If you ever find yourself asking: “Why do I even need an employee handbook to begin with?” – don’t!

Employee handbooks are more than listing policies and complying with procedures. The best-crafted employee handbooks serve as a reminder about the company’s vision, purpose and mission.  Furthermore, they act as a central point of reference to help employees at each stage of their career.

This article discusses what an employee handbook is and why they are so important, as well as some general tips to ensure you come up with a great one.

What is an employee handbook?

  • Firstly an employee handbook provides a detailed overview of the company policies you have in place
  • Secondly it documents the key guidelines and procedures for your employees to follow
  • Thirdly, the benefits of following them.

In addition, it sets fairly clear and transparent expectations for the employees.  It also sheds light on the company’s legal obligations and explaining employee rights.

Why do you need it?

Firstly your employee handbook sets out clear roles and responsibilities for your employees.  In addition, your employee handbook protects your business against any lawsuits or claims your employees might make. These can include discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, asking to do work outside the actual scope of the job or position, etc. Furthermore, your handbook is a critical document which introduces the business to newly hired employees.  This provides insights into your mission, vision and goals, and helping them understand your underlying culture and values.

Therefore, a thorough and well-written employee handbook creates transparency and consistency across your business.  In addition it helps you steer clear of any sticky situations. If you’re not sure how you and your company can benefit from one, here are some genuine reasons to consider:

  • Introduces your culture, mission, vision and values to your employees.  They can then work around these.
  • Clarity of communication to your employees about their role and what’s expected of them.  No more time waiting, second-guessing what they must do on a day-to-day basis.
  • Educates employees on what to expect from your management and leadership.  This means no communication barriers or other shortcomings in terms of delivering results.
  • Helps with consistent and clear communication of your main company policies.  This creates a culture of “best practices” in all those who come aboard.
  • Showcases the key benefits you’re offering.  This builds your reputation, and encourages people to work for you.
  • Ensures full compliance with local and federal laws.
  • Helps defend against false, unsubstantiated or wrongful employee claims.
  • Acts as a point of reference for employees should they need help with anything.

Tips on writing a great employee handbook

  • Keep it really short, simple, reader-friendly and to the point.
  • Use the appropriate language and avoid technical jargon wherever possible.
  • Review and rewrite company policies in simple and concise language.
  • Use a personalised tone as if directly talking to the employee.
  • Add images and videos where necessary.
  • Create an interesting and digestible format.

Still wondering why you need one? An Employee Handbook is a critical tool to have in your arsenal .

Conclusion

Understanding about Employee handbooks, what, why and how is vital if you have employees.  This can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be that way!   In this vlog I've broken this down and made it accessible.

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