Start the New Year off right-review your employee handbook

It’s time to make your New Year resolution…but don’t groan just yet! This resolution doesn’t include a treadmill or counting calories. So, pull out your employee handbook, follow our tips below and you’ll be set for 2012.

Update your handbook policies: Oftentimes, a lot can change in a year. Go through your handbook page by page and make any corrections as needed. In addition, ask yourself if there are any issues you’ve had to deal with in the past year that would be better resolved with a set policy. If so, draft a policy, review it with your team, and insert it into next year’s employee handbook.

Develop social media policies: From Facebook to Twitter to YouTube to Google+, social media is one of the fastest growing uses of the Internet. As an employer, consider establishing a policy regarding employee social media usage. Above all, be clear and transparent with your policy so that employees know the dos and don’ts of their social networking. Here are a few points to consider when developing a policy:

  • Employers reserve the right to monitor an employee’s social media usage at work and/or at home. Employees represent their company, whether at work or at home (but be careful here…) Therefore, they do not have an explicit right to privacy on their social networks.
  • Employees are your brand ambassadors. Word of mouth (even if it’s via Facebook or Twitter) is still one of the most powerful marketing tools. Social networks enable brands to reach current and potential customers across the world. Allowing employees the freedom to be ambassadors for your brand can actually strengthen your company – just ask Dell.
  • Social media policies should encompass all departments. One of the biggest misconceptions is that social media policies should only address the marketing, public relations, or customer service departments where corporate social media resides. Remember, anyone who works for your company represents you whether they’re in sales or IT, so have a policy that applies to everyone.
  • Social media is a protected concerted activity under the NLRA. Under Section 7, employees are protected for the “mutual aid or protection” of other employees, including group discussions about job performance, staffing, workload, and negative comments about co-workers or supervisors. The fact that these group discussions take place on social media (i.e., a “like” or “comment” on one co-worker’s Facebook wall to another) is irrelevant. To ensure compliance with the NLRA’s Section 7, suggests that you should:
  • Don’t be afraid of social media. Yes, it’s seemingly everywhere and can look chaotic and uncontrollable to someone not familiar with the platforms. Instead of looking only at the negative aspects of online employee communication, consider how social media could be used by employees to actually improve your business or organization. Know what works for your company and be up front about your policy.



    • Beware of prohibiting discussions of wages and working conditions, even outside the workplace.
    • Beware of prohibiting social media access during nonworking time.
    • Consider a disclaimer regarding Section 7 rights.

Comply with new National Labor Relations Board policies: Effective January 31, 2012, all employers must post a new notice regarding employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

  • It is no longer possible to have a combined Federal and State law poster due to the size of the poster. Therefore, you may either:

    • Download all of the required postings from each government agency OR…
    • Purchase a combined poster from a reliable source to ensure that you have all of the posters necessary to comply with the law
    • To purchase an all-in-one poster, consider utilizing one of these two sources: All in One Posters Federal with NRLA or All in One Posters, PA State. (Please note: we are not affiliated with this company but have found their materials reliable and affordable.)


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