Why are Employee Handbooks so Important?

What is an employee handbook?

An employee handbook is a document that highlights key information an employee should be aware of when starting at a new organisation. Most employee handbooks include information about the company, such as a company’s mission and values, policies, procedures, company rules and employee benefits.

Why an employee handbook is so important

  • Helps ensure company procedures and policies are communicated clearly. Formalising policies such as flexible working, parental leave, and social media, will create a useful tool for managers and employees to refer back to and help save time during induction periods.
  • Sets out a company’s missions, values, and culture. This can help introduce an employee to the way an organisation operates and clarifies what is expected of them regarding workplace behaviour and performance.
  • Helps protect an employer against employment-related litigation and workplace disputes. A handbook can help minimise the risk of conflict by ensuring all employees are treated fairly and with respect, clearly setting out a company’s stance on issues such as discrimination or harassment. If an employer were to find themselves in an employment-related legal situation, the handbook can be used as a defence to employee claims.
  • Creates a framework for management. Not only does a handbook provide clarity for employee performance and behaviour, but also management too. Outlining what is expected of management, can help create uniformity across departments and the organisation as a whole.

Our top tips to creating an employee handbook

  • Employee handbooks need to be well-written and include important information. Make sure the document is manageable whilst containing key information.
  • Summarise your policies and procedures to be used as a ‘quick reference guide’. Ensure employees are also aware of where they can find the full version of each document.
  • Employee handbooks do not need to be signed, however creating an acknowledgement page can evidence that an employee has read through the handbook and is familiar with the organisations policies. This can also help with legal protection if you ever needed to refer back to the document.
  • Make sure the document is tailored to your company. Employee handbooks are not a ‘one-size fits all document’, all organisations have different procedures, policies, missions, and values. The information highlighted throughout needs to accurately reflect your company.
  • Consider sending out the handbook to a new employee along with a welcome email as part of their onboarding process.
  • It is important that an employee handbook is reviewed and updated regularly in line with any changes to your company’s policies and procedures.

If you need further information on employee handbooks or have any other HR enquiries, contact us at [email protected].