staff handbook
Andrew Dane

Your Staff Handbook is an important tool

The importance of an up-to-date Staff Handbook cannot be overemphasised. The company staff need to know the rules of the company in which they work, they also need to know the basis and justification for these rules {policy} as well as what they and others are expected to do {procedures}

Staff Handbooks are important for managers and supervisors_._ They provide proof that the staff are aware of the rules of the company they are being asked to uphold, and include information about obligations accepted by the company. The Staff Handbook is therefore a fundemental tool to help managers run the company smoothly and efficiently.

Definition

Staff Handbooks cover general policies and outline procedures and are informal in style. They provide guidance and information and are read in conjunction with the Statement of Main Terms of Employment.

Using a Staff Handbook

Staff Handbooks are used:-

  • as a source of reference
  • as a means of communicating
  • as an aid to induction
  • to comply with statutory requirements

In addition to the staff having their individual Handbook many companies have a copy specifically produced for supervisors and managers as an up-to-date reference document. These contain information on such subjects as; conducting a discipliniary interview and dealing with a poor sickness record.

Staff Handbooks need to be kept current and be amended as employment legislation changes, normally each April and October.

Benefits

Staff Handbooks offer an opportunity for companies to make a clear statement of what is important, and its culture and values. They can be a significant aid to induction, because they provide consistent, clear information that a new employee of the company can read at a time convenient to him or her.

The thorough research involved in preparing a Staff Handbook leads to a vast amount of information, which can become unwieldy unless properly managed. The Staff Handbook is an ideal reference tool to simplify matters.

Organisations should introduce Staff Handbooks with the following in mind

  • A Staff handbook provides a means whereby every member of staff receives the same information in the same format
  • A Staff Handbook helps to assure everyone that people will be treated fairly and equally
  • Inconsistent and discriminatory practices are discouraged
  • A Staff Handbook will also support supervisors and managers in enforcing company requirements and procedures and help minimise the potential for unhealthy disputes between managers, supervisors and staff
  • Staff Handbooks are tangible evidence of the company’s commitment to being a good employer
  • Clear policies and procedures help to avoid costly Employment Tribunal claims and improve staff relations

Staff Handbooks, designed and specifically produced for individual companies in diverse industries are particularly useful and prove to be very cost-effective method of improving staff relations and at the same time being legally compliant.

The aim is to provide a format and content that is best suited to the culture and values of individual companies and industries. An off-the-peg version that is cold and impersonal may contain most statutory requirements but does not address the specific and unique issues in individual companies and industries.

If you require further information about the value and benefits of a well written Staff Handbook for your organisation in any industry, please contact me and I will respond promptly.

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