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Developing An Employee Handbook That Your Employees Will Read, Elrona D'Souza


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The seminar will cover areas of improvement in handbooks as well as focus on a communication strategy for either new or revised handbooks. Learning outcomes are as below
• How to create/review handbooks
• Reviewing what areas should be handbook and what should be a policy or process
• Management Review/Presentation/Approval
• Launch of the handbook
• Communication Strategy
• Follow-up on success

This presentation was used at HR Summit and Expo 2013

Published in: Business, Technology
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Developing An Employee Handbook That Your Employees Will Read, Elrona D'Souza

  1. 1. Developing An Employee Handbook That Your Employees Will Read 8 October 2013 13.45 – 14.30
  2. 2. LEARNING OUTCOMES • Differentiate between handbook, policy and employee contract • Need for an employee handbook • Create an employee Handbook • Tips for writing and seeking approval • How to launch the handbook • Managing an employee handbook
  3. 3. What fits in where? Contract Policy – ‘What to’ •Primary and binding Document •Mutually Agreed and modified •Rights and Obligations by Law i.e. working conditions •States compensation, Entitlements and benefits •Formal statement of a principle or rule Codified Decisions •Addresses what’s important to organization's mission or operations. •Articulates expectations •Legal Compliance Procedure – ‘How to’ •Complements a policy •Tells the organization how to carry out a policy •Facilitates implementation of a policy. Employee Handbook- where to? •A comprehensive source for understanding the practices of the organization •Summary of applicable policies and procedures •General information
  4. 4. What is it? Employee Handbook • Statement of policies • Reliable guide & source of information • How business is conducted • Accessible and applicable to all employees • Clarifies behavioral expectations by all stakeholders • Can support an employee agreement pack
  5. 5. Why do we need it? Set Expectations Legal Compliance • Predictability of outcome • Supportiveness as an employer • Consistency • Areas if flexibility • Holds employee accountable • No legal requirement but good to manage risk • Clarify application of law • Protects from Lawsuits and labour disputes • Clarify Employee rights and obligations • Fair and transparent disciplinary
  6. 6. Contd- Why do we need it? - Support Culture • Reliable communication tool • Sets and promotes cultural tone • Useful for orienting employees • Documents Practices • Provides fairness, transparency and clarity • Useful retention tool HR Benefits • Minimise exceptions and deviations • Saves management time spent on clarifying expectations • Eliminates common misunderstandings • Employees independently find answers, supporting confidentiality
  7. 7. What should be in it? Should Include • Introductions • Relevant Policy Statements • Employee Behavioural Policies • Employee Compensation & Benefit Policies • Leaves and Absences • Performance Management • Employee Acknowledgement • Company Disclaimer- Reserve the right to revise
  8. 8. Handbook gone wrong? Be warned • Who writes the handbook? – pref HR or lawyer • Is it legally compliant? • Don’t let it be outdated • Employee Behavioural Policies- Social Networking • Don’t forget to roll out with a bang
  9. 9. How to write it? Tips for Writing a handbook Designate a person Create a table of contents and seek approval Write in a less formal style and keep it positive Keep to the timeline Relevant policies summarized with key reference and access points Understand contribution from other stakeholders Let legal statements be reviewed or written by legal Avoid jargons, specific words, vague words, acronyms, short forms, contact names Keep a wiggle room
  10. 10. Will they read it? Tips for keeping it interesting First person – instead of third person Keep it positive – Highlight purpose Make it visual and appealing Use an accessible platform – intranet Use mutually beneficial statements Good judgment policy
  11. 11. How to seek approval? Establish a need for a handbook Tips for Approval Begin with Proposal -Seek commitment, support and willingness prior to preparation Issue Draft level in stages Apply company process for approvals Legal approval is advised
  12. 12. How to communicate it? Tips for launching a handbook Seek senior management champions Create anticipation- early promos, watch this space, etc Size of the company will determine best approach What are the formal/ informal meetings in place?- Townhalls, Breakfasts, etc Hard Copy Vs Electronic Copy or both?- select a suitable and accessible medium Prepare a presentation with key highlights – noteworthy and exciting Avoid large distribution channels- email, broadcast, etc An FAQ Document may come in handy? At the end- collect the acknowledgement statements Follow-up on success- reinforcement
  13. 13. How to Manage it? Tips for managing a handbook Designate a person, focal point or a communication mailbox Accumulate the queries New Handbook- may need a few quick fixes Set a regular review- every 2 years/growth dependent/law Supporting document Changes Addendums Transformation or Significant Change- may need a full review and re-launch