Compiling an Employee Handbook might seem like an unneeded task for a small business, and perhaps time consuming, but in reality it is a very useful tool that truly supports your business and its people.
Here at HR Revolution, we want to highlight 4 of the main reasons why we think Employee Handbooks are essential.
1. An Employee Handbook can help prevent very costly employee disputes
In certain cases employee claims can run into the thousands of pounds and the vast majority of employment law disputes can stem from confusion over what is or not accepted practice within a business. An Employee Handbook is your opportunity to clearly state your polices and procedures in relation to issues, such as:
- Holiday and Sickness absence
- Disciplinary and Grievance
- Maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave
- Anti-harassment and bullying
- Health and safety
- Equality and diversity
Having the above policies in place can help with preventing disputes happening in the first place.
2. An Employee Handbook promotes clear communication and manages expectations in your business
A handbook ensures that every employee knows where to find specific information on policies and procedures that need to be followed, even if they have not been discussed with them. This gives the employee the knowledge on where they stand and is a major element of ensuring their satisfaction.
It also ensures you have covered all bases when you induct new employees, which is a vital part of your onboarding process, and will promote consistency across your business.
3. An Employee Handbook will set the tone for company culture and outlines acceptable conduct
Your employees need clear and concise information on what is deemed to be acceptable behaviour and conduct and setting the tone for the culture of your company. Leave no room for misinterpretation and set out your best practice on topics such as:
- Dress code
- Telecommunications, email, social media and internet
- Internal communications
- GDPR/Data protection
- Severe weather and travel disruption
- Flexible working procedure
- Time off in Lieu
4. An Employee Handbook underpins your Contracts of Employment
A handbook can be an effective way to complement contracts of employment with company policies and procedures.
You need to be very clear however, which parts of the handbook are contractually binding and which are not. Also, if you are changing any contractual parts of the handbook you might need to obtain employee consent and make certain that any changes are compliant with Employment Law.
Other considerations to think about when creating your Employee Handbook, is to ensure it can be adapted. A handbook should be flexible and have the scope to be adapted as the company grows or any new issues or situations arise. To make sure this flexibility is clear, it is always a good idea to include a note, which reserves the right to make these amendments. It is also very important that you make sure your employees are fully aware of any changes as and when they happen.
If you are struggling to know where to start, HR Revolution are here to help! get in touch and find out more about our HR solutions.