One of the most common questions we are asked by business owners when they are in the lucky position of starting to take on board their first employees is a simple one. Well, the question is simple however the answer is not quite so simple.
And the question is this:
“We’re just about to take on our first member if staff, and hopefully our first of many.
What do we need to do?
And when do we or should we need to do it?
I’ve heard that we need an Employee Handbook but we don’t know what needs to be in it”
The simple answer to the question is; “Yes. If you are going to be hiring staff for your business, you need a handbook”
An Employee Handbook sets out from day one what expectations your company has of it’s staff and avoids confusion about how things are to be done. By avoiding uncertainty in personnel issues also gives confidence and pride to your staff about the business they work for and represent and increases overall productivity and motivation.
Now to start, one of the main areas that needs to be considered here is exactly what type of company you are, and by this I don’t mean what industry are you in, but what type of culture do you want to breed and spread amongst your employees.
The answer to whether you need to have a full blown Employee Handbook or whether you can provide more simplified version that covers the man policies and procedures for your business really depends on the answer to the above.
Very often small businesses use the Employee Handbook during the on-boarding process, for new employees to provide them with further information about the business, tell them where local sandwich shops, pubs and amenities are and generally see it as an ‘Introduction to their company’, which will then be supplemented by a general summary of the companies more formal business practices and policies.
Of course, there would still require to be detailed policies and practices backing this up that all employees would need to have access to when they need it, particularly the ones covering the key areas and statutory legislation such as Maternity.
The other option is to have a much more formal, detailed Employee Handbook that your provide to each employee when they join your company that spells out in detail all aspects of businesses policies and practices.
Whichever way you businesses decides to go, the Employee Handbook is without doubt, the best way of communicating your businesses expectations and obligations and implementing them.
They key policy areas that you will want to consider for the makeup of your Employee handbook include:
• Adoption Policy and Procedure
• Alcohol, Drug and other Substance Abuse Policy
• Capability Policy and Procedure
• Data Protection Policy and Procedure
• Disability Policy and Procedure
• Disciplinary Policy and Procedure
• Equal Opportunities Policy
• Flexible Working Policy and Procedure
• Grievance Policy and Procedure
• Harassment Policy and Procedure
• Health & Safety Policy
• Holiday Policy and Procedure
• Maternity Policy and procedure
• Parental Policy and Procedure
• Paternity Policy and Procedure
• Prevention of Illegal Working Policy
• Shared Parental Leave Policy and Procedure (Birth)
• Shared Parental Leave Policy and Procedure (Adoption)
• Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure
• Social Media Policy and Procedure
• Special Leave Policy and Procedure
Whichever path you decide to go down, you must remember to be consistent in the way in which you apply the procedures so that your staff are confident that they will always be treated fairly, no matter what the situation.