7. Employee Handbooks
Why have an employee handbook?
An employee handbook is a great way to communicate all your policies, procedures, standards and codes of conduct to your employees. It means that you can have all the information in one place so that this can be easily provided to new employees. Remember, if you do not clearly communicate your policies, you will not be able to rely on them should you need to in the future.
An employee handbook is just a large document that contains all the HR policies and procedures, plus codes of conduct etc.
The handbook can also include sections such as a history of the company or information about what the company does. This further helps new starters when they first join the company.
Your handbook should complement your contract of employment and should not contradict it in any way (this will cause confusion). It would be recommended that your handbook is NON-contractual. This will allow you to update it and changes / amend policies with easy and without the need to consult employees (see contracts of employment and policies).
Keeping Your Handbook up-to-date
Like any individual policy documents, you must keep your handbook up-to-date, and you must communicate any updates to employees. This can be a time-consuming job, but it is essential if you want to be able to rely on the content. Many larger organisations have a dedicated HR intranet where information is made available online. For a version of this for SMEs, see YourHR.space.
Drafting Your Handbook
If you want to draft your own employee handbook, use the Handbook Template document as a starting point and recommended content, and insert the individual policy documents into the template.
Presenting Your Handbook
Give consideration to how you will present your handbook to employees. Use it as an internal marketing opportunity. We spend a lot of money on external marketing and making sure that brochures and documents look professional and are of a high quality as this sends a message to potential clients. Do the same with your employee handbook. A scruffy photocopy will not send the right message!