An Employee Handbook The 6 “C”s

In developing an effective employee handbook, keep in mind the 6 “C”s:

  • Clarity
  • Consistency
  • Comprehensive
  • Current
  • Communicated
  • Commitment

Each of these elements is critical in the success of the handbook, as described below:

  1. Clarity. For an employee handbook to be effective, it must be understood by all employees of the company. Write in simple sentences, as though you were speaking directly to an employee, and avoid legal, financial, or technical jargon. A complicated or convoluted handbook will only confuse the employees (and the employer) and result in further misunderstandings.
  2. Consistency. The employee handbook must be consistent with actual company practices and other company policies. Furthermore, it must be applied in a consistent manner to all employees, without illegal discrimination.
  3. Comprehensive. Although the handbook may not contain every conceivable policy, it should contain most of the company's important policies at the time it is created. In addition, policies themselves should be worded carefully -- policies that are overly vague or incomplete leave too much room for misunderstanding.
  4. Current. Even though the employee handbook is current at the time it is prepared, it may soon fall out of step with prevailing labor laws and company practices. To keep the employee handbook as current as possible, review and update it at least once each year.
  5. Communicated. An employee handbook that is not distributed to the employees is of little value to anyone. To enforce the policies in its handbook, you must give the handbook to the employees. In addition, ask for a signed acknowledgment form from each employee who receives the handbook. Employers are wise to keep copies of each of the handbook revisions and obtain signed acknowledgment forms for each employee covered under each version.
  6. Commitment. Finally, be committed to enforcing the policies of the handbook. Employers who are not committed to maintaining the handbook in the proper manner should not consider adoption of written policies in the first place.