Updating Your Employee Handbook: A 2015 Perspective.

    /Ronald  /Adlerspeaker of compliance global
    Speaker: Ronald Adler
    Duration: 60 Minutes
    Product Code: 700067
    Level: Beginner
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Employee handbooks play a critical role in helping organizations manage their human capital. The employee handbook policies typically addresses key business, legal, and talent management areas. They also discuss key issues organizations want their work force to be aware of and the critical rules they want them to follow.

Unfortunately in many organizations employee handbooks are not kept up to date—they are updated only every three years or more. Additionally, because they are not up-to-date, they often fail to address key employment issues or discuss critical changes that have occurred in federal or state laws. And importantly, there is a growing mismatch between organizations drafting and issuing of handbook policies and the practices that ensure those policies are effectively implemented.  
Thus, as a nationwide survey of employers revealed that while organizations use employee handbooks to address key business, legal, and talent management challenges, they limit the effectiveness of their handbook policies by the use of ineffective handbook practices. The survey report further noted that in many organizations there is disconnect between the drafting and issuing of handbook policies and the practices that ensure those policies are effectively implemented.

why should you attend

For many organizations employee handbooks are the primary – often the only -- method used to communicate important employment related information. They represent the official method of providing critical information about how employees should act and respond to various business decisions.  They also tell employees how their organizations “will act.”

At the same time, organizations use employee handbooks to communicate the expected values employees should demonstrate; the expected conduct employee should exhibit; and what happens – such as employment at will – when employees fail to live up to the organizations expectations

Thus, to increase the effectiveness of organization’s employment policies, they will have to ensure they have identified the changing external and internal factors that affect their policies; increase internal stakeholders participation in the handbook development process to obtain greater employee commitment and operational alignment; establish new metrics to assess handbook policy and practices performance and measure the achievement of organization goals;  and implement internal controls that identify and alert management when employee handbook process failures occur.

Further, since employee handbooks are often the only information about your organization seen by third parties, they must additionally serve as a positive tool about employment with your organization. Thus while employee handbooks serve to communicate work rules; they must also provide a positive message about why individuals should work for them

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Areas Covered

The purposes of employee handbooks have changed in recent years. From a siloed HR activity that creates insular documents concerned primarily with communicating the organizations’ labor laws and benefits, employee handbooks have evolved into a critical component of organizations’ management process. They must now be designed to maximize organizations’ business objectives, enhance the value of their human capital, and minimizes legal risk adoption.

This session will discuss employment policies, whether incorporated in formal handbooks or issued as discrete statements, are prevalent documents in the workplace. 
It will note the importance of organizational size, as measured by the number of employees, as a factor in influencing the number and breadth of policy statements and practices.  The session will note that larger employers typically include more comprehensive policies and have a more structured approach in employee handbook development. 

Additionally the session will discuss that employers report numerous purposes for issuing employee handbook. Such issues as controlling and managing employment related risk liabilities to assisting in hiring and retention processes will be reviewed.

Finally, the session will review the gap between the creation of employee handbook policies and the factors used to implement, monitor, and ensure the effectiveness of those policies.  The session will also note that while many recommended and required policies are included in employee handbooks, less than half are assessed for their effectiveness and less than 60% are found to meet their original purposes and objectives.

Learning Objectives

  • Review the key findings of the recent employee handbook survey
  • Review the basics of employee handbook development
  • Discuss the expanding purposes and scope of employee handbooks
  • Learn the dimensions of critical handbook policies
  • Understand the framework of employee handbook audits activities
  • Develop employee handbook Key Performance Indicators


  • HR Professionals
  • Risk Managers
  • Internal Auditors
  • In-house Counsel
  • CFOs
  • CEOs
  • Management Consultants


Ronald Adler is the president-CEO of Laurdan Associates, Inc., a veteran owned, human resource management consulting firm specializing in HR audits, employment practices liability risk management, HR metrics and benchmarking, strategic HR-business issues and unemployment insurance issues. Mr. Adler has more than 39 years of HR consulting experience working with U.S. and international firms, small businesses and non-profits, printers, insurance companies and brokers, and employer organizations.

Mr. Adler is an adjunct professor at Villanova University’s Graduate Program in Human Resources Development and teaches courses on HR auditing and HR management. Mr. Adler is also a certified instructor for the CPCU Society and conducts courses on employment practices liabilities.

Mr. Adler is a co-developer the Employment-Labor Law Audit™ (ELLA®), the nation’s leading HR auditing and employment practices liability risk assessment tool.

Mr. Adler serves on two national taskforces developing professional standards in human capital measurement and performance management.

Mr. Adler has assisted Congress and state legislatures develop employment and UI related legislation and has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on unemployment insurance and the U.S. Senate H.E.L.P. Committee on genetic discrimination in the workplace. Mr. Adler has also served as an expert witness in discrimination and negligent hiring cases.

Mr. Adler is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors. Mr. Adler is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), serves as an subject matter expert (SME) to SHRM on HR metrics, formerly served on SHRM’s Human Capital Measurement/HR Metrics Special Expertise Panel, SHRM’s white paper review panel, SHRM’s Outsourcing/Consultants’ Special Expertise Panel, and the National Employment Committee. Mr. Adler is a consulting expert on workplace issues to SHRM’s legislative staff, has contributed materials for The SHRM Academy and the SHRM Learning System, and has represented SHRM in meetings with the EEOC.

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