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Employment Contracts 101

Life as a boss is one of the most satisfying things you will likely encounter. It is also at the same time one of the most overwhelming. You are in control of not only the decisions that effect you, but also the ones that effect your employees. It is difficult to hold a crystal ball and determine what the best choices are and how you will be able to adjust to problems as they arise. Ideally you are two steps ahead of anything that may come up and will be able to make the necessary adjustments. Unfortunately, things come up that require flexibility and the ability to pivot your approach.

Keeping in mind that employees are people too is the most necessary thing to keep in mind. They are dealing with their own outside lives, stresses, and problems. But with that said, they are expected to perform a job and to perform it within the rules and guidelines established for them. Being the boss is a fine line between understanding the employee as an individual while also providing them the tools they need to perform their jobs to the best of their ability and to your expectations. So how do you accomplish this balance? Here are a few handy steps to make sure you are being a supportive and adequate employer and boss.

  1. Make sure you have an appropriate Employee contract in place that defines the relationship. Whether the employee is hourly or salary, benefits, how overtime is calculated and what will be provided to the employee by the employer for their use during their employment (i.e. computer, cell phone, etc.)

  2. An employee handbook that defines expectations. This is the place where you can really create the desired work environment. You can outline a variety of things within the handbook that are expectations as well as any punishment for not following these rules. Think of your handbook as an extension to your employee contract.

  3. Be aware of changes to the working environment. The obvious one that is relevant today is COVID and working from home. If you did not update your employment agreement to reflect working from hoe and COVID you may need to. You will definitely want to address who has access to information stored on work servers, computers, and cell phones. Expectations for working from home including when the employee will log on, what they will be expected to accomplish in a day and how that work will be monitored.

  4. Keep your handbook and contract up to date. Do a review every 6 months and if changes are made make sure EVERY employee signs the amended version either in the entirety or with an acknowledgement or addendum.

Keep in mind that your employee is not a mind reader and cannot know what your expectation is unless you tell them and also what the consequence to their actions may be. We are always available to take a look at your contracts and handbooks and to draft them for you if you don't already have them available to you.

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