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November 6, 2015 | HRIS | Posted by Carolyn Sokol

Employee Handbook: Let Your HRIS Add Value

The best employee handbooks need expert input, constant revision, and extensive communication. All these requirements discourage small and mid-size businesses. Employees do not give them the attention they require, and managers often act in conflict with the handbook policies. Your HRIS software can reduce your efforts and increase your employee handbook’s meaningful value.

What value does an Employee Handbook have?

Too many people in management positions – including some in HR – look at the handbook as a repository of policies that create a defense against litigation. They falsely assume that it is enough to create and publish a position on behaviors by all the stakeholders. But, it’s no longer enough to simply deliver and forget the employee handbook. You must take into consideration the following criteria.

  • Establish the business base: A well prepared employee handbook spells out the organization’s position on behaviors consistent with accountable agencies, business ethics, and best business practices. It protects employee rights by asserting the company’s baseline. It establishes the “law” and identifies behaviors consistent with its mission. As it does this, it also lays out the proper course for management compliance.
  • Keep it current: Laws affecting employee and employer behavior take effect frequently, and courts revise rules regularly. It takes attention to the profession and awareness of the law to keep a handbook current. However, keeping it current can be a teaching and learning opportunity.
  • Make it a no-fear situation: You diminish a handbook’s importance and effectiveness when you issue and deliver it as a hammer blow. It should not be punitive when it could be collaborative. If developed and implemented through  employer, employee, and counsel participation, you find more buy-in on the part of all involved.

Let your HRIS add value.

Any HRIS program worth its salt can expedite and improve the employee handbook’s purpose in compliance, currency, and collaboration. It depends on whether you see the technology as passive or active.

A passive HR data system holds and stores the data waiting for employees’ access. If they want to read the employee handbook, they can locate it and read. In requiring the employees’ initiative, such a passive approach serves its muted purpose, but it hardly adds value to employer-employee relationships.

A more positive and productive active approach maximizes the technology as well as the content. With a fully interactive HRIS system, you can:

  • pique the employees’ interest with priority notice
  • engage the employee with color and typography
  • conduct training in current and new policies
  • recognize and record employee completion of reading and training
  • record employees’ acceptance of policy terms

This reduces HR’s preoccupation with repeated communication, updating, and confirmation. It invites and enables long-distance training, 24/7 access, and self-policing involvement on the part of employees.

Now, some HRIS programs can do more than others, but yours may have capabilities you have yet to pursue. Make sure you meet soon with your HR technology provider to discuss how your human resources information system can reduce your efforts and increase your employee handbook’s meaningful value.

Carolyn is President at and leads the industry with comprehensive comparison tools available for HR software products as well as HR outsourcing providers.