Jacob runs a travel agency which caters primarily to individuals seeking overseas admission. After running the company alone for a few months, Jacob hired Lucia to work in an administrative support role. A few months down the line, Jacob feels frustrated because Lucia has not been performing to his expectations. He periodically tries to tell her where she is going wrong, but she usually perceives his attempts as being overly critical and reacts defensively.
Jacob is confused. he is unwilling to fire Lucia, but he feels she is either incompetent or unable to understand his expectations of her. Lucia in turn feels stressed because Jacob has neither expressed his expectations of her, nor is there any handbook or documentation that could give her insight into his expectations. Jacob seeks legal advice on the way forward.
An Employee handbook provides the organisation with the following benefits.
Introduces employees to your culture, mission and values
Perhaps the most important aspect of your employee handbook is the introduction of new employees to your corporate culture. This helps to foster a sense of pride and belonging, which studies show will help employees become more productive in a shorter period of time.
Communicates to employees what is expected of them
A well-written handbook provides employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The handbook also serves as a compass for the organization’s policies and procedures. For example, it advises employees what the procedures are for requesting time off or a vacation. It advises employees whom they should contact when they have an unscheduled absence (and what the timing should be). It tells employees whom to go to if they have questions about any of the specific policies in the handbook.
The handbook also communicates an employee’s general responsibilities regarding safety, timekeeping and reporting. By providing clear, accessible information, handbooks ensure companies continue moving in the right direction.
Educates employees about what they can expect from management and leadership
An employee handbook provides objectives and leadership styles, as well as management best practices, to foster healthy management-employee relationships. It also outlines logistics, such as timekeeping requirements, hours of work and pay periods.These clearly communicated policies help to eliminate confusion and inconsistencies that result when handbooks are silent on these topics.
Helps ensure key company policies are clearly and consistently communicated
No policy is effective if it is practiced inconsistently. A handbook will accurately communicate your organization’s policies regarding employment, conduct and behavior, compensation and other policies and procedures you follow. Most importantly, managers can refer to the handbook when answering questions or making decisions regarding your policies and ensure their answers and actions are consistent with your policies and best practices.
Showcases the benefits you offer
Does your organization offer vacations, investment plan, health insurance, paid parental leave or other benefits to employees? Make sure they know about these policies and the eligibility requirements by communicating them in the handbook. A robust benefits package can help you retain your best and brightest employees, so be sure they know about your full suite of offerings by communicating these in the handbook.
Ensures compliance with federal and state laws
No matter what state or country you do business in, or how many employees you have, you will be subject to state and federal employment laws. Your handbook not only communicates these various entitlements and obligations to employees, but is useful in demonstrating that your organization strives to be compliant with these regulations. you will want to be sure they understand their rights and obligations .
Helps defend against employee claims
Employers should consider it a matter of when, and not if, they will face a lawsuit or similar challenge from a current or former employee. When this happens, one of the most useful documents you can provide your attorney will be a copy of your handbook.
A thorough and compliant employee handbook will help to show that the organization exercised “reasonable care” towards its employees. The employee’s signed acknowledgement page will show that the employee had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the organization’s policies, a chance to ask related questions, knew whom they could turn to for help within the organization, and agreed to follow the terms and conditions of employment set forth by the organization.
Lets employees know where to turn for help
Ultimately, you want employees to feel comfortable turning to a trusted member of management for help when they want to report workplace violations, obtain workplace-related assistance and get answers to any other questions they may have.When a handbook not only outlines one or two management individuals for an employee to turn to in these situations, but also designates another individual to turn to in the event the employee disagrees with the first decision, they are more likely to keep their complaints in-house, and this is a good thing for employers.