Why employers need an employee handbook

Gemma O'Connor - Services and Operations Manager

March 22 2023

First published: March 22nd 2023
Last updated: March 22nd 2023

One of the most common queries we receive here at Peninsula relates to Employee Handbooks.

Many business owners either don’t have an Employee Handbook at all or may have one that hasn’t been updated for many years.

Here we take a look at the key benefits of having an up-to-date Employee Handbook that helps your business comply with employment laws.

How your Employee Handbook helps your business

Your Employee Handbook is your first line of defence against employee claims.

A well-drafted set of policies and procedures helps prevent workplace conflict from arising in the first place and will also support your defence if a HR issue leads to litigation.

If you take the time to provide your staff with a thorough review of your Employee Handbook during an induction or on-boarding process, both you and your employees will be in a much better position to address any workplace issues that arise.

To really maximise the usefulness of your Employee Handbook, you should also schedule regular reviews along with training or informational sessions to deal with staff queries.

What’s in an Employee Handbook?

The short answer is that your business’s policies and procedures should be in your Employee Handbook.

Many of these policies and procedures are required by law while others help make sure everyone is clear on certain day-to-day operational issues.

Some common polices include:

  • Grievance policy and procedures
  • Disciplinary policy and procedures
  • Absence policy
  • Annual leave
  • Family-related leave
  • Dress Code
  • Right to Search
  • Probation periods
  • Notice periods
  • Equality
  • Dignity and Respect
  • Email, internet and telecommunications use
  • Confidentiality
  • Data protection

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Take the opportunity to showcase your culture and values

The Employee Handbook is a central resource that sets out practical details of how to manage key aspects of the employment relationship.

In addition to this practical benefit, the Employee Handbook also provides you with an opportunity to put your organisation’s culture and values down in black and white.

As the Employee Handbook is likely to be a new hire’s first port of call if they are unsure about anything, you can make a good first impression if the employee appreciates the tone, values and content expressed in your handbook.

What is the benefit of having an Employee Handbook?

The Employee Handbook is an important tool in demonstrating that your business complies with current employment laws. A well-drafted Employee Handbook should be tailored to suit the particular needs of a business operating in your specific industry and address any sector-specific compliance issues.

If legal or HR issues do come up from time to time, referring to the Employee Handbook allows you to apply a consistent approach to resolving any employee disputes and help you defend any workplace-related claims that might arise.

As well as ticking legal boxes, the Employee Handbook is a useful document to educate staff about the culture, mission and aspirations of your business. Once a new member of staff has reviewed your Employee Handbook, they should develop a better understanding of whether or not they will be a good fit in your organisation and whether their values align with your own organisational values.

Make your Employee Handbook work for your business

Peninsula’s HR Documentation Consultants will work with your business to find out exactly what to include in your Employee Handbook.
To begin tailoring your Employee Handbook to ensure it’s just right for your business, call your Peninsula HR expert today on 1800 719 216.

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