If you have decided that now is the ideal time to review the existing HR practices in your business and consider what improvements can be made, one step is to implement a staff handbook, if you do not already have one.

A staff handbook sets out what is expected of your staff as well as stating their rights. A number of different policies and procedures can be included within your handbook. Examples include a flexible or remote working policy, grievance procedure, disciplinary procedure, capability procedure, social media policy, IT and communications policy, equal opportunities policy and whistleblowing policy in addition to numerous others. Additional bespoke policies can also be drafted to meet the specific needs of your business.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on the workplace. Numerous businesses have adapted the way in which they choose to operate with flexible working and remote working now commonplace for many. With these changes comes a need for businesses to review their staff handbooks and add or update the relevant policies.

Here are five reasons you should implement a staff handbook:

  1. Set the standards you expect from your staff – A staff handbook sets out clear expectations including how your staff should behave, what they should wear and how they should manage confidential information, social media and IT systems.

  2. Ensure the smooth running of your business – Policies and procedures help you manage your business’s reputation (social media policy) and manage workflow (procedure for reporting sickness absence and booking annual leave).

  3. Save managers’ time – A well written staff handbook is a great reference tool for a manager when facing a particular situation. It will also assist managers in answering staff queries and will enable them to refer to a relevant policy or procedure that applies to the particular situation a member of their team is enquiring about to ensure issues are dealt with properly

  4. Treat staff consistently – Applying the same processes to every member of staff avoids lengthy grievances being raised alleging unfair treatment.

  5. Helps successfully defend certain claims against your business – Certain policies such as equal opportunities, whistleblowing, disciplinary, grievance and health and safety where properly implemented can be used to assist in the defending employment tribunal claims.

If you already have a staff handbook in place, this should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is fit for purpose and up to date.

We are currently offering a free review for employers of their employment contracts and staff handbooks for a limited period. To request your review, please complete our online form and a member of the team will get in touch with you.

If you require any further advice on staff handbooks please contact Farleys’ expert Employment & HR solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or get in touch by email.