An Employee Handbook isn’t a legal requirement for a business, however, it is an important guide for all your company policies and procedures and sets the tone of your business with regard to how you work, your culture and your company aspirations!
A well-written handbook provides the base on which employees may build their business knowledge, understand the culture and develop the behaviours and working practices which operate within the Company.
What are the benefits?
A handbook creates a fair and consistent set of practices and expectations that apply equally to all employees. Consistency eliminates any potential confusion and written policies that are enforced consistently demonstrate impartiality towards all employees within the business.
A handbook ensures the employer is compliant with statutory requirements and follows best practices, protecting them against any potential legal claims if the correct procedures are followed. They can also aid in resolving disputes before they ever arise and protect both the employer and the employee from any sort of misunderstanding or potential litigation.
Employees are provided with reassurances in writing that the business will act in a certain manner when certain situations arise.
Even though an employer has a legal obligation to comply, employees can use a handbook as a source of reference for information relating to their employment with the business all in one place.
The handbook should be a foundation for initial communications to employees that confirms, supports and provides the reasoning behind how the business operates. It can answer many employee questions and queries relating to their employment, reducing cause for worry or anxiety on things they may not want to ask!
A handbook can let the employee know what is expected of them and gives clear guidance on how to behave and how to deal with certain situations and where to look for help. It has been shown that positive behaviour, engagement and higher levels of motivation and productivity occur when people understand what is expected of them and they can meet these expectations.
The handbook can provide guidance for managers dealing with difficult situations such as underperformance, disciplinaries or grievances by setting out the steps of processes that should be followed.
An employee handbook should include information and policies such as:
- An introduction to your company, your culture, values and general work ethic and expectations.
- Attendance, time keeping and absences
- What you offer with regards to benefits
- Performance management
- Holiday and sickness procedures
- Equal opportunities and discrimination policies
- Anti-harassment and bullying
- Health and Safety
- Parental Leave rights (including Maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption)
- Disciplinary and Grievance procedures
- GDPR & Data Protection
In summary whatever the size of your business, an employee handbook is highly advisable!
We can support you and your business in creating a compliant handbook or update an existing one so get in touch!