Employee handbook tips for businesses
An employee handbook is an important part of any business.
It allows business owners and managers to clearly set out expectations, roles, and responsibilities.
These will define both sides of the relationship between a business and its members of staff.
When written and used well, a handbook can ensure that everyone is on the same page about everything.
It will cover areas from dress codes and behaviour to benefits, sick leave, professional development and more.
So how can you create a handbook that provides value for your business and makes things clear for employees and managers alike?
Read on to find out.
Start with employee responsibilities
This will make up the majority of the information you’d expect to find in an employee handbook.
At its core, it is a document that guides employees through their roles and how to perform them. It outlines what you expect from them, and gives them a clear idea of how to achieve their goals.
Typical procedures like clocking into work, taking breaks, handling customers should be covered. Each role should also have a list of its expected duties, as well as anything else they may be asked to do.
Safety considerations and rules should definitely be included too, both from the viewpoint of ensuring your employees are safe and covering your business legally if an accident does occur.
When it comes to outlining the tasks you expect employees to perform, include the step by step instructions and best practices you want them to follow to complete the job successfully.
Define your responsibilities as an employer
Employment is a two-way deal. Your employees are trading their time and expertise for the salary and other benefits you offer them.
But there’s more to it than that. Businesses are expected to look out for their employees, provide them with a safe working environment, equip them with the tools to do their jobs, and more.
Anything that your employees can expect from you should be outlined in this section. Give them clear information on how they will be paid, trained, and managed.
As part of this, you should outline your chain of command or organisational structure, so that employees understand who is responsible for certain tasks.
For example, payroll is likely to be handled by a senior or specialist role within your business, but you might appoint a time-off manager to handle leave requests. Ensure they know who to go to if they have questions or concerns in certain areas.
Add key info for accidents and emergencies
Things go wrong. Your business is best placed to recover from mishaps, minor or major, if your employees know how to react and respond.
As well as briefly covering the bigger disasters that could befall your business (your default here should be to advise that they call emergency services), consider the smaller day-to-day things that could go wrong.
What should they do if a customer slips and hurts themselves? If public transport is cancelled? If the power goes out?
This is particularly important if there will be times when your business is operating without you present on site. Can the company still run smoothly and overcome minor hiccoughs without you?
Divide it into sections
Once you’ve covered all the most pertinent information, divide it into related sections so that employees can quickly find what they’re looking for. Colour-coding pages can help with this, though we recommend leaving formatting for later in the process.
Include a table of contents to make it easier for people to see at a glance where to find the right section.
Your existing employees should already have a good understanding of how your business operates. Ask them to review a draft employee handbook and point out any areas where clarifications or changes are needed.
They will be particularly useful when it comes to defining the step-by-step process of certain tasks. Is there a more efficient way they could be transporting stock, cleaning areas, or dealing with customers?
Ensure your handbook reflects the reality of your business, but don’t be afraid to include aspirational elements as well.
If there’s a better method that your employees should be using, get their take on whether it’s feasible and what they need from you to make it happen.
Include space for employees to sign
It’s important to have space for employees to sign that they agree to the contents of the handbook and understand it. This will cover you in case of disagreements or accidents, as well as highlighting who will need to review any changes to the handbook in the future.
Make sure employees know where to find it
Your handbook should be easily accessible to employees that have questions or concerns. Making it a part of your onboarding process will ensure that new starters are aware of it and understand what’s covered.
With everyone on the same page, your business is set to be more cohesive and productive than ever.