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Top No-Code Tools to Automate Your Approval Process – ReadWrite

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7 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Own Business - ReadWrite


If your business hasn’t automated its approval process, you’re probably losing valuable staff time to repetitive tasks. Approving timesheets, time-off requests, purchase orders, work orders, and more involves processes with many steps. In fact, just the act of sending emails to verify approvals can eat into your staff’s time.

Creating apps that automate your approval process no longer requires a web developer, thanks to the array of no-code tools available. These tools feature easy editors with drag-and-drop functionality that allow anyone to create an app and a workflow that automates the approval process. 

Available at various price points, any one of these apps could streamline approvals and pay off in many other ways for your business.

The Best No-Code Tools that Automate Your Approval Process

No-code tools that can automate your approval process run the gamut from user-friendly options for small businesses to more comprehensive platforms suitable for large enterprises. Whether you’re looking to create one app or want to design dozens that can handle every facet of your business, these no-code tools can help.

JotForm Approvals

JotForm Approvals streamlines the approval process without the need to do any coding. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to set up a workflow that includes approvers, conditional branches, and automated emails.

With the JotForm Form Builder, you can easily build an online form to quickly collect submissions. Those submissions might be timesheets, work order requests, inventory purchase requests, or any other type of request that requires approval.

Once someone completes the approval form, the submission triggers the approval workflow you created. JotForm Approvals makes it easy to track and manage the process, and the automated tasks prevent staff from spending time sorting requests, following up on missing information, and so on.

You can set up your approval process to send automated emails to approvers when they receive a new task. And as tasks are approved, form respondents will receive an automated email notification. 

Approvers don’t have to manually draft and send emails, so they can stay focused on the work of approving requests, rather than all of the repetitive work that goes along with approval.

All approval requests are saved in a central location, further saving approvers time. Information gathered through forms populates a database in JotForm Tables that supervisors and approvers can access for a broad-picture view. 

The database makes monitoring the entire process simple, and supervisors can potentially spot problems and holdups early on in the process.

The JotForm Mobile Forms app, which is available for free on iOS or Android, enables approvers to manage both forms and approval flow from their phones.

JotForm Approvals is free.

Checkbox

Checkbox features a convenient drag-and-drop design that makes for easy and fast workflow automation. This app enables you to create parallel workflows, including reminders, scheduled tasks, and approvals, to keep your business running smoothly and efficiently.

Checkbox’s predetermined logic options make for streamlined processes that are accurate and appropriate. Including calculations, digital spreadsheets, if-then logic, and decision-tree logic in your workflows help to avoid holdups and reduces the demand for staff to make decisions and sort requests manually.

This no-code platform is comprehensive. Not only does it handle workflow creation and approvals, but Checkbox also features a calculation engine capable of creating complex rules and logic. 

The dashboard and analytics help you identify what’s working and how to improve your business, while integrations with other tools make Checkbox a seamless addition to your existing business technology and systems.

The template gallery is loaded with templates to save you time and make the automation process faster. You can easily customize templates for common approval situations, like performance reviews, document execution approvals, and expense approvals.  

Checkbox offers a 14-day free trial, so you can experience it for yourself at no risk.

Decisions

Decisions is designed for fast implementation, so you can automate all of your business systems. Its rules-driven automation can pivot with the changing business environment, so you can establish systems that will adapt to shifting regulations, demands, and more.

This no-code platform includes powerful and comprehensive features, so you can rely on it for all of your automation needs. There’s no need to worry about integrating other tools or dealing with compatibility issues.

The Decisions visual designer is user-friendly, relying on graphics so that anyone — with or without coding or IT background — can automate processes. The Workflow Engine boasts more than 3,000 pre-built steps, making it easy to create workflows and processes that automate everything from work orders to vacation requests.

The drag-and-drop interface makes building custom reports simple, so you can access the specific information you need for a project, investor, or meeting. With such easy access to trends and business metrics, this platform can help you address processes that aren’t working and improve those that are.

Decisions goes beyond your typical automation platform with detailed reporting and built-in testing and debugging capabilities. Whether you’re just getting started with automation or are working with complex configurations, these testing options can help to head off trouble before you put a process into place. 

You can even create permanent rule and workflow unit tests that automatically run with any rule changes. This ensures that your processes perform the way you want them to and allows you to spot errors early on before they become costly mistakes.

