Taking on employees can be an exciting next step for your business, but it can also be very daunting. Even though the prospect of building a team who’ll help you grow your business is something you’re looking forward to, the thought of making sure you have all of the necessary policies, documents, and growth structure in place can be a real headache.
This is especially true if you’re already chronically pushed for time and have no experience in employing people.
What are the consequences of employing?
But nevertheless, you worry that if you take people on without everything you need in place, you’re opening yourself, your employees, and your business up to problems down the line. You could be sued, and taken to an employment tribunal, and on top of that, you’ll be running a business where nobody feels protected or sure of their responsibilities.
So what’s the easiest way to comply with all your legal obligations and protect yourself, your employees, and the business?
You could think about putting everything into an employee handbook.
An employee handbook tells employees exactly what to expect, and what is expected of them when they come to work for you.
As well as covering practical details of their employment, an employee handbook also gives you the chance to communicate the values of your business, and that you expect employees to conduct themselves in a way that reflects those values.
Put simply, it’s a great way to set things out clearly right from the beginning.
So there are many benefits of having an employee handbook.
They’re really useful when it comes to communicating information to new employees and helping them get up to speed. A well-written employee handbook can be invaluable to a new starter with a million questions.
They can also free up more time for you, because the more that’s written down clearly in black and white, the less employees will have to come to you for clarification on things.
An employee handbook also allows you to put all of the need-to-know information in one place. Take your policies, for example, and I’m thinking of the ones that your employees definitely need to be familiar with.
Where are they?
Do you have them scattered around in random folders, or are they accessible digitally?
Imagine how much easier having an employee handbook would be, either in print or online, that you and your employees could easily access when needed.
As I mentioned earlier, an employee handbook is also a great way to communicate your values, and where your company stands on certain things.
For example, your bullying and harassment policy gives employees the peace of mind that they’ll be protected if they are ever in that kind of situation at work, and your disciplinary and grievance procedure will help them trust that they will be treated fairly and listened to if problems should ever arise. need-to-know
Finally, let’s not forget the reason you need the right policies and documents in place at all-it gives you, your employees, and the business legal protection. For example, imagine that you have an employee who is consistently performing poorly, taking time off sick, coming in late, and on top of that, they’re harassing a colleague who complained to them about having to pick up the slack.
You’ve really tried with this person. You’ve had several conversations about how they’re going to improve their attendance and performance, and after they failed to do so, you might have given verbal and written warnings.
But nothing has changed and this person is adversely affecting your business.
So you give them notice that you’re letting them go, and they make a remark that they are going to sue you for unfair dismissal.
They may claim that they were never aware of the rules around attendance or performance, but you’ll have your clearly written policies to refer to, as well as proof that the employee has a copy too, of course. This will provide you with the basis of a very good defence if you should need to use it.
So what should you include in an employee handbook?
You should begin with an overview of the business, and communicate your values and goals.
This is your chance to show new employees how you like to do things, what you expect from them, and what they can expect from you as an employer.
Next, it’s important to include health and safety information. Looking after the health and safety of your employees is one of your most important obligations as an employer. There should be information on what to do in the event of an emergency or accident, as well as what the fire safety and first aid arrangements are.
It’s also important to include information on pay and benefits, as well as details of entitlement to paid leave including sick leave, holiday pay, and maternity pay.
A code of conduct is another important addition to any good employee handbook. This allows you to be clear on the standards you expect from employees. This could include everything from dress code and punctuality to internet usage. If you need to have a conversation with an employee about any of these issues at a later date, you’ll have something to refer back to.
When you employ people, it’s inevitable that you’ll have issues at some point, and fortunately, many of these tend to be minor and can be remedied with some swift and decisive action on your part as a business owner. But if anything more serious occurs, you’ll see the importance of getting things down in writing.
Here I’m thinking of issues like bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Be sure to make your position on this crystal clear and state what action will be taken whether an employee is a perpetrator or victim of this type of behaviour. Not dealing with these issues adequately can land you in very hot water legally.
It’s a similar case when it comes to your disciplinary policy. You need to explicitly state what constitutes misconduct and what type of action will be taken. Employees also need to know that there are remedies in place if they feel like they’ve been treated unfairly. This is essential to have in place if you are ever faced with a claim for unfair dismissal.
Lastly, remember that it’s important to keep a record that employees have been given a handbook. Keep the record in their personnel file. It may come in very useful at a later date if an employee claims they weren’t aware of a particular policy or rule.
Do you understand your basic legal obligations as a small business employer?
Have you been slowly growing your team and just want new employees to hit the ground running?
Do you know which basic contracts and policies you need in place to protect yourself, your staff and your business?
Are you overwhelmed just at the thought of trying to sort them out yourself?
I can help.
They’re easy to implement when you know how, and I can help you put them in place, quickly and simply.
From employment contracts and policies to basic Health and Safety checks, I’ll help you meet the necessary legal and compliance obligations to protect your business.
Here’s what I do:
I work with you as a business owner to understand the values and overall vision of the business which I’ll then share with your employees in a workshop.
I work with employees to establish roles and responsibilities and the behaviours expected of them. I then share bitesize training to talk managers and employees through what is required for Health and Safety, teach them how to carry out a risk assessment, and what they need to do going forward.
Here are the results you can expect:
The policies and contracts I put in place will put your business on a secure footing going forward, and you can rest assured in the knowledge that legal compliance and protection are in place for both your business and your employees.
Your employees will be clearer on the values of your business, and they’ll better understand their responsibilities and what’s expected of them.
I’ll help you create a working environment based on trust and openness, and I’ll support you through visits to your premises and phone calls in between.
Why should you choose me?
I have over 30 years of experience in building teams, managing projects, and implementing contracts and policies.
I also understand exactly what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin, and the conflict between desperately wanting to grow your business and the need for a work-life balance.
Let me take away the stress and help you get your legal basics right.
Send me an email today to find out more!
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