6 June 2022

Having an employee handbook available and ensuring that all members of your staff are in knowledge of its contents, is always of benefit to the company and helps a lot to avoid potential conflicts and litigation which may prove costly in terms of money and human resources harmony. The handbook makes it easier to pinpoint disciplinary or ethical breach especially when the employee is in the knowledge of such rules.

There is no one size fits all handbook but there are many ways how your handbook can be effective particularly if it includes the essentials and it is kept up to date with current employment legislation and regulations.

An employee handbook should include policy statements common to all levels of your company as well as a set of policies, working conditions, procedures and what is expected of your employees in terms of behaviour. Its main purpose is to clarify terms of employment between employer and employee and to clearly inform your staff about what is expected of them and ways how they can improve or benefit from incentives depending on their performance.

Typically, an employee handbook includes a set of documents such as policies which effect the staff across the board from management downwards, working conditions, procedures and importantly the work behaviour expected. A clear and full set of such documents should be made available to each member of your work force, and they should also be informed of any updates which may be introduced from time to time. It is also imperative that you ensure that all members of the staff read and go through the handbook thoroughly and possibly sign a declaration that they are in complete knowledge of its contents.

The handbook doesn’t need to necessarily be printed as a hard copy. It must however be in a format which is accessible and easily obtained and readable by all. A handbook should avoid technical jargon and be focused on simple and understandable terms which helps to avoid misinterpretation.

It must also not be just a set of rules and restrictions. Measures which enable professional growth, incentives, rewards etc should also be included in the handbook. It should be looked at as a reference and not just as a set of commandments. When you include these types of positive mentions in your handbook, the employee reading and in knowledge of its contents will feel empowered and will look forward to stepping up performance to benefit from the incentives and programmes mentioned therein.

The handbook also points out what is exactly expected of each employee and since the document is applicable to all levels of staff in most cases, it will also generate a feeling of equal treatment between staff members. In the case of incentives, advancement prospective etc, it is advisable to make these available to all to engage staff from all levels.

Most importantly, this document might prove crucial in resolving conflicts. Once you have a declaration that it has been read and understood by your staff members, and subject to the document being in line with all requirements in force where employment relationships are concerned, you have your mind at rest that the document is the ruler by which behaviour breaches and conflicts are first judged.

At Advisory 21, we offer our services to all of you who could be interested in setting up such a handbook. We would like to help you safeguard your human resources, especially considering the time and money spent on training. We are Human Resources specialists and we have a history of handbooks tailored to the needs of many prominent names in the business sector. Should you be interested, please send us an email on info@advisory21.com.mt and we will discuss what we can do for you. 21 Academy will also be organising a 3-hour webinar on An Effective Employee Handbook. This will be held on 22 June starting at 09:00hrs. More information about the webinar from this link.