Staff Handbooks – why do you need them?

A staff handbook might seem like some unnecessary admin, especially when you class yourself as an SME or growing business. However, keeping employees informed of how your company works is an essential piece of communication and can really contribute to the efficiency of your organisation.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

What is a staff handbook?

A staff handbook is, simply, a reference document can be made available to each employee containing information about your company. This may include company rules, HR policies, terms and conditions of employment and information on facilities and amenities.

What do you put in a staff handbook?

The staff handbook gives details of the employment relationship; provides a source of information about their workplace and gives expectations of behaviour.

Basic HR policies that should be included are:

  • Disciplinary Policy and Procedure
  • Grievance Policy
  • Equal Opportunity Policy
  • Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy
  • IT Use Policy
  • Social Media Policy

It can increase understanding of your actions as an employer, and well as improving trust between you and your employees. Introducing a dialogue between you and your employees about what should be included in the staff handbook, as well as making changes to policies where reasonable, can also improve communication, trust and morale.

What format should the staff handbook take?

Whether the staff handbook is basic or very extensive is up to you. It is preferable for it to be non contractual, to protect you as the employer from being in breach of contract if it is not followed to the letter.

The handbook does not need to be printed or expensively produced. In some cases it may require no more than stapling together various pieces of existing information, or creating a soft-copy pack to be emailed through to employees.

Has your business got a staff handbook? Do you think your staff handbook needs updating? Contact HR That Helps today to find out more about how these documents can create a more efficient and risk-aware business.

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