Top tips for creating an employee handbook

Employee handbooks are a staple of the workplace. Providing a common ground for all employees, this reference guide establishes company policies, rules and guidelines which the employer requires workers to comply with. Having a single, set-in-stone reference point makes life easier for everybody – since employees can learn and abide by the employer’s desired workplace practices, and employees will be well informed of what is expected of them. There are a few points that every employee handbook should emphasise; keep reading to find out more.

Key objectives, ethos and values

Ensuring that your employees have shared knowledge of your company’s visions and values will prompt them to work towards the same goal, driving a unanimous sense of ambition and motivation. It’s also highly essential that new recruits are aware of your company’s objectives and requirements – and giving them a handbook to refer to ensures that they’re on the same page as all of the other employees. It’s also a great idea to include what makes you different to other businesses of your kind – how do you differentiate yourself, and what makes you you? This way, your employees will gain real understanding of your brand personality. It’s also useful to explain your company’s journey, describing how it’s arrived at that current moment. What key milestones have you encountered along the way?

List the expectations you have of your employees

In order to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and disputes, it’s important to include what you expect of your employees. This includes policies regarding booking holidays, taking unauthorised absences, dress code and behaviour. If your employees are thoroughly aware of how to approach these aspects, you’ll create a sense of clarity amongst your workforce. What’s more, if you’re careful to make your policies inclusive and diverse, then there’ll be no excuses for anybody to fail to comply with them. You should also make sure to include details about other important, notable policies – such as the Drug and Alcohol Policy and the Equal Opportunities Policy, to ensure that employees are aware of their rights.

Employee handbooks are highly beneficial to managers, too. This will provide them with a constant reminder of how to support you with regard to employee management. You should also take time to include a section specifically for managers, providing them with support and guidance on how they can best oversee the workforce; this could include advice about conducting interviews and developing other members of staff.

Employee benefits

Employee benefits are not always something that are made clear to the employee when they start a job. It’s therefore beneficial to both parties if the handbook outlines what the employee can expect to receive, as this will save time for the employer, whilst making the employee feel well informed. Whether that involves paid lunch breaks, gym membership discounts or optician subsidies, it’s worth noting down everything that you offer.

Supports legal action

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of creating an employee handbook is the time and money it can save with regard to legal claims and court cases. If an employee made a legal claim against you, for example, and you already had the corresponding policy outlined in your employee handbook, this provides you with sufficient evidence to show that you’d made the requirements of the employee clear from the very start. The handbook acts as an extremely useful point of reference to not only you and the employees, but also proof to lawyers. Do make sure, however, to keep your handbook updated with new guidelines and policies at least once per year.

If you’re unsure how to create an employee handbook for your workplace, get in touch with one of our HR advisers.

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