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Are You & Your Employees on the Same Page?

Company culture is an important starting point for your business- and one that can mean the difference between success and failure. At best, poor culture can result in missed opportunities and staff pulling in different directions.  At worst, poor culture can result in complex and expensive HR issues, impact on reputation and damage to your company’s bottom line. What’s the culture like in your business?

Culture is often set through the Staff Handbook. Most HR professionals recommend that you provide every member of staff with a copy as it ensures employees are familiar with all company policies and procedures from the outset.

A Staff Handbook serves many purposes, yet surprisingly many businesses make the basic error of operating without one – at their cost.

The Handbook You Should Not Live Without

Put simply, a Staff Handbook should contain important information about your company policies and procedures to ensure that every employee fully understands what’s expected of them – in terms of behaviour, protocol and responsibilities.

The Handbook also outlines what actions to take in the event of any grievance or dispute, and what employee entitlements are with regards to things like maternity / paternity leave, sick leave or redundancy.

Protection For Your Business, Security For Your Staff

But despite its importance, many businesses are unsure what should feature in their Staff Handbook. 

The Staff Handbook provides excellent protection for the employer; for example, if a member of staff questioned their rights regarding unauthorised absence, you would be covered if you’d already provided them with the Handbook, which would have outlined the company policies and procedures.

The Handbook also ensures all team members are on the same page – making for a happier, more focused workplace. There’s no room for confusion or ambiguity – everything an employee needs to know is contained within the one document, from expectations of professional behaviour to uniform and sickness policy. The Staff Handbook pulls together these vital documents and policies into one place – you really can’t go without one.

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Expert Knowledge & Support

A high-quality HR professional can support you in creating a strong Staff Handbook unique to your business, values and culture. Whilst there are no hard-and-fast rules about what your Staff Handbook must contain, there are some essentials that our experience as HR experts suggest you to include:

  • Key policies. Equal opportunities, health and safety, drugs and alcohol etc.
  • Key procedures. Disciplinary rules and procedures, grievance procedures, what happens in the event of a dismissal, redundancy procedures etc.
  • Employee rights regarding maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave (these must be in-keeping with current statutory rights).
  • Sickness and absence. Explaining what happens in the event of an authorised or unauthorised absence.
  • Data protection, email and internet policies. Fair usage of internet and email in the workplace, plus protocols relating to the protection of sensitive data.
  • Flexible / at-home working policies. Options, expectations and procedures – if applicable.

You might also want to include information about payment and bonuses, health and insurance benefits and workplace conduct.

Culture Defines What You Do

It is no accident that the leading companies across the world all have strong ethos and mission statements that define their workplace culture. Your Staff Handbook is a great opportunity to share your company’s ethos and mission statement. By outlining your company objectives right from the start you would ensure that all staff share and understand your vision. It provides clear focus about the direction you’re taking as a company and highlights your employee’s vital role in the process.

You may need assistance creating a suitable Staff Handbook for your employees or want help with another aspect of your HR or employment law.
Don’t put your business at risk; contact Harris Law on 01803 861086 today, or book your FREE Harris Law Business MOT here.