13 Forms Your HR Department Needs
Responsible for keeping employees happy and productive, a human resources department is vital to the smooth operation of any business. HR departments oversee recruiting, training, and onboarding employees. They maintain essential paperwork and ensure that employees have a safe, healthy, productive work environment.
The following forms are what just about every company's HR department needs to function efficiently and as required by law. These forms protect the rights of both employee and employer.
Job Offer Letter
You can offer a potential employee a job verbally, but you'll better protect your company's rights and those of the employee if you provide the person with a job offer letter.
This document spells out the responsibilities, compensation, and job duties of the position. The applicant can consider the offer and then choose to accept the job as offered, request amendments or additions, or decline the offer altogether.
Best hiring practices include a written employment contract that spells out what is expected of employees. A formal contract ensures that employees are well informed of their duties. This agreement helps ensure that their employment goes smoothly for them and you, the employer. Employment contracts include information such as start date and a full description of the job, including pay and benefits.
Employee Agreement Amendment
The business climate is continually changing. Along with these changes often comes the need to amend employee roles and responsibilities. An employee agreement amendment allows for making changes to an existing agreement without having to draw up an entirely new contract.
A compensation agreement is an amendment to an employee's original employment agreement. You can use this form to record an employee's change in wage, such as a bump in pay. You can also use this form to add other types of compensation, including vacation days and 401(k) plans and matching.
Employee Confidentiality Agreement
A legally binding contract between employer and employee, a confidentiality agreement protects your company's proprietary information. This document ensures that employees who sign the agreement don't share your company's financial information, customer information, intellectual property details, or trade secrets with any outside parties.
By signing a confidentiality agreement, the employee agrees not to misuse company information by sharing it with anyone who isn't authorized. Using this document is advisable, even if you trust your employees.
Employee Non-Compete Agreement
The employee non-compete agreement takes over where the employee confidentiality agreement leaves off. This legally-enforceable document prevents employees from competing with your business if they leave the company.
Former employees had access to sensitive documents and business processes that you don't want in your competitors' hands. A non-compete agreement will help ensure this doesn't happen. Within this document is specific language informing the employee of the legal consequences of breaking the agreement.
Email Acceptable Use Policy
Most companies today use email for a significant chunk of all communication. An email acceptable use policy informs your employees of the company's expectations surrounding their work email use.
This policy should clearly outline how employees are to conduct themselves via email, including rules about sharing information. For example, your company may require all sensitive information to be encrypted before being emailed. A clear policy that employees read and sign protects them and the company.
Internet Usage Policy
Given that many employees spend most of their day on computers, it's essential to have a policy that clarifies company expectations on internet usage. The best way to convey these expectations is with an internet usage policy. This document clearly and explicitly spells out the dos and don'ts of internet usage while employees work, both in the office and offsite.
Social Media Policy
How employees behave on social media when representing your business matters. A social media policy protects the company's image online by outlining how employees should act on social media and what they shouldn't do. This policy also dictates how employees are expected to behave if assigned to manage company social media accounts.
Employee Warning Letter
While you and your employees undoubtedly have high hopes for everything to run smoothly, it's sometimes necessary to give employees disciplinary warnings about their actions or behavior. When you do this, it's best practices to give them an employee warning letter. This document makes clear the consequences of similar conduct in the future.
If you don't document disciplinary warnings with a warning letter, it will be more difficult to terminate the employee later if the undesirable behavior continues.
Employee Termination Letter
While the prospect isn't a welcome one, every employer is occasionally going to find it necessary to fire somebody. When you do so, it's important to spell out exactly why they are being let go and to have them sign an employee termination letter. This document helps protect the company if the former employee files a claim against the business for improper termination.
In addition to spelling out why they are being fired, the letter lists any compensation, such as severance pay.
It's vital that your company has an employee handbook that you distribute to all employees. The handbook should spell out all company policies as well as expectations in performance and behavior. The employee handbook should be thorough and comprehensive, answering just about any question an employee might have.
Employee handbooks should explicitly state the company's at-will employment relationship. That means the company can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, and employees can choose to leave at any time for any reason. To enforce this, the employee must sign a page in the employee handbook, which you should keep on file with all company human resource documents.
Running a professional, up-to-date HR department at your company takes attention to detail. Having the forms on hand you need to ensure that all runs smoothly is the best way to see to it that your employees and your company are on the same page.
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