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The Golden Rules of your Employee Handbook

View profile for Howard Robson
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As an owner of a business you will understand that your employees are one of the most, if not the most, important asset to your business. They control relationships with your clients, productivity and consequently profits, as well as the promotion of your business.

These are all reasons why keeping your staff content is crucial, and if a situation arises where there is a problem, having an up to date and complete employee handbook is an essential way to support your decisions and procedures, and potentially keep you away from an Employment Tribunal.

While there are many elements to an employee handbook, Howard Robson, highlights here the 5 essential ingredients for every employee handbook:

 1. The Disclaimer

The disclaimer should clearly state that the handbook is not a contract of employment. This will prevent former employees from suing you for a breach of contract in respect of provisions in the handbook at a later date.

 2. Company Goals and Mission Statement

If anything is going to dampen a new employee’s spirit, endless pages of company rules will certainly do the trick. Start on a good footing and show employees that they are part of something bigger. By laying out the company goals and mission statement at the beginning employees feel a sense of purpose and duty and are more likely to take company policies to heart if you instil company morale first.

3. Discrimination Policies

You must be clear here that your company has absolutely no tolerance for harassment or discrimination. Outline ways for employees to voice complaints, and different individuals who workers can turn to with concerns. Define a clear procedure for employees as well as your obligations as an employer.

4. Disciplinary Policies

This is by no means the most popular section, but it is essential for a well-functioning company. Define employee misconduct and explain the consequences of such actions, but do not lock yourself into a plan of action by using absolute statements. Outline the right to judge events on a case-by-case basis, but ensure wording demonstrates consistent treatment of staff.

5. Problem-Resolution Procedure

By spelling out the standard procedures for any employee with work-related grievances, issues will be resolved quickly, allowing employees to work more productively. It also sends a good message to employees, letting them know that you care about the comfort and satisfaction of their jobs.

And Finally…

Introduce the handbook making sure you consider your employees’ reactions. Handing your workers a book full of rules may send the message that you don’t trust them or that they are not responsible enough to act appropriately without being told what to do. Make sure you introduce the book as a step forward for your company, a way to ensure that the company and employees are protected, and that future workers will live up to the expectations that current employees have set. Training your key Managers on how to use the handbook is also an essential step in the implementation day to day management.

If you have any questions about your employee handbook, or you’d like to find out how you can keep these up to date with any changes in employment law, then contact Howard or the team on 02380 717478 or visit their section of the website here to view their video.


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.