3 Reasons Why You Need Employee Handbooks In Your Business

An employee handbook is one of the most crucial pieces of HR documentation that a business needs. This document is given to employees at induction, and it contains a company’s policies, culture, and what is expected behaviour and performance from staff in the workplace. 

An employee handbook is tailored for your business. It’s written to address the specific needs of your business, as well as the industry you operate in. One organisation’s employee handbook isn’t interchangeable with another’s. Every business is unique– so are employee handbooks. 

Let’s explore 3 reasons why employee handbooks are important in your business.

Reason 1: Employee handbooks promote transparent communication

Employee handbooks contribute to clear communication in your workplace. They provide clarity to employees (both old and new) about what is acceptable and what’s not in your workplace. Your company’s values and standards are also outlined in an employee handbook, providing an insight to employees about the workplace they’re moving in. 

Having an employee handbook also means that employees can refer to the handbook as a quick reference guide for various policies and procedures. This saves time for both employees and HR personnel or management. This accessibility helps maintain consistency in decision-making and application of policies.

Transparent communication is achieved when there’s consistency throughout, and consistency is something employee handbooks provide to a business. Think of your handbook as a standardised set of rules and policies that apply to every employee in your business. Having an employee handbook demonstrates your fair treatment of your staff and helps you create an equitable work environment. 

Reason 2: Employee handbooks help you achieve legal compliance and mitigate risks

Employment laws and regulations can be quite complex, and in addition to that, new changes are constantly happening in the Australian employment landscape. An employee handbook can help ensure that your business is in compliance with the current laws. 

Well-crafted handbooks play a part in protecting your business from legal liabilities. They’re documents that can be updated to reflect changes in labour laws, regulations, or company policies. 

A handbook that clearly lays out and addresses legal requirements when it comes to the workplace policies and safety regulations you have in place fulfils your obligation as an employer in making your staff aware of the consequences of not adhering to these policies. 

Common policies in employee handbooks:

  • Dress Code
  • Personal Mobile Phone Usage
  • Remuneration
  • Superannuation
  • Work Hours & Additional Hours
  • Public Holidays
  • Remote Working Policy
  • Resignation or Termination Policy
  • Leave Policy
  • Performance Management Policy
  • Bullying, Discrimination, and Harassment Policy
  • Drug & Alcohol Policy
  • Smoking Policy
  • Social Media Policy and others.

Of course, as we mentioned above, employee handbooks and the policies they contain are tailored towards your organisation’s needs. Some businesses might need a Company Vehicle policy, some might not. It’s important to remember to include all policies that are applicable to your staff, and the reverse is true—make sure any policies that cannot be applied to your employees aren’t in your handbook. 

Reason 3: Employee handbooks are a great resource in onboarding and orientation of new employees

We highly recommend that you go through your employee handbook with new hires as part of their induction or onboarding process. Doing this lets you manage employee expectations from the start. What can they expect from you when it comes to, say, training and professional development?

It’s a great resource when onboarding new employees—an employee handbook is a reflection of your business’s commitment to ensuring new hires get an overview of the business as a whole. It demonstrates to new hires that they can take an active role in understanding and upholding company policies, right from the start. 

Employee handbooks are an essential HR document for every business

Employee handbooks are part of the documents that make up a company’s HR foundations. Having an employee handbook in your business is non-negotiable. Employee handbooks help you promote clear and transparent communication within your workplace, help employees and new hires get acquainted with an overview of your company, and help you remain compliant with the law. 

When was the last time you updated your employee handbook? Are its contents still aligned with your company’s values today? Are the policies in it still applicable to your team, or does it need updating? If you’ve thought about reviewing and updating your current employee handbook, or even creating a new one that reflects your company’s goals, now is the time to speak to our team. We take the headache out of HR and specialise in ensuring your employee handbooks are compliant with the law and reflect your business’ identity as a whole. Let us know how we can help!