As an HR professional or executive at a New York company, you may have put a lot of work into creating your employee handbook. It likely communicates important policies, discloses legal information, encourages a fair and professional workplace and more.

However, whether due to a misunderstanding, a lack of time or more, companies may fail to regularly update these handbooks. This can lead to the spread of outdated or old information. Additionally, a handbook with vague or inconsistent policies can leave you vulnerable to legal action. Read on for several reasons to update your handbook on an annual basis or more:

Outline updated federal, state and local laws

Employment law is a constantly changing area. SHRM advises employers to update their handbooks at least annually to reflect changes in local, state and federal laws. For example, 2019 updates relevant to employers across the state include changes to policies like workplace sexual harassment, paid family leave, minimum wage and more. New York City employers must account for lactation accommodations, new anti-sexual harassment training procedures and more.

Communicate updates and key company policies

Every company goes through changes from year to year. Consider including relevant updates in your handbook, such as:

  • Moving to a new location or adding additional locations
  • Experiencing significant personnel changes in the leadership team, HR and more
  • Adding or removing key products or services
  • Communicating basic office etiquette strategies
  • Addressing updates to employer policies like PTO, benefits, attendance and more
  • Detailing policies for accessing personal social media during work hours

By including these updates and more, you can avoid confusion and maintain clear policies on topics where employees may have frequent questions.

Plan for distributing your updated handbook

After updating your handbook, make a plan to ensure each employee learns of and understands the latest information. Communicate the changes through email, a company meeting, traditional mailing or more. Explain the changes and address when employees must submit a signature stating they understand the updated information.

An up-to-date employee handbook can benefit everyone at your organization. Consider establishing a regular time each year to review and make changes, such as at the end of the year, the start of a new year or as often as you feel is necessary.