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A good employee handbook can provide the backbone to your business. This is because your handbook can include company policies, its mission statement, vision and values, and any conditions of employment for your employees. This article explains four key benefits of using an employee handbook.

1. Promoting Consistency and Clarity in Company Procedures

Employers often use handbooks to outline the policies and procedures particular to their company. By describing their expectations of employees in the workplace, a great employee handbook can help staff understand their responsibilities. 

For example, your handbook can cover a range of policies ranging including:

  • attendance expectations; 
  • use of company property;
  • procedures for requesting time-off; and
  • employment benefits. 

In the instance where an employee needs to clarify any of the above procedures, they can seek out the information for themselves.

Since an employee handbook details workplace procedures, it can also promote consistency in its application. That is to say, managers and executives in your company can refer to the handbook when answering your employee’s questions or making decisions regarding company policies. Since your business would ideally outline these procedures in your handbook, you can ensure fair treatment to all staff in line with company policies.

2. Empowering Your Employees in the Workplace

Since every workplace uses unique policies and procedures, new employees can find it difficult to approach certain issues. However, having an employee handbook can empower employers as they familiarise themselves with company procedures and follow them accordingly. Of course, you want your employees to feel comfortable approaching their managers if an issue were to arise. Nevertheless, an employee handbook provides a further point of reference in times of need.

Additionally, an employee handbook can clarify who your employees must approach if a certain situation arises. For example, if your employee wishes to report a workplace violation, a thorough handbook can both:

  • detail which management individuals the employee can turn to in these situations; and
  • designate another individual to turn to if your employee disagrees with management’s initial decision.

Ultimately, an employee handbook can ensure that your employees are not in the dark. Indeed, it can empower your staff to follow appropriate company processes.

3. Facilitating a Healthy Company Culture

As mentioned above, employee handbooks can provide a great way to introduce your employees to your company’s mission, vision and values. Often abstract concepts can be difficult to communicate to new employees. However, a company handbook can clearly set out your company goals and mission statements. This will foster a sense of pride and belonging to the workplace and generate a healthy company culture where each employee applies these abstract principles in practice. 

Additionally, the introduction section of your handbook can provide the context for how your business was established. This can be an important way for your employees to identify with your business’ foundational stories and ultimately help them fit in with the company culture.

4. Providing Guidelines of Employment

It is typical for employers to expect their employees to review their employee manual and become familiar with its contents. In some instances, employers might ask their employees to sign a statement that verifies an employee has read and agrees to adhere to the employee handbook. Additionally, this statement might also contain a disclaimer that the employee understands that the handbook’s contents are not a legally binding contract or an implied contract. Rather, they are simply policies and guidelines for the benefit of employees.

Within an employee handbook, you might also include a clause that reserves your right to change the policies and procedures with or without notice. Of course, you should notify your employees of any changes to company policy to promote consistency and clarity within your company procedures.

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Key Takeaways

An employee handbook can:

  • set out clear company procedures for your employees to follow and ensure consistency in the application of these procedures;
  • empower employees to follow appropriate company processes if an issue arises;
  • facilitate a healthy corporate culture by outlining your company’s mission statement and values; and
  • act as a guideline for employment, not a legally binding employment contract.

If you need help with drafting your employee handbook, our experienced employment lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 1300 544 755 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I include in my employee handbook?

Employee handbooks typically contain your company’s mission statement and values, key company procedures and your employees’ obligations in the workplace. Importantly, you should write a handbook to suit your company’s specific needs.

Is an employee handbook the same as an employment contract?

No, they are usually separate documents. Typically an employee handbook is a non-binding document that simply outlines company policies and guidelines. However, you can use your handbook to clarify terms in an employment contract. 

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