With its extensive functionality, Decisions stands to save businesses significant time. It’s well-suited for large-scale enterprises looking to automate their approval processes and systems across their operations. 

Pricing starts at $4,839 per month for a single server with unlimited users. Enterprise pricing details are available upon request.

Rindle

Rindle, a no-code automation platform, allows you to build processes that enhance your business and your team. Trusted by top brands like the YMCA and AudienceView, Rindle features an easy-to-use dashboard and versatile capabilities.

With Rindle, you can create rules that will guide each step of your workflow, including your approval processes. The rules are customizable, so you can implement the steps and requirements that make sense for your business.

You don’t have to be a coding expert to work with Rindle. It comes equipped with more than 20 no-code triggers, the ability to use “and” and “or” logic for conditions, and more than 30 no-code actions. This simplifies the process of building your workflow and rules.

The Rindle dashboard resembles a card system like Asana or Trello but with more sophisticated capabilities. While you can still assign tasks and deadlines, the automation you set up can also create subtasks and take over some of the work.

You can use Rindle to create rule-driven workflows for your approval process. Whether you’re sorting emails based on the responses provided or need to ensure that requests requiring multiple approvals get in front of the right people, this platform can simplify the process and make for faster, more accurate results.

The Rindle Professional plan costs $9 per user, per month, while the Business plan costs $20 per user, per month. All plans include a 14-day trial.

Quickbase

Quickbase allows you to automate business processes without requiring any coding. The drag-and-drop visual builder is very user-friendly, and it helps you visualize how an app will function.

With Quickbase, you can upload data from a spreadsheet or by copying and pasting, to create a database. You can then build an app with that data.

When it comes to automating your approval process, Quickbase’s task management is highly customizable. Automated notifications, reports, and approvals can improve efficiency and keep your business operating smoothly, while reducing the time staff spend on standard tasks. 

Quickbase offers a library of templates that can help you set up automated processes, so you don’t have to create a custom app.

The platform also integrates with various popular services, including Box, Gmail, Google Drive, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more.

Quickbase offers a 30-day free trial, and there’s no credit card required to sign up for the trial. Pricing is customized; contact the company for more info.

Flowfinity

With the Flowfinity platform, you can create custom apps for enterprise-grade solutions. Top businesses, including Ford, Campbell’s, Pepperidge Farm, and more, trust  Flowfinity.

The visual interface is simple, so it’s not overwhelming, but it’s also highly versatile. You can publish apps instantly, and they’ll be automatically installed to save you time. Dashboards allow for data visualizations so you can monitor your business and app performance.

Flowfinity’s point-and-click editor simplifies the process of building an app. The apps are automatically published for users, who might be in the field or in the office. 

The apps centralize your data, no matter where your users are located, and integrate it with your backend systems. From there, you can create reports, custom PDFs, export the data as a CSV file, or visualize and analyze it right in your dashboard.

Creating an app with Flowfinity helps to facilitate information flow while eliminating manual processes. You can use these apps to automate your business processes, including streamlining the approval process. The result is enhanced productivity and accuracy, as well as time-saving benefits for your staff and business as a whole.

In addition to automating approval processes, you could potentially use these apps to automate many other processes. Features like skip logic, barcode scanning, personalized emails, and the ability to create custom workflows mean there are potentially endless ways to apply these apps in your day-to-day operations.

Flowfinity offers a 14-day free trial and doesn’t require any credit card information to sign up for the trial. Pricing details aren’t available online.

Kintone

The Kintone platform simplifies the process of building the custom apps your business needs. This no-code platform doesn’t require any IT or third-party developer assistance, saving you time and money.

Kintone offers a library of more than 1,000 new apps that can serve as a starting point. The apps are all free and customizable, so you don’t have to build an app from scratch. 

You can create apps to automate your business approval processes, make for easier inventory management and ordering, facilitate time-off request approvals, and so much more.

As you build, you can also explore the wide selection of available extensions, including very popular programs like Dropbox, Evernote, Eventbrite, Gmail, HubSpot, and more. These extensions can increase your app’s functionality, ensuring it works with the other programs you’re already using for seamless integration with your business.

While Kintone makes the process of building apps easier, it also serves as a central dashboard so you can conveniently access all of your data.

Its in-database collaboration option allows you to easily search, read, and join conversations, which helps keep all of your team members on track and up to date. Teams can communicate through threads, in-record comments, user profile walls, and private messages, ensuring those conversations are stored and available when needed.

