An employee handbook or a staff handbook is a book that is given to all the employees of the firm by the employer. The employee handbook or staff handbook contains all the information an employee might want to know about the company’s procedures and policies.
An employee handbook does the following for your company…
- It consists of a written documentation of the organization’s rules and regulations.
- It lays out the duties, responsibilities and privileges for the staff and he management.
- It improves the communication between the management and the staff
- It can potentially provide protection to the organization, should an employee choose to take legal action against the company.
- It saves the company’s time, money and other resources.
Most companies have a plenty of rules and regulations in place for their employees, such as whether it is permissible to smoke in the office premise, how often the employees are allowed to go on a leave, who should the employees report to work as they arrive at the office and so on.
Often, there are many rules and regulations at an organization that the employees are not familiar with. In fact, sometimes even the human resource depart isn’t familiar with some the policies of the organization either. So when there is an issue that needs to be resolved, the employer, management and the human resources director try to figure out the rules as they go along.
This is not the smart way to handle things in an organization. There could be a lot happening in the company, which are not in compliance with the rules stated by the government. The management is often caught sleeping when a major violation takes place because of an employee’s actions – because of which the management is held accountable by the authorities. Such things happen because nobody in the company was aware of a regulation, or because, the concerned policy or rule wasn’t communicated to them.
That’s why having an employee handbook or a staff handbook can make such a difference. What an employee handbook does is to allow the management to quickly resolve an issue or a dispute as and when it emerges. The staff handbook provides a means of reference for both the management and the staff when disputes occur – as they are bound to, from time to time, in an organization.
Employee handbooks are not easy to develop – they take time and patience. But once fully developed, a staff handbook acts as a valuable guide to an organization policies and procedures for years to come.
When employees have the staff handbook with them, they don’t have to turn to other members of the staff or the management to look for solutions to their problems – they will find what they are looking for in the employee handbook itself. All the answers to their questions are correctly stated, so that there’s no confusion of any sort.
There are so many questions that an employee may have. For example, they may want to know about the vacation time policy and if they will be allowed to go on a trip to Spain, and if so, for how many days. They may want to know about the procedure related to applying for a family medical leave, or the policies related to travel reimbursement.
The staff handbook answers questions such as whether it is permissible to date someone in the organization, or what constitutes sexual harassment and who to report to if such a serious incident was to occur. The staff handbook also tackles issues such as racial discrimination in the office and what to do if an employee was to experience that from a higher officer or from their coworkers.
The HR staff usually refers to the staff handbook while deciding on a dispute or handling a delicate situation. The staff handbook has all the answers for minor issues, such as how many breaks can an employee take during a workday and for how long, whether they are allowed to have lunch in the office or not, as well as a lot of information on the dress code in the organization.
Major issues such as sexual harassment, racial discrimination or legality may not be adequately addressed in the staff handbook. Even so, the staff handbook does indicate the company policy on such important issues and the actions to be taken if they were to arise.
Finally, an employee handbook saves the organization’s time as more time is spent on doing actual work than on disputes or discussions on the company’s policies, procedures, rules and regulations.