Importance of maintaining an Employee Handbook

January 13, 2020

Undoubtedly, Employee Manual is one of the most important tools for managing employer and employee relations.

Delivering clear and complete information about the organization, its culture, and processes can be achieved through a well-written and engaging employee handbook. It introduces the new employees to the organization’s culture and explains how they would fit in. It also ensures consistency in actions and decisions resulting in harmonious workplace relations while reducing legal risks and statutory non-conformity.

 

Benefits of a Well-Drafted Employee Handbook

 

While this can be an overwhelming task, developing an employee handbook brings significant tangible benefits. For one, a well-written handbook provides employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. It also serves as a guideline for standard operating procedures and defines service level agreements within the organization. A clearly defined authority matrix also lets employees know who they need to approach to get approvals and solutions for their requests.

 

An employee handbook helps in enforcing organization values and culture within the group. It also sets up objectives and leadership style of the company by defining how decisions are taken within the organization. The handbook also defines organizational best practices to foster healthy management-employee relationships.

 

On one hand, the handbook illustrates important employment parameters such as performance management, hours of work and pay periods. It also provides staff with details on their benefits such as leave, medical, and maternity entitlements, which ensures clarity on their expectations.

 

The policies are effective only if they are practiced consistently. Employee handbook accurately communicates the organization’s policies regarding employment, conduct and behavior, compensation and other policies and procedures a staff needs to follow. The handbook also serves as a process and information reference for managers while answering their staff’s questions or in making decisions, to ensure that their actions are consistent with the organization’s policies and practices.

 

An employee handbook is the single most detailed documents enlisting all employee benefit programs running in the company, in absence of a robust employee handbook, organizations often fail to communicate its full suite of benefits which makes these programs fall short of their potential to engage the beneficiaries.

 

A well-drafted employee handbook serves as a document of high significance when employers face a labor complaint, lawsuits, or similar challenges from a current or former employee. In such cases, a thoroughly drafted employee manual provides the organization,  its representatives, and even third-party a proof that the company exercised reasonable care towards its employees. The employee’s signed acknowledgment page will show that the employee had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the organization’s policies, had a chance to ask related questions, knew whom they could turn to for help within the organization, and agreed to follow the terms and conditions of their employment. If the employee manual is drafted in line with prevailing statutory laws and the policies and processes are followed by Managers and HR Department precisely as prescribed in the handbook, organizations have a better chance of defending itself against unjust claims.

 

Things to Note while Preparing Your Employee Handbook:

Here are a couple of things to consider when crafting your handbook:

  • The handbook should be straight-forward and drafted in simple language.
  • The handbook should be periodically updated to incorporate changes in the laws. An outdated employee handbook will not help in defending an employer against labor cases.
  • Avoid including policies and procedures that the company does not adhere to. Overstating and underdelivering is among top employee disengagement factors.
  • The handbook should provide employees with reference and location of more detailed information. For example, a brief Environmental, Health and Safety policy may be part of the employee handbook, but it should also provide information to the reader where detailed policy is available.

 

Nathan & Nathan holds an extensive experience and knowledge in developing Employee Handbook for a diverse set of clients.

 

Need help in developing an engaging employee handbook for your company?

 

Contact us.

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