I recently worked for a small company that had no employee handbook. At some point they realized they needed one to stem employee confusion about company policies. Instead of hiring a good writer, they put together bits and pieces from other handbooks. It read just like it was created—bits and pieces of language that did not flow together and sometimes contradicted each other. This can hinder comprehension and cause more employee confusion, rather than clearing it up or preventing it.
A company needs lots of legal and semi-legal documents on hand to run well. Many of these can be acquired off the Internet, but then need to be customized. And some need to be written from scratch—like job descriptions. (Did you know that job descriptions are required by law? The company above didn’t have any in the entire four years I worked for them.)
Here are some documents you can hire a writer to help with:
- Business and marketing plans
- Employee handbook and job descriptions
- Annual and quarterly company reports
- Contract proposals, if you offer services
- Subcontract agreements and conditions
There are many others, but this is enough to give you a good idea. Many companies have no time to prepare these documents themselves, yet they are essential to a company’s success. Without business and marketing plans, a company has no roadmap to follow. Without an employee handbook and job descriptions, employees worry that the company might be cheating them. Without annual (and sometimes quarterly) reports, the company doesn’t know whether or not it’s meeting its goals. Contract proposals are essential for a service company to acquire a contract from a government agency. And without subcontract agreements a company can’t hire additional ad hoc staff when they need it (including writers).
According to the SBA, here is what a good employee handbook should include:
- A non-disclosure agreement
- The company’s anti-discrimination policies
- Types of compensation a company provides in exchange for work
- Policies regarding work schedules and overtime
- Standards of conduct expected and consequences, if not followed
- Onsite safety practices and recompense
- Computer and software use
- How to handle calls from the media
- Employee benefits and leave policies
Each of these sections can be customized to suit your company’s services and business practices. To some companies, the non-disclosure agreement will be crucial and should go near the front. It may be very specific, defining one level of secrecy for certain business functions and another for others. For other companies it’s almost inconsequential and can be placed near the back. Putting together a handbook that flows, fits the company, and is consistent from beginning to end is a big job, but is also the type of job that can be readily hired out to the right type of writer.
Susette H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.