What is an employee handbook?
Employee Handbook is a document prepared by a company or organization specifically for their employees.
It usually spells out the terms and conditions of the employment in the company or organization.
The hand book serves as the holy book of the company outlining the followings:
1. The mission of the company or organization.
2. Some will also include the vision of the company.
3. Policies, rules and regulations of the company are also included.
4. Terms and conditions of employment.
5. Codes of conducts.
6. Staff benefits.
Why is an employee handbook so important to the company?
for any new employee who just join a company, a good employee handbook will help him to acclimatize to the company faster.
A good Human Resource staff will save a lot of times if they have prepared a good employee handbook.
By giving a copy of the book for the newly hired, the recruit will understand the company better and know the culture of the company.
The newly hired will understand what benefits and what are the terms of the employment. In the nut shell, he knows what he is getting into.
Failure to have a comprehensive employee handbook
most of the time, companies do not see the need to have a handbook prepared.
They only realize how important and useful the handbook is when there is pressing issue on staffs matters, dispute in employee relation.
Some companies soon realize without a comprehensive employee handbook, there is something missing, such as company culture, organized
What are the purposes of the employee handbook?
1. Outlining the company’s vision and mission and value.
A company usually has its own vision and mission, some companies even have their value stated.
A good place to record the vision, mission and value of the company will be in the employee handbook.
By stating these in the handbook, the employees, especially the new recruits will be able to understand and buy in to the culture of the company.
2. Means to communicate to staffs of the company’s policies and procedures.
Instead of issuing the company’s policies and procedures separately and in piecemeal method, by having the policies and procedures included in the handbook, will be a better avenue to keep track of the various policies and procedures the company.
now and then a company may issue a policy or update its policy and the handbook is a better place to keep track of the changes.
3. Guidelines for company to ensure consistent enforcement of policies.
For a company to implement its policies and regulations consistently, it is easier if the handbook is readily available to record and indicate all the policies and regulations, whenever a decision needs to be made, the management can always refer to the handbook.
4. Benchmark for employees performance and appraisal.
In a handbook, company can always outline its staffs performance and appraisal benchmark. In the handbook also, usually one can note the grades of the staffs and what positions they can look forward to in terms of career advancement in the company.
5. Serve as the code of conducts for employees.
Usually the code of conduct is outlined in the handbook, any grievances and discipline issues can be referred to in the handbook.
For any employee who has violated the Codes of Conduct, the handbook is the right place to find out what action can be taken.
6. Avoidance of ambiguity of policies and regulations of the company.
When in doubt, refer to the handbook, that is what the management needs to do, so are the employees of the company.
Points of Pitfalls of Handbook to avoid.
1. Update the handbook regularly.
It is important that a handbook has to be updated regularly and those replaced sections should be deleted and removed from the handbook.
2. Avoid making the handbook becoming a cumbersome document.
A good handbook must be very effective communication tool, therefore it is important that it is not a cumbersome and thick document, usually when it is too thick, one tends to discard reading it.
3. Make policies which are easy to enforce.
Management must make sure the policies made are easily enforceable and not one which is too details and people have problem understand it.
it is better it can be written in plain language instead of having all the legal jargon.
4. Review and amend outdated policies to keep up with times.
with the changes of times and advancement of technology, management must update and review the contents of the handbook, so that the company has an updated version of the handbook.
5. Have separate sub hand book to cover relevant topics.
instead of putting all the topics in one thick handbook, management can try to separate the various topics and have sub handbook for ease of reference.
Management may want to consider having separate documents for the following:
a. Codes of Conducts.
b. Safety procedures.
c. training manual.
d. appraisal and recruitment procedures.
by having a separate document, the employees can refer to the relevant books for whenever they face some issues and the documents can be easily accessible by all staffs.
Finally it is important to make sure the company has a handbook which is in compliance with the government laws and regulations on employments, and managements.