For any forward thinking company, an employee handbook is of the utmost importance. Think of it like a corporate Bible, a piece of content that lets workers know what’s required of them. It’s the rule of law, a document that wrests control from the untamed masses, exerting corporate influence and order. Well, something like that.
The handbook should detail your startup’s laws on employee rights, alongside covering things like managerial responsibilities, and company culture. Make sure that all new employees (before signing their contracts) have read and agreed to the content of your company handbook. As your company grows it’s important to make sure that your handbook remains up to date. It should develop and become more sophisticated as your company does.
There are plenty of reasons to have an employee handbook – here are our top 10.
1. Everyone Sings from the Same Hymn Book
Let’s take the religious metaphor a step further. Your corporate ‘holy book’ should contain every bit of information, for every imaginable circumstance.
It will function as a blueprint, a set of rules set down from on high, that keeps everyone in check. It works, too, as employees will be able to relax within the controlled confines of your company culture.
2. Employees Know What’s Expected of Them (And How to Complain Correctly)
It might seem contradictory, but a workplace needs to have clear processes in place to ensure that any problems are dealt with efficiently and fairly. Your employee handbook tells your staff just how to behave. Casual Fridays? Put it in the handbook.
The handbook should clearly state employee rights and responsibilities. Make sure that this is clear, and that everyone knows exactly what’s required of them.
3. Enshrines Company Culture
You’ve worked hard to create your business, but you need more than just ‘workers.’ Your employees need more too, and that’s why company culture is so important.
Note down everything that makes your business what it is. It makes for a better working environment, and people respond better when they know where the line is.
- What do we do that sets us apart?
- How did the company get here?
- What are we passionate about?
4. Tell Employees What they Get in Return
A workplace arrangement is a two way street. Management also has obligations that it has to meet. Your handbook should clearly state what your employees get in return for all of their hard work.
Again, focusing on the benefits, it ensures that your business runs smoothly, but it also lets employees know exactly what they’re entitled to. This should prevent any miscommunication or confusion.
5. Clear and Consistent Rules
This one goes without saying, but it’s so important it’s worth stating anyway.Your company handbook lays out exactly what’s required of all members of staff. If it’s written with skill, it will consistently relay the optimal workplace behaviour to employees.
Don’t assume anything. Make sure that your rule book is clear, actionable, and easily understood. Cover everything now, and avoid potential legal headaches further down the line.
6. Enshrines Employees’ Rights
Workers have basic legal rights. But your company could give them more than what’s obligated. Create a handbook that considers the needs, pain points, and issues that employees face, and provide realistic solutions.
Perhaps your company gives them an extra 15 minute break – write it down. Make sure that your handbook clearly defines employee benefits. This is the sort of stuff that builds loyalty.
7. Lets Employees Know Where to Turn When They Need Help
There’s nothing worse than feeling lost and in need of help, but with no idea of who to turn to. Clearly note down in your handbook the key people in your organisation, and make their responsibilities easily understood.
Happy and contented workers are an ideal. Focus on creating an environment that promotes those traits.
8. Helps Protect Your Business Against Disgruntled Employees
Your handbook should protect your business. It should safeguard you from potential attack from employees. Make sure that your employee handbook is legally watertight.That way, if something goes wrong, or you have a disagreement with an employee, you’re covered.
It’s important to know for sure that your business is protected.[clickToTweet tweet=” An employee handbook is a useful tool and it provides a workplace with a sense of calm.” quote=”All hyperbole aside, an employee handbook is a useful tool and it provides a workplace with a sense of calm. There are processes, things in place that make sure that everyone plays by the same rules.”]
9. Defines all of the ‘Boring’ Stuff
Employees don’t always listen as well as they should. So an employee handbook gives them something to refer to when they need to double check information. This could be about sick days, holiday pay, or whether or not shades and shorts are acceptable workplace attire.
Give them a document that they can check, and you’ll cut down on having to answer the same questions over and over again with new and old employees alike.
10. Social Media, Digital Interactions, and BYOD
Every company is different. Now, with digital technologies so prevalent it’s a fair assumption that your employees will be using social networks, and their own devices, while at work. Your company handbook should be very clear about what the acceptable digital practices are within your workplace.
Remember, you can have fun with this document. It doesn’t have to be dry, boring, and written in legalese. Instead it can be a vibrant piece of content that reflects who you are as a company, and the sort of values that you want to be defined by.
Protect your business, and your employees. Don’t leave it up to chance. Be specific, write everything down, and your business will benefit from a thoughtful piece of writing that considers every potential eventuality.Don’t leave your employees in the dark. Illuminate their workplace obligations with clear, actionable, and fair company rules in your watertight employee handbook.