Sunday, August 23, 2009

Creating a Supervisors' Handbook - If Not Now When?

The most current economic downturn in the economy is certainly teaching companies' one thing; times are a changing. Experts predict, even when the economy returns back to brisk growth, things will never be the same again in American workplaces throughout the country. Companies will deal with a more sophisticated workforce; smarter, sharper, and more deliberate. Even small missteps by supervisors today, can cause enormous pain from a legal prospective.

95% Say No

I have asked a simple question (of companies large and small) all across America for the past thirteen years. Do you have a supervisors' handbook? Ninety-five per cent of respondents answer no. This is mind boggling, especially considering the fact that the bulk of employment complaints and lawsuit are filed against supervisors. It is the job of the human resources department to see that supervisors are trained on the company's policies. A vital part of that training should be to hand your supervisors a copy of your company's definitive policies.

Why Not Supervisors

Top human resources departments have (wisely) crafted a handbook for employees which clearly explicates where the company stands on today's hotly contested employment law issues. This is an investment (when done correctly) yields positive dividends for many years to come. Now, if this is true, why haven't your company crafted a handbook for supervisors. As a supervisor I'd like to know where the company stands on employment laws apropos to today's fast-paced work environment. Don't leave me in the dark on fraternization, discrimination, spoliation, investigations, terminations, interviewing, locker and desk searches, listening in on employee phone conversations, following doctors' notes, obligating the company by making promises to employees that (were not officially approved) and therefore cannot be honored. And a plethora of other actions I might run afoul of while carrying out my duties as a supervisor of the company.

They Don't Know

A supervisors' handbook goes a long way in helping leaders understand those important company's policies, and gives them a tangible document they can study intently. Now is the best time to create your supervisors handbook, long before a charge is made against your supervisor. Failing to get clarity on these and other employment laws, both on the federal and local levels, put supervisors at high risk for legal action against them.

Understand The Urgency Of Now

Puzzling on many fronts is the fact that companies are willing to spend millions of dollars (on the back side) to defend against a lawsuit, but balk at spending a paltry few thousand dollars (on the front side) for preventative training measures. After thirteen years of travel, I still don't get it. There is a real urgency out there for a supervisors' manual; time is of the essence. Act now to craft a handbook for your supervisors.


There is a real urgency out there for a specific handbook for your supervisors. Even small missteps can cause enormous pain for your company, from a legal prospective. Now is the best time to create your supervisors handbook, long before a charge is made. If you don't clarify important employment laws, most supervisors won't know or will find out until when it's far too late. Act now to give them something to hold and study.

© 2009 Cubie Davis King. All Right Reserved Internationally.

Dr. Cubie Davis King, PhD. is an adjunct professor at National University San Diego, CA in the School of Business, where he teaches Training and Development. His latest work is the Supervisor Core Training System 1.0 (SCTS 1.0). To get more information on this highly effective and engaging training system go directly to his website at website

Dr. King is a Performance Technologist with a Ph.D in Training & Performance Improvement. His resume includes 9 years military service, and 12 years executive positions with Xerox & CitiGroup. For the past 13 years he has consulted with hundreds of companies on employment laws, and trained thousands of HR professionals in Live Seminars throughout the country. Dr. King has won top performance awards at every level of his storied career and is passionate about improving the performance of employees and business owners. Dr. King takes complicated yet sobering employment laws and makes them palatable and entertaining for everyone on your staff to understand.

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