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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wakelin

Is your Employee Handbook Effective?

Updated: May 25, 2023

Many employers fail to see the value of their employment policies and procedures, seeing them as something they should have, but do not need. It is surprising how many small employers use a copy of another organisation's employee handbook or a basic online template without tailoring it to their own organisation. They then put it on a dusty shelf, where the content is neither communicated, understood or followed.

Importance of HR Policies

All employees have employment rights in the UK, including making a complaint to an employment tribunal, which can be time consuming and costly for an employer. Tribunal claims can be damaging to the company's reputation and brand, it can increase employee turnover and cause problems when recruiting talent. Poor and inconsistent HR practices can increase absence and poor performance and be the difference between the company's success or failure.

Although many HR policies are not legally required, they do guide employers and employees on the procedures to follow in a broad range of circumstances. They can set out best practice, help employers to comply with employment law and reduce the likelihood of situations deteriorating.

It is, however, important that policies in place are tailored to the employer's industry, size and culture, to ensure that they are fully effective. They should also be regularly reviewed and amended to reflect current legislation and business practices.

Communicating HR Policies & Procedures

Having the best policies and procedures in place, is not enough. Employers need to ensure they are followed consistently throughout the business, regardless of where an employee works or their seniority within the organisation.

To do this, policies should be communicated effectively and supported by relevant training for all employees, including managers. Policies and procedures are often communicated electronically, however, it is important that records are kept to ensure that employees have not only received, but understand them. This will allow employees to be held accountable for following procedures put in place and relevant action can be taken should an employee fail to follow them.

SWan HR Consultancy (London & Kent)

SWan HR is an HR consultancy that specialises in HR support for small to medium sized businesses in the South East.

"Where HR Succeeds, the Business Achieves"

SWan HR was founded by Susan Wakelin, MCIPD, who is a qualified HR professional with over thirty years' experience, from setting up, auditing and improving HR functions to management coaching and supporting organisations through difficult situations, transformation and change.

SWan HR provides a broad range of tailored HR services including an HR audit, HR advice, HR outsourcing, HR coaching and project work for all businesses.

Free HR Consultation

Contact Susan Wakelin now to take advantage of our free half-hour consultation to talk through your initial HR concerns and how you can manage these going forward.

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