current state of your company and remains relevant to your employees.

Why Update Your Handbook?

Although all businesses should consider updating their employee handbook, here are some reasons why it’s especially important that your health care company updates its handbook towards the beginning of the new year:

Compliance – Health care is a highly regulated industry, and laws and regulations affecting health care companies are constantly changing. By updating your employee handbook, you can ensure that your company maintains compliance with current laws and regulations and that your employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Don’t know where to begin? Check out compliance webinars to get started.

Policy and Procedure Changes – As your company evolves and grows, its policies and procedures may change. Updating your employee handbook ensures that your employees are aware of the most current policies and procedures, and it gives you an opportunity to communicate any changes in a clear and concise manner.

Make sure to get your employees’ signatures every time you make changes to ensure they read and understand these changes.

Employee Engagement – A well-written and up-to-date employee handbook can help employees understand your company culture, values, and expectations. This can improve employee engagement and satisfaction and reduce confusion and misunderstandings. When employees know what is expected of them and feel that their company values and supports them, they are more likely to be productive, committed, and satisfied with their work.

Invest in Learning Management tools to help outline expectations.

Company Culture – The best employee handbook is both a reflection of and a guide to your culture. It may wear a compliance disguise, but it’s really a tool to foster a commitment to your culture. That’s why at its heart, it should feature a code of conduct that promotes positive behaviors and helps employees make decisions that align with your organization’s values.

Revisit your company’s mission, vision, and values and make sure you’re communicating to your employees why they’re important to you.

Transparent Communication – Consistent and transparent communication is vital for building trust and maintaining a positive work environment. By updating your employee handbook, you can ensure that all employees have access to the same information and that there is no misunderstanding or confusion about any company policies and procedures.

Remember...your handbook is a communication tool, but it’s not the only communication tool. Make sure you leverage all forms of communication, including company-wide initiatives through an employee self-service portal and even pay transparency through custom pay stub messages.

What Changes Should You Make?

While every organization has certain items they may wish to include or remove, here are some common changes that companies make to their employee handbooks each year:

Leave Policies – Review your leave policies to ensure they're in line with current laws and best practices. For example, you may need to update your family and medical leave policies to reflect changes in the law or your company's growing needs.

Diversity and Inclusion Policies – Review your diversity and inclusion policies to ensure that they're inclusive and respectful for all employees. This may include updates to anti-discrimination policies, harassment training, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Workplace Safety Policies – Review your workplace safety policies to ensure that they meet current regulations and best practices. This may include updates to emergency preparedness plans, accident reporting procedures, and safety training programs.

Technology Policies – Review your technology policies to ensure that they're up-to-date and relevant in a rapidly changing technological landscape. This may include updates to policies related to social media, email, and the use of company equipment.

How to Update Your Employee Handbook

Updating your employee handbook is an important process that requires careful consideration and planning. Here are the steps you should follow to update your employee handbook effectively:

  1. Review Existing Policies: Review your current employee handbook to identify any policies that need to be updated. Make a list of these policies and the changes that need to be made.
  2. Gather Input: Involve key stakeholders, such as HR, legal, and management, in the process of updating the handbook. Ask for input and feedback from employees to ensure that the handbook reflects the needs and concerns of your entire workforce.
  3. Update Policies: Make any necessary updates to your policies, taking into account the input and feedback you've received. Ensure that all policies are clear, concise, and easy to understand.
  4. Communicate Changes: Once you've updated your employee handbook, communicate the changes to your employees. Explain why the changes were made and how they'll affect employees. Consider holding training or Q&A sessions to answer any questions employees may have.
  5. Keep on Top of Ongoing Changes Review and Update Regularly: Review your employee handbook regularly to ensure that it remains up to date and relevant. Consider updating your handbook annually (at a minimum) to ensure that it reflects any changes in laws, best practices, or company culture.

Updating your employee handbook is essential for the success and growth of your health care organization. It ensures compliance with changing laws and regulations, reflects changes in company policies and procedures, improves employee morale and engagement, enhances professional development, and maintains consistent and transparent communication.

So, take the time to review and update your employee handbook, and ensure that it accurately reflects the values and goals of your company.

To learn more about how Viventium can help you manage your HR tasks and keep your organization in compliance, check out our HR page.

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