10 Essentials For Your Employee Handbook

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It’s one of those things that businesses put off as long as they can. A good handbook is not only time-consuming to put together but must contain all the necessary information it requires. If you forget to include certain details, you could find yourself in a tricky position later on. It’s all about covering your back, as well as settling in your new employees as best you can. You can tinker around with what you include in your handbook to a certain extent, but there are a few necessities. Let’s take a look.

 

General Company Information

 

Most handbooks begin with a general blurb about the company and what it aims to achieve. This is a good way to get your new employee accustomed to the business and how it operates. You can get as extensive as you want in terms of what you include here. Normally, a bit about the company’s history is a good way to get started. Goals and the ethos of the business might come next, followed by a personal message from you directly. You can get quite creative with this.

 

Safety Policies
There are a whole bunch of safety policies that you should have in place when it comes to your business. These need to be documented in the handbook. Possibly the most important of all is your health and safety policy. You must get across your stance on health and safety in the workplace, including any relevant tailored information. This is especially important for businesses that regularly work in dangerous environments. Other policies can surround workplace bullying and data protection, both of which should be included.

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Disciplinary Procedures

 

It’s a requirement of your handbook that you outline the disciplinary procedures properly. If you fail to do this, a disgruntled employee could later point to the handbook as an inaccurate source of information. This could then assist them when claiming in an unfair dismissal case, for example. So, every detail about disciplinary should be outlined in full. You can’t just make it up as you go along – disciplinary actions must follow strict law guidelines. An employment law specialist can help with this if you’re in any doubt.

 

Technology Use Policies

 

There was a time when technology use policies would have been laughed at. These days, they’re an essential part of your handbook’s contents. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, you need to protect the business by strictly prohibiting personal internet usage on company time. You might also have rules in place surrounding company phones and laptops. Also, as mentioned earlier, data protection is yet another very important consideration. Without implementing the right policies, you could just find your data getting into the wrong hands.

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Holiday Entitlements

 

This one is fairly self-explanatory, and it relates to the holiday entitlements that your employees have. Every handbook should make these allowances clear in order to prevent any confusion going forward. Obviously, you’ll need to include the set amount of holiday that employees are allowed. Then, account for any extra entitlements they might get, and who they should contact when requesting holiday. You might have to add a few tailored rules in there about holiday request timings, too.

 

Dress Code & Behavioural Standards

 

This is another necessity that you’ll find in any good handbook out there. Start with the dress code, which you’ll need to be very detailed with. You’re not running a school, but you’d be amazed at how many people dress like a teenager when given the chance! So, be clear with exactly what is expected of your employees, or you’ll have no leg to stand on when they turn up in a hoodie. Of course, behavioural standards relate to how employees should act around the business. To prevent bullying, this should be documented and incorporated into your disciplinary procedure.

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Additional Benefits

 

This is where we get a bit more tailored, and there’s no set structure for what you need to include. However, many companies operate an overtime structure, and this might be a good time to include it. So, make it clear how much employees should be expected to make when doing overtime to avoid any grievances later. Other benefits can include discounts, memberships and bonuses, and they should all be documented. If they’re not in the book, problems can arise.

 

Sickness & Grievance Procedures

 

Every company is required to have both sickness and grievance procedures, and you’ll need to document them as well. Like disciplinary procedures, both these areas can be tricky to get your ahead around from a legal perspective. So, brush up on your knowledge before you go drafting this area of the book. If you don’t follow the law to the letter, this is yet another area where you can get bitten in the backside.

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Payment Information

 

You can’t forget about this! You better believe that a new employee will skip to this section the first time they read the employee handbook. Sorry…all that effort you put into the company description will probably go unnoticed! Handbooks are rarely generated on an individual basis, so you’ll need to be generic with this. Don’t go into specific payment information, but note when employees should expect to be paid. All they want to know is when they’ll get their money, and how many deductions might be taken off it. Get all the relevant information in there.

 

Nondisclosure Policies

 

When you’re working with confidential data, you can’t afford for your employees to go blabbering about it. This is why you need nondisclosure policies. This policy also needs to account for those that leave the company. Sometimes, a business might prevent that person from encouraging others to leave as well. Or, it might have rules about working for an opposing company and sharing secrets.

 

If you have any concerns when drafting your employee handbook, be sure to consult the law. As long as you’re adhering from a legal standpoint, the rest will fall into place. Now, it’s time to get down to work and put that book together!

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Motivating Your Employees Means Putting Them First

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Actively Listen

 

A great habit for any entrepreneur to adopt is that of active listening. When business owners get into the routine of things, it can be all too easy to forget these little things. Yet, it is these little things which, in business, are all about the people. As long as the employees of an organisation feel that they are being taken care of, it is much more likely that everything else will fall into place. It is also true that well looked after employees are more likely to be highly motivated at work. Higher levels of motivation means more work is getting done, and that the work is of higher quality. But how does a business owner ensure that their employees feel genuinely cared for? There is considerable debate surrounding this topic. But following these four pieces of advice is likely to be a good place to start.

 

Be Fair

 

One of the easiest ways to upset people is by treating them unfairly. Whether it’s calculating holidays or the way in which you delegate, you need to make sure you are giving everyone an equal chance. Most of the time, a lack of fairness is a genuine accident. These accidents can easily be avoided by using the right hr system software. This kind of software makes it easier to see the actual data on all these issues. That means that the business owner can see if there is anything untoward going on. Remaining fair is one of the staples of looking after the employees in any line of business.

 

Really make the difference in terms of how the employees feel. If you have a business of your own, always remember that your employees probably have some good ideas to share. It is definitely worth keeping an open door policy for anyone who has an idea on how to improve the company. Beyond that, you should be paying attention to any feedback you are getting about how the business currently operates. As a general rule of thumb, it is sensible to assume that your employees know what they are talking about.

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Allow Freedom Of Choices

 

All entrepreneurs are looking for that one golden solution to fix all of the business’ problems. These are hard to come by, if they exist at all. But there is one simple act which will rapidly improve the state of the business immediately: giving people more choices in their daily work. While it might be tempting to have rigid routines in place across the board, this is not often the best solution for your employees. What is much more effective is to allow them more choices in their work. This will enable a feeling of responsibility and empowerment across the business. It goes without saying that this will cause huge positive changes in your business.

 

Give A Helping Hand With Healthcare

 

Your employees’ well-being is centrally important to the business as a whole. After all, if they are not able to work, then you are going to struggle. With that in mind, make sure you are one of those employers who gives a little back when it comes to healthcare. Even something as simple as a free flu jab every year can make a big difference.

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