Accessible on an internet browser, Kintone is also available as an iOS and Android mobile app, so you can always stay connected.

A professional Kintone subscription starts at $24 per month, per user, with a minimum of five users. Discounted nonprofit and education and government subscriptions are also available.

Kintone offers a free trial that doesn’t require a credit card for signup.

Open as App

With Open as App, you can use your existing data to create an app. This platform pulls data from Excel, Google Sheets, or a database, all without any coding needed.

Once you’ve created your apps, it’s easy to manage them through the centralized dashboard. The dashboard gives you control over rights, security, and access settings. Your app will be visible only to you, and you can decide when and if you’re ready to share it with others.

With Open as App, you can automate your business processes, including approvals. It’s possible to automate time tracking sheets, quote follow-ups, approval notifications, sales system updates, and more. The apps themselves, can include automation like push notifications and automated emails, making them extraordinarily efficient.

Open as App helps you design four different types of apps:

  • List apps convert your data into apps that are easy to access both online and offline. Users can update reports and databases, filter data according to specific criteria, and update the data.
  • Dashboard apps make it easy to access your Excel or Google Sheets dashboards right from your phone. Charts update automatically, and you can customize colors and chart types.
  • Calculation apps make it simple and intuitive to use complicated spreadsheets. Formulas from your spreadsheets are automatically added to an app, so other team members can use the formulas and logic.
  • Survey apps make gathering survey information easier and more efficient. With this app, users can quickly fill out survey information on their phones, increasing the response rates.

While you can build a custom app from scratch, Open as App also offers a wide assortment of apps online. They can serve as an inspiration and are available publicly, so you can see what’s possible with Open as App and what type of app might work best for your business.

Open as App offers a free plan that allows you to create one app and share it with one user. The Business plan, which allows you to create 10 apps and share them with five users, costs $106 per month. A custom Enterprise plan is also available.

Choosing the Right No-Code Tools for Your Business

With so many no-code tools available, whether you’re running a small startup or a larger enterprise, you can find a tool that has the functionality and capacity you need. 

Choosing the right tool for your business.

When choosing the best app, you’ll start by outlining the processes that you want to automate and the other potential uses for apps within your business. Many of these tools can help you create apps for all sorts of purposes, so write up a list of potential apps and look for a tool that can help you create those apps.

Many of these tools feature pricing that depends on the number of seats or the number of users.

It’s helpful to review the roles that each employee in your company will play, whether that’s developing an app or using an app. Having this information can help you assess both pricing and value as you consider these different tools.

Automation gives you accuracy, productivity and costs savings.

Keep in mind, too, that automating the approval process (and other business processes) pays off in enhanced accuracy, productivity, and cost savings. While you might invest in a no-code tool to develop the apps you need, remember that it’s really an investment in your business’s success and efficiency. 

Image Credit: cottonbro; pexels; thank you!

John Boitnott

CEO, Boitnott Consulting LLC

A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked at TV, print, radio and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s an advisor at StartupGrind and has written for BusinessInsider, Fortune, NBC, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and Venturebeat. You can see his latest work on his blog,
jboitnott.com

Politics

Token Offerings from Employers Won’t Fix the Labor Shortage – ReadWrite

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A Labor Shortage Could Be Our Economy's Biggest Downfall - ReadWrite


Workers today are displaying discontent with their jobs at unprecedented levels. In late July, for example, protesters in St. Louis congregated in an otherwise bustling drive-thru of a local McDonald’s. They were there to demand the corporation pay them at least $15 per hour — about $5 more than the current minimum wage in Missouri.

Worker discontent isn’t a problem unique to my home state, though. From Charlotte, North Carolina, to Detroit and Houston, workers are going on strike for better pay, benefits, and working conditions. And who can blame them?

As many of us transitioned to remote work during COVID-19, employees in low-wage, low-opportunity jobs like fast-food workers had to hunker down.

This often meant pulling longer hours under dangerous conditions with little to no hazard pay or sick leave.

The Hiring Problem

Walkouts aren’t the only issue employers are battling, though. As fast-food chains expand locations to match consumer spending, hiring can’t keep pace. “Help wanted” signs abound, but the restaurant industry was still 1.2 million employees short in March.

