Employee Handbooks

The Importance Of An Employee Handbook – What You Need To Know

As an employer there are certain things you really should be aware of and an employee
handbook is one of these things. Whilst all companies have to give contracts to their
employees stating things such as their employment conditions, rights, responsibilities and
duties, they should all consider using employee handbooks too. Although not explicitly
required by law, an employee handbook is something that both big and small businesses
can benefit from.


What is an employee handbook?

You may sometimes hear this handbook referred to as an employee manual, staff handbook,
or company policy manual but, they are all essentially the same thing. Put simply, an
employee handbook is a book given to all employees, it highlights all relevant employment
and job-related information which employees need to know.
Normally, employee handbooks all follow a simple structure and contain the same three
categories. You can expect to find the following in all good employee handbooks;

  • Information about the company – usually, these handbooks will contain general need
    to know information about the company, a mission statement and also all company
    values.
  • General helpful information – you can expect to find company policies and
    procedures, details all employees need to know about the workplace and also things
    such as holiday arrangements and company perks.
  • Specific important information – there should also be information regarding company
    rules, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and other information about
    employment laws or regulations.

Ideally, this employee handbook should be given as part of a company’s induction process
for new employees, the same way a contract is.

Why are employee handbooks important?
A well-written employee handbook has several advantages for an employer. All in all, this
book helps a company run smoothly by clearly outlining expectations in the workplace. By
explaining workplace ethics and required behaviour, an employee handbook minimises
workplace disputes. It also allows your company to be open and clear about its stand on
issues like favouritism, discrimination and harassment, as well as providing information on
how to report any violations regarding such issues.

Having all of your policies and procedures clearly laid out and also easily accessible will be
incredibly beneficial to managers too. It is a good reference manual to have and can help
ensure that your team complies with all employment laws. These handbooks become a
useful go-to tool for everyday queries and serious situations alike. Of course, it also saves
your management team time during induction periods, it prevents them from having to
explain the same information over and over again.

Probably one of the most beneficial reasons for having a well-written employee handbook is
for situations where you may need to prove yourself. Take an employee lawsuit, for
example, if you ever find yourself in an employment tribunal then being able to produce an
employee handbook can be a beneficial legal defence. Of course, in order for an employee
handbook to assist you in these situations, you must ensure that it is up to date, understood
by all members of staff and always abided by.

Creating an employee handbook 

If you already have a handbook then you should review this regularly, and if you’re in doubt
regarding its contents, seek advice from BeyondHR, The same goes for if you are looking to
implement an employee handbook for the first time, if you’re unsure on the required content
or the best wording to use throughout this book then getting in touch with ourselves is a
good place to start.

Similarly, if you find that you’re in a situation where your current employee handbook is
under scrutiny during an employee lawsuit, or you fear that it could be, then don’t hesitate to
seek legal assistance. Of course, this works both ways, if you think that your employee
handbook can help your current legal situation then again seek the relevant advice as soon
as the issue arises.

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