Employee Handbook

Why Every Business Needs An Employee Handbook

This essential piece of HR kit is usually something that small businesses don’t really understand the benefit of having, until something goes wrong with an employee.

It’s extreme to imply that employment tribunals would be a thing of the past if every business had an employee handbook although it’s not out of the question to suggest that a sizeable proportion of employers may have fared better with an accurate and up to date employee handbook to rely on.

What’s an employee handbook and why is it so important?

The employee handbook acts as a central reference point for the business and its staff. It’s usually non-contractual but ensures that employees are aware of both their terms and conditions of employment and all company policies. It’ll often contain at least 20 policies governing different aspects of workplace life and management.

Although employee handbooks aren’t a legal requirement they can save a lot of misunderstanding further down the line in various situations. People are a business’s greatest asset but can also be its greatest risk. By having an employee handbook in place, businesses can help to manage this risk and create a safe and productive working environment.

What should an employee handbook contain?

Businesses generally use employee handbooks to specify the following:

Holiday entitlements

Sickness or injury payment conditions

Disciplinary procedures

Capability procedures

Grievance procedures

Harassment policies

General information about the company

Whistleblowing procedures

Why is an employee handbook important?

Welcoming new employees to your organisation

Businesses often choose to provide new employees with their employee handbook during their induction. Each business has its own idiosyncrasies and company culture. In laying out information about the practices and ethos of your workplace, it can help new employees to understand their role within your organisation. This can encourage cohesion between existing employees and new starters at an early stage.

Setting out company policies

The employee handbook should also be used to communicate the organisation’s policies. From grievance and disciplinary procedures to holiday pay, detailing company policies in the employee handbook is a great way to ensure they are adhered to consistently. It also allows managers and other senior members of staff to have a point of reference when answering questions or making decisions.

Minimising Risk

By having an up to date employee handbook in place, employers can clearly define the parameters in which they expect their employees to work and behave. In certain circumstances, dismissals made because of an employee’s inappropriate behaviour have led to employers losing at an employment tribunal because they were unable to demonstrate that they had a policy against it and/or followed that policy correctly.

As well as reducing the risk of costly employment tribunals, laying out clear policies in the employee handbook shows consistency with current legislation. Our retained clients benefit from our annual update of their handbook – ensuring that any changes in case law or legislation are taken into account.

Any small business will understand that employee handbooks are an essential resource, a reference guide which helps to create unity, manage employee expectations and avoid risk.

Every business is different, so having an employee handbook tailored to your specific needs will bring many benefits to your company. At Cluer HR we take ownership of this for our retained clients since we see it as an essential tool in upholding your HR policies. If you are considering becoming a retained client, this is just one of many elements we include in this excellent service.

not sure what to do next?

At Cluer HR, we are extremely experienced in writing employee handbooks bespoke to our clients’ requirements. Please get in touch to see how we can help.

Did you know?

At Cluer we offer bespoke retained packages tailored to your requirements.

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