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11 Jun

Employee Manuals: Why They are Important and How to Create One

  • By Cannabis Industry Institute
  • Employee Manuals, Management
  • 586

Any company that employs more than two or three people needs to have an accurate and thorough employee manual. This important document provides information about job expectations and workers’ rights, and can offer legal protection to both the employer and the employee.

These benefits are especially important to the cannabis industry, where setting clear rules and boundaries can be the difference between a successful business and a flop. In this post, we’ll take a look at how creating an effective employee manual will help your business, as well as some basic tips on how to start writing your own employee manual.

How Employee Manuals Benefit Employers

From an employer’s point of view, the chief advantage of an employee handbook is legal protection. Issues that could potentially end in a lawsuit should be mentioned clearly and directly in the manual. Things to consider include:

  • Disciplinary actions
  • Termination process
  • Payment details
  • Overtime policies
  • Paid-time-off.

By providing this information upfront, you’re greatly strengthening your legal position. Hopefully all matters can be resolved outside of legal proceedings, but you should always be proactive with legal protections.

Businesses in the cannabis industry should always determine policies related to tobacco, alcohol and drug use. The industry can attract a number of employees who smoke marijuana or tobacco, drink alcohol, and take other, harder drugs. In this industry, it’s inevitable that at least one employee comes to work high and causes a problem. Make sure you’re completely covered legally before pursuing termination or other disciplinary actions. A clear and thorough drug, tobacco, and alcohol policy is the easiest way to give yourself legal backing.

How Employee Manuals Benefit Employees

From an employee’s perspective, the most valuable component of an employee manual is the information it provides. A typical employee handbook includes details about the company’s history, philosophy, and direction. It should also discuss the more practical, day-to-day aspects of the job, such as attendance policy, proper employee interactions, business hours, and break times. Containing all of this information in your employee manual makes it easy for new employees to assimilate into the company and hit the ground the running. It will act as a useful reference material for current employees, should they have questions about their job or responsibility.

Creating an Employee Manual

Though it can seem like a daunting task, writing an employee manual shouldn’t be too difficult. First, you’ll want to make a list of everything you need to include in the manual. This list should be as thorough as possible, covering everything that might cause you legal or business troubles, as well anything related to an employee’s day-to-day tasks, rights as worker, role in the company, and the company’s history.

Next, write a draft for each section, focusing mainly on providing complete and accurate information. Once this is complete, you’ll want to consult with an attorney to make sure you’ve covered all the important legal elements correctly.

Once you’ve confirmed all the necessary information is correct, the manual needs to be edited for grammar and spelling, formatted, and designed. You can do this yourself, or hand off the task to a trusted employee or freelance writer. When the employee manual is complete, distribute copies to all of your employees. Keep additional copies on hand for new hires. At least once a year, review and update your manual to reflect legal changes and in-house policies.

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