If there’s ever a time to rethink your handbook, it’s now, in keeping with Numerous & Engaged CEO Dee C. Marshall. The timeliness has much less to do with the fast-approaching new 12 months — the plain time to roll out a substitute handbook — and extra to do with the wave of change that lately swept the office.
“The pandemic sparked an awakening amongst folks,” Marshall informed HR Dive in an interview. “They re-evaluated office norms and determined many not work for them.”
Employees’ new expectations might conflict with employers’ outdated insurance policies, Marshall warned. Insurance policies that ban flexibilities normalized by the pandemic might really feel frustratingly old-fashioned. And but, many organizations punt on handbook refreshes. “I believe numerous corporations don’t replace their worker handbooks as typically as they need to,” she mentioned.
For employers that ignore antiquated insurance policies, their threat is two-fold, in keeping with Marshall. First, they threat shedding candidates and workers. Second, they threat lacking out on innovation. Such employers additionally threat lawsuits attributable to noncompliance, she mentioned.
As employers think about their present insurance policies, they could determine to create a set of standards to evaluate their handbooks towards their values. “This is a chance to hone in just a little deeper,” Marshall mentioned. “This can be a likelihood to create a framework to guage these insurance policies.”
HR Dive spoke with Marshall and two different sources who recognized 5 areas employers ought to think about revisiting when crafting their 2023 handbooks.
Even earlier than staff have been carrying sweats to Zoom conferences, organizations have been starting to calm down their gown codes. Now that the pandemic has normalized cozy work wardrobes, employers should guarantee written insurance policies relating to look take the brand new actuality into consideration, Marshall mentioned.
Employers must also rethink insurance policies relating to “skilled hair,” in keeping with each Marshall and Fisher Phillips Companion Tyler T. Rasmussen. “We’ve seen a doubling down for protections for hairstyles, in addition to non secular garb,” Rasmussen mentioned.
The CROWN Act, for instance, bans race-based hair discrimination within the office. The CROWN Act or related laws has been enacted in 19 states, and a invoice proposing its adoption on the federal stage now sits with the Senate.
#2: Work preparations
With the shift to hybrid work, organizations should set clear expectations round communication, and efficiency, in keeping with CompuCom CHRO Karen Rice. “Managers and associates each play a big function in making [hybrid work] profitable inside their groups, and HR groups have a possibility to supply instruments and tips to make it even simpler,” Rice mentioned.
Organizations might really feel significantly motivated to sort out this subject of their handbooks, as staff demand flexibility. “Even with a recession, the good resignation remains to be right here,” Marshall famous. “Corporations don’t wish to be rigid.”
Insurance policies outlining expertise guidelines ought to accompany a handbook’s part on distant and hybrid work. Multi-factor authentication made it far more doable for workers to make use of their very own gadgets, Rice mentioned. “However the place does your organization stand on permitting workers to buy and use their very own expertise?” she requested.
Organizations that enable workers to make use of their very own tech might want to determine, for example, whether or not the corporate will reimburse staff for his or her work-related tech bills. The handbook may also want to incorporate insurance policies that guarantee security and safety.
#4: Sick depart
Earlier than the pandemic, many states and localities lacked sick depart legal guidelines. However that’s altering; “As employers replace their handbooks, they should contact base with their native attorneys to make sure their insurance policies are compliant,” he mentioned. “They should guarantee they’re up to the mark on and conscious of what workers are entitled to beneath these native legal guidelines.”
#5: Marijuana use and testing
Marijuana should be unlawful underneath federal legislation, however President Joe Biden has introduced his administration will overview marijuana’s scheduling. In the meantime, extra states are including protections for staff. In California, for example, employers can’t discriminate towards staff for authorized marijuana use exterior work.
“Employers must get out in entrance of this development and decide as to how they wish to deal with those that take a look at constructive and the way they wish to use testing so that they deal with everybody pretty,” Rasmussen mentioned. This preparation will embody a take a look at job descriptions — “there’ll at all times be jobs the place you might be extra strict for security causes,” he famous.
Rolling out adjustments with clear communication
Regardless of the adjustments HR decides to make in its 2023 handbook, it must make a plan for speaking these updates to workers. This course of ideally begins earlier than the adjustments are made, Rice mentioned.
“Step one in speaking is to hearken to workers,” she mentioned. “HR listening to, acknowledging and empathizing with worker’s frustrations goes a good distance towards establishing open communications to be able to enhance the expertise, enhance productiveness and foster an interesting tradition.”
As soon as the handbook is printed, workers want time to overview and acknowledge the brand new materials, Rasmussen mentioned. He usually recommends giving staff a small window of time to finish this job: lengthy sufficient to learn via the handbook, however transient sufficient that the duty stays entrance of thoughts.
Lastly, HR — alongside managers — ought to guarantee they’re able to reply questions on any adjustments made. “Arrange a process in order that workers have the flexibility to get time with somebody who’s educated on the handbook and might actually reply these questions,” Rasmussen mentioned. “Make sure the folks you direct them to are educated relating to the adjustments and the way they’re carried out.”