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Handbook Q&A: Jay Long

September 20, 2017 -  By
Headshot: Jay Long

Headshot: Jay Long

Jay Long
Vice president of human resources, Ruppert Landscape
Laytonsville, Md.

LM: What’s your approach to handbooks?

JL: Developing our policies and procedures and getting them down in an official handbook has been, and continues to be, an ongoing process. The first few years we were in business we were focused on the basics of our everyday business—keeping customers and employees onboard, trying to succeed and be profitable—so it was only after we started to achieve a certain level of success and started branching out that the idea of writing things down occurred to us. Our handbook has developed into a tool to provide our employees with the information they need to be successful and to provide our company with
a consistent approach to the business.

LM: What topics do you include?

JL: Our employee handbook contains our mission and values—the philosophies by which we run the business. Beyond that, it helps communicate our benefits (insurance, time off, 401(k), etc.) and expectations (reporting times, safety, uniforms, etc.)

LM: How and when it is distributed? How often is it updated?

JL: Every new employee receives a copy of the handbook when they are hired. All employees receive copies of or access to new versions when they are created. Generally, the hard copy is revised every few years. Any handbook, however, is a living, breathing document so keeping track of policies and procedures that change is important.

LM: What advice do you have for other companies implementing a handbook?

JL: Three things. 1). Start with the basics. It can be an overwhelming project, so provide enough detail to articulate both the employers and the employee’s responsibilities, but don’t include so much information that it’s overwhelming for the creator or the reader. 2). Use positive language. Rules and expectations can have a lot of “don’t” language. Always try to use positive statements when communicating your expectations. 3). Have an attorney take a look. It’s a must these days, as there are many places we can get tripped up compliancewise.

This is posted in 0917, Cover story
Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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