The internet has no shortage of pro-business pundits blaming the labor shortage on unemployment benefits. Stimulus payments, they’d like you to believe, have incentivized people to stay home and collect from the government.

Beyond further stigmatizing minimum-wage workers, this line of thinking is just plain wrong.

Missouri, for instance, was one of the first states to end federal aid, yet our labor market remains sluggish at best. And even though a quarter of Americans earned more money from unemployment than they would’ve by working — one-third still struggled to cover basic expenses like food, housing, and medical services.

When people can’t pay basic living expenses — it says a lot more about American employers than employees.

Done With Dead-End Jobs

The workforce needs a reboot, and it will take a serious culture shift among employers. Instead, many have turned to token offerings like signing bonuses and free iPhones in attempts to lure workers back. But these kinds of solutions simply won’t work because the problem extends far beyond incentivizing employees.

During the pandemic, many people realized that doing the same low-wage, low-skill job every day was no longer going to cut it.

The dead-end job has to die for people to reenter the job market.

We need to first examine the current skill sets of American workers and then determine how to equip them with more in-demand skills — something workers desperately want. A BCG study found that 68% of workers would retrain for a new role, but that willingness was closer to 70% for occupations hit hardest by the pandemic. Most people, however, can’t afford to get a second college degree or pay thousands for a training program. This is where employers can step in.

Upskilling in Practice

Last year, for instance, Amazon announced it would invest $700 million to upskill 100,000 employees (about one-third of its workforce). Similarly, Comcast created a program to upskill its customer support staff into software developers to fill open roles.

Programs like these are built to provide upward mobility, helping adults move from lower – to middle – to higher-skill work. When that blueprint is replicated throughout the market, it creates a more fluid and vibrant workforce. Offering a one-time material perk like a free phone won’t make a company a better place to work — and it certainly won’t create a self-sustaining talent pipeline.

Time to Prioritize Upward Mobility

There’s no returning to a pre-pandemic U.S. workforce. While it was once possible to make a living working in a fast-food restaurant, that hasn’t been the case for some time now. In St. Louis, for example, an MIT analysis shows the living wage for a single, child-free adult is $14.23 an hour. That number doubles with even one child in the household.

Upward mobility has stalled, and it simply doesn’t exist in most cases.

It’s no wonder the resignation rate was 2.4% in March. The writing was on the wall before COVID, though: A January 2020 report found that a lack of career progression was the top reason people were quitting their jobs — followed by low pay.

It’s Up to Employers

The gap we see between unemployed Americans and the rising number of open jobs tells us that employers aren’t offering workers what they require.

We need to build a workforce that opens up new opportunities for those just entering the market and regularly moves people into higher-skilled jobs — a career escalator if you will.

Employers who consistently and strategically move employees along a learning path, generating long-term success for them will reap great benefits for themselves as well.

Image Credit: tim mossholder; unsplash; thank you!

Jeff Mazur

Executive Director for LaunchCode

Jeff Mazur is the executive director for LaunchCode, a nonprofit aiming to fill the gap in tech talent by matching companies with trained individuals.

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How Wholesale in Different Industries is Making a Difference – ReadWrite

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Deanna Ritchie


Wholesale businesses have a lot going for them. They help keep the wheels of commerce greased and keep the supply chain functioning, barring global catastrophe. No matter the industry, wholesalers can help most companies save money and grow their businesses.

What is Wholesale?

Before we dive too deep into the topic at hand, let’s establish a definition of what we mean by the term “wholesale.” Generally speaking, wholesale refers to a type of business that sells goods in bulk to other businesses. As opposed to a retail business, wholesale businesses sell to other business entities, not directly to consumers.

Wholesalers often establish long-term, reputable relationships with particular retailers.

Thanks to these relationships, the wholesale market is booming. In June 2021 alone, total U.S. sales for the wholesale market topped $588 billion. After a sharp dip in earnings at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, wholesale businesses’ monthly sales have since been on a steady upward trajectory.

Wholesalers offer their customers greater ease of operations, diverse offerings, and — in most circumstances — access to products from across the globe.

As these increased sales demonstrate, more and more companies are choosing to conduct business with wholesalers. From apparel and lifestyle to food to medical and pharmaceutical supplies, wholesale businesses run the gamut.

However, in each of these industries, wholesalers are making a difference and bringing about real change in the world. Consider the three points listed below as a great starting point for learning why this is true.

