The 5 Benefits of having an up-to-date Employee Handbook (and the joys of the Ikea Kallax shelf unit)

May 30, 2017

HR Assistant, Simon Underwood, takes a look at why an organisation needs to having an Employee Handbook. Read on for 5 benefits of having an up-to-date Employee Handbook, and what that has to do with Ikea…


A Lego Imperial Tie Fighter, an Ikea Kallax shelf unit and the child’s game Mouse Trap. These are things that I’ve made that I definitely needed instructions for. However, a new TV? Just flop down on the sofa a press on and relax. A new car? Just get in turn the key and go.  (I hid the TV wire with the microphone in it, it seemed pointless and I was a little paranoid about ‘them’  listening in. The car was great until I needed to know how to move the seats around to fit an Ikea Kallax shelf unit in the back…)

This got me thinking do we need instructions for our job? Surely, we all know to turn up on time and perform the tasks set for us and at some stage we’ll be rewarded for our labours?

Plus they must be kept up-to-date which can be a bit of an issue when managers are busy with the day-to-day running of the business. In a past role, our office door was propped up with an ancient box of handbooks until the day the manager gave said box a kick and duly asked me to hand them out. The contact numbers had 80s dialling codes and pictures of staff uniforms which went out with the Ark. It gave the older staff a laugh whilst the younger ones were bewildered by ‘smoking being only allowed in the staff rooms’!

So, what are the benefits of having a staff handbook or even better, one that’s up to date?

1 Your handbook should introduce your organisation including expectations of the employee, and the culture of the organisation.

  • It is an opportunity to set a positive first impression to your employee
  • Make sure your handbook clearly states what your organisation stands for, including its mission statement and values.
  • Explain why your organisation does what it does, its origins and how it developed.
  • Do define what constitutes good employee behaviours.

2 Explain what your employee can expect from you as their employer.

  • Your handbook is the perfect place to show clear and consistent reporting lines or business structure and who to speak to if there are any issues.
  • Take time to lay out any help and support which your employee might receive to help them complete their roles and responsibilities.

3 It is an opportunity to highlight employee benefits and perks.

  • You’ve spent time – and presumably money- setting up staff benefits so showcase them in your handbook! It helps your employee value their role.
  • This might include things such as health, holiday and special leave and discounts.

4 Your handbook should treat employees consistently – both in theory and practice!

  • The handbook goes to EVERYONE!
  • Because you publish this widely,  you must ensure that all employees are treated equally across the board both in the handbook and in practice too.

5 Your handbook outlines policies which may help defend against employee claims and litigation, and ensures the company complies with the law.

  • Should a potential legal issue arise, the handbook is the document which may be used to identify what went wrong.
  • The handbook needs to therefore be comprehensive and show that the company has provided information to protect against all potential issues.
  • Make sure your employee signs to show their understanding, and keep a record!

If it sounds complex then there are no two ways about it – it is! But done properly will lead to a happy workforce and great productivity. So if your time is pressed, why not outsource? HR180 offer a bespoke Employee Handbook service (and not just sticking your logo on the front!) We take time to work in partnership with you to create a meaningful handbook that protects your organisation’s interests whilst aiming for content employees. Call 0113 287 8150 for a free assessment. Or for more options read below.

(PS Years later, brimming with over confidence I would attempt to build a Next coffee table on my own without instructions. It took hours and by the end of it I had a heap of ‘spare’ parts and no idea where they went. I calmly put them in a plastic bag and hid them in a drawer. The table was forever unstable and the spare parts were forgotten. Don’t let that be your Employee Handbook…)

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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