Employee handbooks are a key human resources tool for any small business—and they’re not just for office environments. If you’re a builder or contractor managing a crew, you’re going to need a construction employee handbook to protect your business, your clients, and your workers.
Every construction company can benefit from an employee handbook because it compiles essential information for your team, helping to avoid miscommunication and confusion around workplace policies, procedures, standards, and more.
If you need to create an employee handbook for your construction company and don’t know where to start, we’ve got your back. Follow this detailed guide to learn why a handbook for the construction industry is so important, and how to make your own.
Grab your toolbelt and build a handbook—your employees will thank you for it!
What is a construction employee handbook?
A construction employee handbook is a detailed document that outlines your company’s policies and procedures. It provides new hires with clear guidance on how things are done and what’s expected of them on the job. Existing employees can use a handbook as a point of reference to clarify workplace information like payroll practices, employment rights, and compliance with local regulations.
But why is an employee handbook so crucial to a construction business? Read on to find out!
Why do construction companies need an employee handbook?
Running a construction company comes with a high level of risk: workplace injuries, legal disputes, hazardous weather conditions, and more can affect any job site. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 150,000 construction site accident injuries occur each year.
To help mitigate workplace risk and build trust with your team, it’s critical that every employee working in construction has a clear understanding of safety protocols, which should be detailed in an employee handbook. Having all employees sign-off on a handbook that defines rights and obligations will help protect your business should a lawsuit arise between you and a worker.
A comprehensive handbook will also help promote a positive work culture, setting your team up for success by ensuring all expectations are clear. Make sure you encourage employee feedback, updating handbooks when necessary to show respect for your workers, boost engagement, and keep the information relevant.
How the construction industry differs from other small businesses
While all small businesses require a standard employee handbook, those created for construction companies should also have industry-specific information on:
- Safety protocols
- Legal obligations
- Ethical standards
- Workplace behavior
- Insurance policies
- Equipment guidelines
- Accident prevention techniques
- Emergency evacuation
- Potential worksite exposures
Including thorough explanations on all of the above will help decrease the risk of on-the-job mistakes and accidents. If you’re lacking expertise in certain areas, we recommend consulting a legal professional. This ensures your employee handbook complies with local laws and regulations, and that every section is properly defined.
Get your construction crew on the same page by leaving no room for misunderstanding.
What to include in a construction company employee handbook
1. Company overview
The first section should define your construction company’s mission, vision, and values. It’s important your employees have a clear picture of what your company prioritizes—diversity and inclusion, health and safety, etc.—right off the bat. Shaping your company’s work culture around a set of core values and ethics will inform employees about what to expect so there are no surprises.
2. Code of conduct
It’s essential to include all ethical and professional expectations so your employees know how you expect them to behave on a work site. This section can cover everything from attendance and punctuality to dress code, but should also explain how management can help your team solve problems like conflict resolution and reporting faulty equipment.
Here are some other policies to build into your code of conduct:
- Health and safety protocols
- Alcohol, drug, and cigarette use
- Inclement weather
- Usage of company vehicles and equipment
- Job site expectations (cleanliness, organization, handling hazardous material, etc.)
- Phone usage
- Workplace violence and harassment
3. Employment information
To avoid constant back and forth between management and employees during the onboarding process and beyond, try to answer as many potential questions about employment policies in this section. This should include information on:
- Employee benefits (vacation time, sick leave, health insurance, retirement plans, etc.)
- Training period
- Payroll procedures
- Hiring practices
- Leaves of absence
- Break times
- Disability accommodations
4. Laws and regulations
Here is your chance to outline which federal, local, and state laws your construction company follows—and how your employees must comply with each. This section also helps with liability if one of your employees files a lawsuit against your company.
If your handbook states your construction company is an equal opportunity employer, it should also include information on anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws, and how management will uphold and enforce them through specific policies.
The construction industry comes with many health and safety regulations, so it’s vital your handbook details procedures for compliance to minimize danger and oversights.
5. Disciplinary processes
Once your handbook’s policies and procedures are clearly explained, you’ll need to include a section on the types of consequences employees should expect if they break the rules. These processes are often outlined step-by-step, starting from an initial warning to seeking counseling, and ending with termination of employment.
If an employee violates any policy, like a worker shows up late several times or an assault occurs on your team, this framework should clearly state how each violation will be addressed. Employees should have a clear understanding of their specific responsibilities at work before they’re disciplined.
Tips for writing an engaging construction employee handbook
Here’s how you can ensure your handbook is accessible, relevant, and engaging:
- Incorporate employee feedback
- Review and update it regularly
- Present it at a team meeting—try and make it fun with surveys and prizes!
- Include graphics and charts to make it more readable
Use Homebase to distribute your employee handbook
If you’re unsure how or when to distribute your construction employee handbook, Homebase can support you. Use Homebase’s hiring & onboarding tool to take the drudgery out of your admin tasks and get your handbook into the mitts of your new hires!