1. Apparel Wholesale Platforms Are Helping Emerging Brands

The arrival of the coronavirus put a lot of pressure on local businesses. Visting tourists, shoppers, and regular customers stayed home either by mandate or by choice. Everything from coffee houses to flower shops to corner stores to independent bookstores took a hit during the onset of the pandemic.

Caught between local health restrictions and a temporarily foundering global supply chain, many small businesses brands were devastated in 2020.

Today, however, wholesale women’s apparel marketplaces are helping emerging brands make a comeback. Bridging the gap between local shops and independent brands worldwide, these marketplaces provide a way to bring emerging brands to retail shops everywhere.

These wholesale marketplaces also help provide retailers access to artisanal brands. This enables these brands’ unique products to get into shops they maybe wouldn’t have been able to before.

In many ways, apparel and lifestyle wholesale platforms establish a clear, direct path for entrepreneurial brands to make their way onto the shelves of independent, local stores. Newer brands have a chance to establish themselves despite the setbacks of the past 18 months.

These Wholesale Marketplaces are a Win-Win for Businesses — Especially Local

Considered more widely, these marketplaces provide a win-win situation all around. Apparel wholesale platforms give independent brands the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of retailers in a cost-effective way. And local boutiques — who often have to compete with chain stores such as Target and H&M — also get access to more unique, high-quality styles.

2. Food Wholesalers Are Helping Allergy-Friendly Businesses Thrive

Starting a new food company is no mean feat. Despite the considerable challenges of market penetration, more than 15,000 new food products are introduced each year. The failure rate of these new businesses is high, so any support these businesses can get from wholesale businesses is crucial to their success.

Niche Food Markets — Building Business and Meeting Consumer Demand

Many of these newer food businesses are homing in on niche or specific diet types as food allergy rates continue to climb. An increasing number of adults and children are dealing with allergies, mostly from offenders such as gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy. As a result, food companies are reformulating their products and coming up with new allergy-friendly food lines to meet the rise in consumer demand.

This is all good news to food wholesalers focused on expanding their catalog of diet-specific or allergy-friendly offerings.

By allowing grocery store buyers to search for items based on diet type and/or food ingredients, wholesalers can reliably provide products they know consumers are regularly seeking in the aisles of their local grocery stores.

One wholesaler offering just this sort of expanded capability is Mabel. This online food wholesale ordering business goes one step further, however, offering products based on region, dietary need, and brand value. Mabel also includes women-owned, small-batch, and eco-friendly brands.

Food wholesalers focused on diet and allergy needs are changing the way niche food companies’ products make their way into consumers’ hands.

3. Medical Supply Wholesalers Working to Create More Streamlined Services

The medical supply wholesale industry is not to be overlooked, particularly when you consider its massive growth and size. Currently, the medical supplies wholesaling industry in the United States is worth over $268 billion and has seen 3.8% growth this year.

America’s Massive National Health Needs

These numbers perhaps aren’t that surprising given Americans’ burgeoning medical needs as a sizeable chunk of its population ages. In fact, the average American spent over $11,000 on medical expenses, and that number was announced before the pandemic struck.

Fortunately, medical supply distributors understand this growing need and are making changes for the better.

One such example is Cardinal Health, one of the United States’ top medical supply distributors. Cardinal Health provides specialized medical products and pharmaceutical drugs to more than 85% of U.S. hospitals. Cardinal Health recently announced a partnership with Chronicled, a blockchain-powered network in the life sciences industry.

Partnerships such as the one with Chronicled and Cardinal Health will streamline processes and operations across the supply chain, thereby better connecting pharmacy suppliers with customers.

This certainly isn’t the first large-scale partnership in the medical supply wholesale industry. Nonetheless, it provides a high-visibility example of how wholesalers can grow their business by working with partners toward a common goal.

Consider, for example, the pandemic-fueled demand over the course of the past 18 months for personal protective equipment (PPE). This dilemma, faced by nearly every hospital system around the world, could potentially have been avoided or fixed more quickly with a more streamlined, technology-driven process.

The Takeaway

The wholesale market offers businesses of all sizes a tremendous number of advantages. Buying wholesale can be more cost-effective, of course. It can also assist businesses looking to expand their merchandise offerings, appeal to more consumers, and increase their overall sales.

