The Importance Of Employee Handbooks – What You Need To Know
As an employer, you should be aware of certain things, and employee
handbooks are one of these things. Whilst all companies have to give contracts of employment 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 employee handbook referred to as an employee manual, staff handbook, or company policy manual but, they are all essentially the same thing. Put simply, the handbook is a book given to all employees, it highlights all relevant employment and job-related information that employees need to know.
Normally, these 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 company information – there should also be information regarding a company rules, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and other information about employment laws or regulations.
Ideally, the handbook should be given as part of a company’s induction process
for new employees, the same way contracts of employment are.
Why are employee handbooks important?
A well-written handbook has several advantages for an employer. All in all, the
handbook helps a company run smoothly by clearly outlining expectations in the workplace. An employee handbook minimises workplace disputes by explaining workplace ethics and required behaviour. It also allows your company to be open and clear about its stand on
issues like favouritism, discrimination, and harassment, as well as provide information on
how to report any violations.
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.
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 a handbook can be a beneficial legal defence.
Of course, the 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 employee handbooks
If you already have a handbook then you should review this regularly, and if you’re in doubt
regarding its contents, seek advice from HR consultants, The same goes for if you are looking to implement a handbook for the first time, if you’re unsure of the required content or the best wording to use throughout this book then get 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 handbook can help your current legal situation then again seek the relevant advice as soon as the issue arises.
Understanding employee handbooks: Employee handbooks are necessary tool for establishing clear expectations within the workplace. They not only facilitate smoother company operations but also serve as a valuable resource during legal disputes. These handbooks provide essential information on employment conditions, rights, responsibilities, and duties, making them beneficial for both employers and employees.
What’s inside the handbook: A typical employee handbook includes 3 main sections. The first section introduces the company, including its mission and values. The second section offers information including company policies, workplace details, and company benefits. The third section looks into specific company regulations, disciplinary
procedures, and relevant employment laws and regulations. The handbook provides the employee an overview of what they must/need to know.
Maintaining your handbook: Regular reviews and updates are crucial to keeping your employee handbook relevant and accurate. If you’re creating a handbook for the first time or reviewing an existing one, consider seeking advice from HR consultants to ensure compliance with employment laws. Remember, an accessible and up-to-date handbook is a powerful asset for addressing everyday questions and legal challenges.
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