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  #1  
Unread 01-19-2005, 04:52 AM
marc
 
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Default Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

Sorry for the length.

We are having a discussion in our shop about the differences between policies and procedures and the employee handbook. We are basically divided into two camps. One of the camps contends that the handbook should be a summary of the relationship between the company and the staff. It should not be the formal, complete policies of the company, but should summarize same in an easy to read format. Each major section of the handbook should be represented by a more formal policy and procedure kept elsewhere in the company. Any of the summaries in the handbook are superceded by the more formal policies and procedures.

The other camp contends that since the handbook is the document that requires EE sign-off, and is the one that they reference for answers to all sorts of questions, that it should include the formal policies and procedures of the company. To complicate things a bit, much of our handbook discusses items that have not been formalized elsewhere as a policy and procedure.

What do you think and how does your company approach this?

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  #2  
Unread 01-19-2005, 06:28 AM
HRinFL
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

We have both a handbook and a more formal/step-by-step guide for management. However, the handbook the ee receives contains the company's policies and procedures in it. In my experience, it has been very helpful to show that the ee received the handbook and signed-off that s/he received it. Hard to argue you are not aware of something when the company gave it to you in writing. It also shows that the company distributed the policy to all ees - again something that later could be to your benefit.

Our handbook is divided into sections: what you can expect from the company. This includes all the basic information about benefits, compensation, as well as our harassment policy, the company's position on discrimination, violence in the workplace policy, etc. It also identifies the appropriate person(s) to contact with concerns. We then have a section called what the company expects from you. This contains our code of conduct, our progressive discipline policy, attendance/punctuality, etc. While we do not go into detail about the maintenance of the policy, the policy itself is stated.

Our management guide addresses how to handle situations that arise during the scope of business. How to address discipline, determine compensation, recruiting, benefits, progressive discipline, conducting investigations, etc. This is more of a step-by-step guide for them to make sure everyone follows the same steps for all of our established policies and procedures. Having both has been very beneficial for us. EEs are aware of what requirements are in place and how to make concerns known, management has a guideline to address these situations when they arise.
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  #3  
Unread 01-19-2005, 07:16 AM
POPEYE
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

Almost ditto, ditto, ditto to HRinFL. It would seem almost impossible to have an EE handbook without policies and procedures and here's what we offer you and here's what we expect from you.
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  #4  
Unread 01-19-2005, 07:29 AM
s moll
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

I'm with the first group. First I agree that there should be certain policies in the handbook and those should be covered during a new employee orientation. Examples would be Sexual Harassment, Drug Testing, and Workplace Accidents. The employee handbook contains general information on other issues. It also contains Work Rules, general information on benefits, and help information. It would be impossible to include the same policies and procedures that are given to management. There are certain criteria for management to follow that are contained in a policy/procedure (SOP's, if you will) manual. Furthermore, the employee would not read it and would not understand it.

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  #5  
Unread 01-19-2005, 07:35 AM
dchr9203
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

Employee Handbook and P&P are separate. Handbook is a summary of P&P. Our Handbook specifically states this and points back to the P&P, as well as informs employeees of the availability of the P&P.

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  #6  
Unread 01-19-2005, 08:54 AM
Don D
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 01-19-05 AT 07:25PM (CST)[/font][br][br]I don't think it matters whether what you give employees encompasses every minute detail of procedures. Some policies are required by law to be procedurally posted in writing; FMLA for example. Some are incorporated by reference, for example our policy is to abide by Title VII and the ADA and we surely would not publish all that verbage for employees. Some are detailed, such as attendance policies and rules of conduct.

But basically, a policy is a statement of what WILL BE DONE or what IS EXPECTED, as opposed to a guideline, which is vague verbage as to what you might do or will try to do or could do. And a procedure is an implementing instruction for a policy. I don't know of a procedure that does not implement a policy (challenge me with one) and employees need not necessarily know the minutia of all implementing instructions and procedures.

For example: Our policy is to comply with government and state regulations in the timely and accurate processing and maintenance of certain things. It would take a manual a foot wide to explain those procedures to an employee.

Also, handbooks are razor sharp, double edged swords. Policy and Procedure manuals, in my estimation, are for Department Heads, Supervisors and other servants of the Queen and Her Men/Women. And they should be advertised as available for inspection by the plebes.

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  #7  
Unread 01-20-2005, 04:42 AM
Ethel
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

Amen Don!!! We have a handbook and then we have a separate policies and procedures book for mgt. Perhaps we are getting bad legal advice, but we are encouraged to not attempt to make the employee handbook the "Be All and End All" for our employees.
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  #8  
Unread 01-21-2005, 06:00 AM
pork1
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

MARC: I have been in both systems. Currently, my company only has the employee handbook which is a detail of all necessary procedures within which an employee will need to know in order to live within our "world of work". We have the emplyee receive and sign for and acknowledge; it is the employee's responsibility to read and understand all aspects of life within the company, and that they will take the time necessary to ask questions and become operationally responsible for the implementation of their life within our world, as specified by the Employee Handbook.

In different legal proceedings within the HR "world of work" the articles of the Handbook and the acknowleging page for receipt and understanding of the handbook have stood the test of time and review with the legal aspects of the words written.

Our "Employee Handbook" is our Policy and Procedures manual. I contend that we do not need both! Some "legal beavers" contend an employer should have "none", other than those required by federal or statue statue and thus posted on the wall for all to read and understand.

Sorry Don, I wanted to concurr, but I felt Marc was looking for support against having both and I do not believe it is required, but I do believe an employer should have one or the other. The Employee Handbook route makes it easy to read and understand by the employee.

PORK
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  #9  
Unread 01-21-2005, 08:41 AM
Don D
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

Old Adage that I just made up: The wider the handbook, the shorter the rope. If your handbook has every minute detail of every procedure and ultimately straps the employer and paints him into a corner, he is going to have a very, very short rope around his neck. Less detailed, more generalized handbooks (except for rules) gives the employer greater flexibility, more wiggle room, more leverage and greater opportunities to operate the business by business sense, not a conglomeration of typed pages.
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  #10  
Unread 01-24-2005, 04:09 AM
marc
 
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Default RE: Handbook vs Polcies and Procedures?

Thanks for all the responses. I do lean more toward a single document, but wanted to see other viewpoints.

Our Exec Dir leans toward policies and procedures for the detail and the handbook for the employee freindly read of the policies. The issues do get cloudy when you throw in the need for the required postings for items like FMLA, and the other end of the spectrum represented by the types of references Don suggested (ADA, etc), and finally, the notion that an employee must sign off on the receipt of the handbook. This is further confused by separate sign-offs on illegal harassment, the company technology policy and the like.

I am wanting to plot a theoretically consistent course through the issues, and whichever method(s) we end up choosing, I want them to be "intuitively obvious to the casual observer."

Is that too lofty a goal?
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