Because wholesalers typically only sell to retailers and not directly to consumers, they enable those retailers to be the source of specialized goods.

The leaders of the wholesale market are impacting the sales model worldwide and shouldn’t be ignored. As the savvy intermediaries between the producer and seller, these three examples show how wholesalers can make a notable difference in how consumers gain access to the goods they want and need.

Image Credit: tiger lily; pexels; thank you!

 

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

The Importance of Employee Handbook – ReadWrite

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Milosz Krasinski


Most corporate employers have an employee handbook, but many do not realize how important it is for their company. On the other hand, smaller businesses often don’t have a company handbook when they definitely should have one.

An employer’s handbook can be a great resource in the event of any disputes that arise between employees and management.

In addition to outlining policies on topics such as break times, dress code, and benefits, the book should also provide information about things like workplace safety and harassment prevention. Employees need to know what they’re getting into when they start a new job — so having a comprehensive employee handbook can help them understand what is expected of them at work.

When hiring someone new or transferring from one position to another within your company, it’s always best practice to offer a copy of the employee handbook before going over any other paperwork with the employee. This is a good time to go over the handbook with them and answer any questions they might have about the policies outlined in it.

Anyone that has been working for your company should already have a copy of the handbook.

What is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is a set of guidelines and policies that govern the management and conduct of employees and management within a company. For example, the handbook typically sets out the organization’s expectations and values and information on how to dress or what to do in emergencies.

It also details disciplinary procedures for staff who disobey the policies, including warnings, sacking, and criminal prosecution. But, most commonly, it’s the managers, executives, and lawyers who write the handbook.

Why is an Employee Handbook important in a business setting

An Employee Handbook is important in a business setting. It provides employees with the guidelines and policies that govern their employment. The handbook usually sets out expectations, such as how to dress or what to do in emergencies.

It also includes disciplinary procedures for staff who disobey the policies, including warnings, sacking, and criminal prosecution. This helps everyone understand what is expected of them. It also makes it easier to fire (and hire, too!) people by clearly outlining the rules. Again, this reduces an organization’s liability.

How does an Employee Handbook affect an organization?

An Employee Handbook allows companies to communicate with their employees. It helps the company protect itself from legal liability by clarifying how the company or business wants its staff to behave in certain scenarios. In addition, a handbook can provide a reference point for managers on disciplinary procedures, while maintaining consistency throughout the organization.

For example, it can help managers decide whether to warn an employee before disciplining them, or if they should be immediately fired. It also helps employees know what is expected of them and how their behavior affects the workplace. On top of procedural information, the handbook can help with employee engagement, motivation, and burnout prevention, even in the toughest industries.

What an Employee Handbook should include

An Employee Handbook should include:

  • What the company expects from the employee in terms of dress code and conduct

An employee handbook needs to include what the company expects from the employee regarding dress code and conduct. It sets the expectations for employees. If a company doesn’t set out expectations, then confusion can arise. Confusion can happen when an employee starts asking questions about what is allowed or not allowed in the workplace.

A handbook keeps information clear and concise by providing a reference point for managers on disciplinary procedures.

The handbook helps maintain consistency throughout the organization. It also clarifies to employees what is expected of them and how their behavior is monitored in the workplace.

  • How to handle emergencies or disciplinary procedures when an employee is not following rules outlined in your handbook

Employees will now know what an emergency is, how they should report it, and who they can and should contact in the event of an emergency. The handbook should also have how disciplinary procedures are handled.

  • Whether or not workers are allowed to work from home

The employee handbook can help to prevent misunderstandings for most of the company or business issues.

The handbook will answer questions about whether or not workers can work or keeping when they go home. For example, if a specific team does not allow for working from home — or taking equipment home — it should be noted in the handbook.

The company might also want to specify if there is a need for an employee to travel. It’s also worth stating if there are any restrictions on job-related activities outside of office hours. These questions are very pertinent in many industries.

  • What technology is prohibited in the workplace

Defining what tech is allowed or not allowed at work can help ensure that employees abide by company policy. It can also help to demonstrate that employers are reasonable. Also, this paragraph might make the employee feel like they will still have some freedom outside of work hours.

  • Medical leave and paid vacation policy

An employee should know the employer’s policies when it comes to medical leave and paid vacation.

Knowing and understanding policy can help employees feel more confident about their work environment if they know that the employer considers other aspects outside their work hours.

