How to get new employees to sign off on Conduct Policies
Employee Handbook & Conduct Policies
Most companies include their conduct policies along with orientation and company information, rules and benefits in their employee handbook/manual. The conduct policies of your employee handbook/manual should be signed off by an employee or contractor prior to their first day of work or providing services. Companies who actually have staff sign off on their employee handbook or manual prior to commencement of engagement are essentially disclosing sensitive documents that include confidential and proprietary company information that should not be seen by an incumbent prior to accepting an offer and prior to becoming part of your 'family'. At minimum, this orientation and proprietary information should only be disclosed once staff have signed off on your confidentiality agreement.
If you send your employee handbook/manual to a candidate as part of their acceptance of a contract because you want them to sign off on your conduct policies, the incumbent may not accept the offer and your employee handbook and manual is now in cyberspace and may become a competitive disadvantage.
The conduct policies included in your employee handbook/manual should be a part of or an addendum to your employment or independent contractor agreements, as a separate document that excludes the proprietary information or orientation and internal procedures available in your handbook/manual. The conduct policies and the rest of the handbook serve different purposes. The conduct policies ensure that an incumbent is aware and signs off on your conduct rules before their first day of work, which serves only to be clear about expectations, protect your company and other staff. Your employee handbook/manual is an internal document used to orient new employees and to provide procedural and company information when they need it - after they're hired.
Companies who don't have employees sign off on conduct policies - in any form - before they start are at serious risk of liability exposure. Studies have shown that staff are much more likely to respect and abide by conduct rules if they are contractually bound by adhering to them. They now have 'skin in the game'.
How to Proceed
We recommend that you extract your conduct policies from your employee handbook /manual and include them in a separate document called "Staff Policies Manual" that is applicable to both contractors and employees, as illustrated below.
When you send an employment or independent contractor agreement to an incumbent, they would also receive 2 addendum documents (2 & 3), where all 3 documents together form a binding agreement - before the incumbent begins work.
Once an employee is hired, they would have access to documents #1, 2 and 3 and 4 on your server for reference. Your Staff Policies Manual would look something like this.