HR Self-Help Tools & Downloads – Are They Worth It?

As we review employee handbooks from companies across the country, we find that many of these documents were constructed from self-help tools or templates downloaded from the internet. Our advisors explain that many of them share similar issues, such as:

  • the exclusion of state or local regulations, for example, state-specific sick leave laws.
  • the inadvertent creation of extra administrative work.
  • the omission of required, industry-specific verbiage (i.e. DOT-specific requirements for drivers).
  • the inclusion of policies that do not apply to the organization (i.e. incorporating an FMLA policy for a company not required to comply).

How Prevalent is the Problem?

Using data obtained from our HRWS standard Handbook Review service, we clearly see how popular these self-help tools and template downloads have become, and how often they miss the mark:

  • 65% were at least partly generated from a self-help tool
  • another 17% came from downloaded templates
  • 12% of employee handbooks reviewed were originally assembled by an HR expert or legal professional
  • among those professionally assembled, the average creation date was over 6 years ago
  • 96% of all handbooks reviewed, contained policies that were either discriminatory, incomplete, or misaligned with the company’s business model, SIC codes, state requirements, etc.

High Stakes Documents Require Professional Input

The common issues that arise due to such missteps, may often cause ongoing issues. More telling is the realization that most of these circumstances could easily be averted if the document(s) were created, or simply reviewed, by an experienced professional.

About HRWS

HR Workplace Services Inc. partners with the nation’s top insurance brokers and agencies providing their clients with best-in-class services and support for HR concerns, compliance and technology. HRWS operates in all 50 States and in over 25 different countries, serving organizations from three to 200,000 employees in 545 SIC Codes.

If you have questions about HRWS, call or email us directly or ask your insurance broker about us.

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Be advised that the information contained in this article is intended for educational purposes and to provide a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice.