University News

Employee Handbooks Important For All Size Businesses

April 24, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - Too often smaller businesses look at an employee handbook as something for the big guys, not for them. Clearly, this is a dangerous position to take. Lawsuits for wrongful termination alone had a median rate of $250,000 in 2003, nearly double the median in 1997, according to Catherine M. Padalino in an October 2005 article in The Financial Manager Magazine. An employee handbook provides an important opportunity to set the tone for the employment experience by providing basic rules and direction.

“Many critical issues can be resolved by having a proper employee handbook in place,” said Dan Voorhis, director and certified business specialist at the Western Illinois University Small Business Development Center. “Proper construction and regular administrative updating of the employee handbook has become a necessity in today’s business environment.”

Small businesses with only a few employees often feel that creation of an employee handbook is a tedious, unnecessary experience.

To address this misconception, the WIU Small Business Development Center, along with the Galesburg Area and Monmouth Area chambers of commerce, is sponsoring the seminar “The Employee Handbook – Boring Your Way to Profit” featuring Richard Galbreath, a nationally published author, speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of Performance Growth Partners, Inc. Galbreath’s presentation will include:

• How a good handbook will help reduce unnecessary unemployment, tax and other costs, limit liability and promote productivity in your business.

• What your handbook should contain.

• What your handbook should not contain.

“We are pleased to be a co-sponsor of this event. Every business needs to have a guide, especially smaller businesses that do not have a human resources staff,” said Bob Maus, president of the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “An employee handbook should be a positive document providing the mission statement of the enterprise and assisting the employees in carrying out their jobs.”

Angela McElwee, executive director of the Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, a co-sponsor of the event agreed.

“This seminar will be of great benefit to area businesses and is an opportunity for the four entities (GACC, MACC, WIU and SBDC) to partner to assist employers in our area,” she added.

The seminar will be held from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 24 at the Monmouth College Hewes Library, 700 E. Broadway, Monmouth, in the lower level electronic classroom. Pre-registration is required; contact the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce at 309/343-1194 or the Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce at 309/734-3181. Registration fee is $29 for chamber members ($39 non-members); seating is limited. Business owners, human resource practitioners or anyone else interested in writing or improving their employee handbooks are invited to attend.

For more information, contact the WIU Small Business Development Center at 309/836-2640 or

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