Employee Handbook

So with 2017 now well and truly here, it’s a great time to think about making sure you have all your ducks in a row. No doubt you have lots of plans and HR isn’t at the top of your agenda yet but making sure you have the right contracts, policies, procedures and employee handbooks in place can pay for itself in the long run (I can assure you).

A recent study by XpertHR said that 92% of companies created and employee handbook to share with their staff.  However the finished article is about so much more than just listing policies and sharing some mission statements that you’ve cobbled together over a cup of tea with your managers.

Based on the statistics, you’ve probably made a token attempt at creating an employee handbook for your business – but are you missing the mark? So I want to share with you the mistakes we see so many businesses make, and explain how you can turn things around, so the same doesn’t happen to you.

Taking a cookie-cutter approach 

Sure, there are certain things that all employee handbooks should include. But this certainly doesn’t mean that you should just download a free template from Google, fill in the blanks, and hope for the best.  Your business is unique. Its culture and practices make it individual, and your handbook needs to reflect this.  After all, first impressions count, so you need to make sure that you’re giving your new recruits a quality document that reflects what you’re really all about.

Don’t be scared to showcase your business’s personality and create something that demonstrates what it’s like to work for your company.  Your latest recruits should feel inspired, motivated, and ready to face their new challenges.

Speaking in legal lingo 

Your HR practices need to be in line with relevant legislation. Staying on the right side of the law will save you a whole load of time and hassle.  Before stuffing your handbook with jargon though, take a step back and think about how you can make the important information as easy as possible to read and understand. Being clear about what you expect makes everyone’s life easier and ultimately leads to higher rates of productivity.

Consider who your talking to and keep things as straightforward as possible. At the end of the day your handbook should be there to help people – not overwhelm them.

Letting the document gather dust 

The world of business changes and adapts every single day.  New legislation is rolled out, light is cast on exciting and innovative ways to get the most out of a workforce, and advances in technology present new challenges.  What works right now isn’t necessarily going to be fit for purpose in the near future.

Before signing off your document as completed, set a date for review. Keeping on top of changes can be a manageable job only if you make sure that you don’t let the grass grow under your feet.  Shockingly, only 2.8% of employers don’t know when they last carried out any reviews or changes – don’t fall into this camp!

Neglecting to seek out a professional opinion 

You wouldn’t finalise your end-of-year accounts without speaking to an accountant, so why should your employment documentation be any different? An HR professional will be able to advise you on anything that you might have missed, unearth any points that could potentially get you into hot water, and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything’s in order.

Ready to seek out some advice that you know you can trust?   Whether you’re starting from scratch with your employee handbook and you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve done the work yourself and just want a second opinion, we can help. Give us a call right away on 07955 588922 for a no-obligation chat about working together.

Forgetting to make sure that every employee has their copy 

Creating a document to be proud of is only the first part of the story.  It isn’t going to make any difference unless you make sure all employees get their copy, and that they’re given time to read through and digest the information. These days, this is easier than ever before.  Many companies decide to distribute their handbooks via email, intranet or their online HR system.

And finally, be sure to lead by example.

  • When’s the last time that you familiarised yourself with the content?
  • Do you have a copy on your desk?
  • Are you confident that you could answer questions about the points that are covered?

If not, consider this your wake-up call!

So what changes will you be making?