The handbook can also provide general information about what is not allowed in the workplace — including social media or other non-work-related tasks outside of office hours.

Employees need to know who they can contact when there is a problem with the workplace.

If an employee or lower management doesn’t know who to speak with or how to file a complaint, it can affect their work performance and morale. Therefore, the handbook should include a step-by-step process of what-to-do-when scenarios. With these explanations in place and plainly written, employees can feel confident knowing somebody listens to their concerns and, ultimately, addresses them.

Apart from filing a complaint, your handbook should note how to give employee feedback and where.

Employees should know their company’s code of conduct and what the consequences are if they violate it. In addition, a code of conduct may assist an employee in feeling that the employer is sensible by setting standards for treatment and professionalism.

  • Antiharassment & antiretaliation

One of the crucial aspects of an employee handbook is to include information on anti-harassment and antiretaliation.

All employees should know that they are free from harassment or retaliation when it comes to their work environment. This information makes people feel more confident in their workplace and, in turn, makes them more productive in their tasks. An employee will also feel like they don’t have to worry about anything with regards to their job security because employers consider these things in an employee handbook.

  • What benefits does your organization offers, such as health insurance or alternative work arrangements

Having information about health insurance, savings plans, and alternative work situations can be important because an employee can make a subjectively bad decision when it comes to their work situation.

For example, they might decide not to take a promotion or accept an offer of employment because they are disqualified for the benefit the company offers. Therefore, it’s beneficial to have this information in the handbook so that employees don’t have to ask about these questions, thus causing extra stress about these types of decisions.

All questions are right there in the Employee Handbook where they should be.

  • Any additional disclaimers

When drafting an employee handbook, it is important to include any disclaimers that you deem necessary. For example, some organizations may choose to include a disclaimer about their commitment to the environment. Others can have a disclaimer about certain situations.

Most beneficial in the Employee Handbook is a declaration of company values and an acknowledgment or assertion about their commitment to treating people with honesty and respect. Some companies may wish to give examples of how to follow the company’s set of values.

Just about anything that fits with your company values can be listed in your Employee Handbook.

How to make your Employee Handbook easy to read and understand

It’s necessary to include explanations that are easy to read and understand so that the employee handbook isn’t hard to follow.

If your Employee Handbook is too difficult to read — or too long — people will either not read it or they will only skim through the information and might miss some important details.

You can also categorize some of your rules into different sections so that people only have to look at specific parts of the handbook instead of reading the entire thing.

It’s also important to make sure that it is easy on the eyes. You can use bullet points, headings, subheadings, and images to make your employee handbook easier to read. Any part of your handbook that helps with readability issues will help your people comprehend the rules more efficiently.

You will want your employees to be able to follow along with your organization’s policies in the easiest way possible, and you can give examples in your handbook.

What to do if someone violates the rules of the handbook

When someone violates the rules of the handbook, management must reprimand in some way. If possible, try to help the employee understand why they were wrong and what they should do instead. Some examples should already be in your handbook as an illustration of what you expect in behaviors.

When a leader or manager can explain what went wrong and how to correct the behavior, this procedure is helpful for both management and employee. It shows that you’re willing to work with them to improve themselves for the future. It also might be helpful to offer an alternative action so that this doesn’t happen again in the future.

Finally, the Employee Handbook is a living document

As your company grows and changes, it’s important to make sure you’re updating your employee handbook accordingly. This includes:

  • Adding new services or products.
  • Highlighting specific company values that haven’t been mentioned before.
  • Changing benefits associated with prospective employees joining the organization.

Digitizing the handbook is also a good idea. Digitization will make it easier for the employees to read it. You can also have a digital copy for new employees to check that they have read the information in the Employee Handbook as part of their onboarding process. This process will save many questions and issues down the road.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has given you some useful insight into the importance of having an Employee Handbook. An employee handbook can help your company clarify its policies for employees. Answer any questions your employees might have about their work environment or daily tasks. An Employee Handbook saves a lot of time and prevents many uncertainties on both sides — it’s a great thing to have as a staple in your business.

Image Credit: provided by the author; wavy bus single; freepik; thank you!

Milosz Krasinski

Managing Director at Chilli Fruit Web Consulting boutique London based digital PR agency. Co-Founder at Sigma Digital Oxford. International SEO consultant, speaker. Sometimes blogging at miloszkrasinski.com

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