An employee handbook serves as a valuable resource to improve employee training, management and communication. It can even assist in employee appraisals.

But before you write a handbook, think through the following questions to determine if you are ready to tackle the project, says Dave Grusenmeyer, human-resource management specialist with Cornell University. Rate each question on a scale of 1 to 3– with 1 = No; 2 = Maybe; 3 = Yes.

  • Are you ready to make decisions and commitments about policies and rules for your business?
  • Are you ready to consistently enforce those policies and rules?
  • Are you willing to continually revise and update the handbook?
  • Are you prepared to discuss and explain the contents to current and new employees?
  • Are you ready to comply with applicable labor laws?

    Now, add up your score and use the following guide to see if you're ready to write a handbook:

    Score – Action plan
    1-7 – A handbook won't be effective yet.
    8-11 – Complete an employee handbook workshop and try again.
    12-15 – Get started. You're ready to effectively utilize a handbook.