HANDBOOKS

The company handbook is sometimes known as employee or staff handbook or manual or a policies and procedures manual. It is a collection of information relating to the Company and a source for both new and established employees to refer containing codes of practice, policies and procedures, company rules and employment legislation.

 

It is usually delivered to a worker upon their first day of employment, accessible on the Company’s internal intranet system or available in a central location within the Company. The information contained in the handbook can resolve disputes before they arise and protect both the employer and the employee from any sort of misperception and the potential of litigation.

If you are a supervisor or HR professional, you probably treat your company’s employee handbook as a sacred text (and if you don’t you should). You may not find answers to life’s deepest mysteries in an employee handbook, but you will find answers to many of the questions your employees most frequently ask of you:

  • “What do I need to do if I need to call in sick?”
  • “What are the procedures for taking holiday?”
  • “What happens if disciplinary action is taken against me?”
  • “What do I need to do if I feel I am being bullied?”
  • “How much notice do I have to give if I wish to resign?”

For most employees, however, their employee handbook is just another stack of paperwork that they’re handed on their first day of employment. They may skim through it a few times in their first week of employment, but are unlikely to even think about the handbook until they are found to have violated one of the policies it contains.

So why do companies even bother to put together handbooks that employees may or may not bother to read? This is because the policies contained in an employee handbook act as a company’s first line of defence against claims brought against the Company by Employees.

HOW HANDBOOKS PROTECT EMPLOYERS

A company’s employee handbook provides its workforce with a step-by-step guide to success. The handbook establishes a code of conduct for employees to follow, and provides a framework for supervisors and managers to follow when addressing any instances of misconduct.

While the company’s policies are by no means a guarantee that a disgruntled existing or former employee will never file a claim, they do provide a layer of protection in the event that something does happen. When implemented and enforced effectively and consistently, the corporate policies contained in a company’s employee handbook help demonstrate that a company is operating ethically and proactively for the benefit and safety of its employees, its shareholders, and the public.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK BEST PRACTICES

Handbooks make company policies easily accessible to employees, and allow companies to consistently apply and enforce those policies. Below are some tips to keep in mind when creating your employee handbook:

  • Keep the language simple. Don’t use a plethora of technical terms in your company policies. Instead, try to use simple, plain language that would be easily understood by your workforce.
  • Make sure your employees understand what the handbook is and isn’t. While your employee handbook may include information about policies required by law, it should not be presented as a legally binding document or contract.
  • Update your handbook regularly. The only constant in life is change, so make sure your employees understand that handbook should be considered a “living” document, and that the policies it contains are subject to change at any time.

 

Even if your employees don’t treat their employee handbook with the reverence that it may deserve, the protection that it provides both for your company and its employees are vital to ensuring the longevity of your business. But the process of creating an employee handbook can be overwhelming.

HOW WE CAN ASSIST

We can work with you, provide guidance or take full responsibility for compiling a handbook that is suitable for your Company.

This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice.

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