5 Tips on How Businesses Should Manage Staff Handbooks

employeesStaff handbooks are becoming more and more popular with employers. A highly useful tool for the management of employees, staff handbooks serve to define and characterize in detail the relationship between the employer and the employee. They might not be an obligation like contracts of employment, but they can still prove to be vital in situations where the employer needs to assert itself or solve difficulties between employees.

There are ways to make the management of staff handbooks easier and quicker. This article takes a quick look at them.
 

Creating Staff Handbooks

It is generally not a good idea to rely on online templates or to copy other handbooks from other companies when you create your staff handbooks. The handbook is a declaration of what your particular business expects from its employees, with terms specific to your business and the working roles within the business. There may be unique or unusual aspects of your business which require you to create new policies.

Ensure the Legal Minimum is Included

There are a number of employment policies and procedures that by law must be provided to your employees. These may be included in the contract of employment, though it is better not to include all policies in the contract, and instead place them in the staff handbook. Some policies and procedures that are good to include in the staff handbook are disciplinary rules and procedures, health and safety policy and grievance procedures.


Keep Track of Business Changes

Once a company handbook has been created for the first time, the handbook will likely not require many significant additions or alterations. However it is good practice to review the policies and terms laid out in the company handbook whenever the business establishes new working roles or departments.

Distributing Staff Handbooks

Businesses can avoid printing out copies of staff handbooks (including original versions and new versions), and instead make the handbooks retrievable from a place where all employees can access them, such as a company intranet. When new handbook versions are released, the company can then notify their employees to access and review the latest version.

Use Staff Handbook Software

Employer handbook software can make all aspects of handbook creation, management and distribution faster and easier. You save time with comprehensive handbook templates which include all of the legal minimums, and unlike simply downloading templates from the internet, staff handbook software allows you to modify, add and delete handbook sections to cover all of the specific aspects of your business. Management is made easy because the software lets you see and track all of the changes you make, and you can customize the font, formatting and logos until the handbook is truly your own. Some software solutions also allow you to manage the distribution of your handbooks, so you know which employees have read and understood all of those important policies and terms.

Mark Spencer is a BrightContracts.ie  Marketing Specialist, with over 15 years experience in the Marketing field and Direct Marketing Techniques.

Image courtesy edinburghcityofprint

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4 Comments

  1. This is all good information, but I would like to offer a caveat – do not attempt to create a handbook yourself if you have no HR background or training. Engage a consultant with expertise in this field and by all means have the final product reviewed by a competent employment law attorney. Even if you use software as noted in the post, you may still be exposing yourself to litigation if you do not select the policies that meet your state, city or industry requirements. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know in this area of employment law compliance.

    Laws change so frequently, that handbooks should be reviewed at least every 2 years to be sure they are in compliance. They should definitely be reviewed when you reach those thresholds that require additional policies such as 15, 20, 50 and 100 employees.

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