GUEST BLOG: When did you last review / update the company’s employee handbook?

Updating legislative changes:

The past number of years has seen the introduction of a significant number of pieces of employment legislation. Has your Company taken both the time and opportunity to embrace these new requirements and ensured that all employees are fully aware of these changes? Far too many companies today adopt the view that most employees are aware of these changes and do not take the time to amend their Employee Handbook. 

The importance of an updated Employee Handbook:

Frequently, when a dispute arises between an employer and employee, one of the first documents that is referenced is the Employee Handbook. Often it is hopelessly out of date and does not reflect the Company’s Terms and Conditions of Employment that are currently in force. An Employee Handbook can often form the basis of a resolution of a dispute however, an out of date Employee Handbook, can in fact often end up making the situation worse as a result of not being “fit for purpose”.  Furthermore, another possible consequence of an out of date Employee Handbook is that a dispute can end up being drawn out much longer resulting in higher legal and HR advisory costs for the employer. Also, for some companies, it is often a recommendation from a Third Party Hearing that the employer upgrades the Company’s Handbook. This does not reflect well on a Company. Far too often, it is only after such an experience that a Company instigate and indeed complete a review of an Employee Handbook to prevent a re-occurrence. 

Leading companies take a different view. They are constantly reviewing and amending their Employee Handbook to ensure that they are fit for purpose and fully contribute to the performance of the business today. When significant change takes place in an organisation, these companies will re-issue an updated set of policies thereby ensuring that the Employee handbook remains “Fit for Purpose”. 

New guidelines:

In the same way as companies have to upgrade their technology hardware and software, companies are also revising / updating their Employee Handbook to ensure that it reflects the business environment today. Companies need to ask themselves are our Reward policies, Grievance and Discipline procedures, Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Harassment and Health and Safety policies and procedures fully up to date and do they reflect the business market today? In addition, in more recent times, employers have found it necessary to introduce new guidelines for employees in terms of Internet usage, Emails and Social Media to name but a few.

Action steps:

So what should a Company do to ensure that their Employee Handbook is “Fit for Purpose”? They should request that their HR function undertakes a review of best market practice for their business sector and produce an updated version of the Employee Handbook. They should inform employees that such a review is taking place and that when completed; employees can expect to receive an amended version of the Employee Handbook.


About Niall Glynn

Niall Glynn & Associates Limited was established in 2010 to provide Business Solutions and HR Advice to companies and Senior Executives. 

Our approach is to work closely with Senior Executives in a confidential way and coach them to both prepare and overcome any barriers in terms of achieving their future career goals / ambitions.  

We also help SMEs improve their business performance by successfully implementing tailored Core HR Processes and Business Performance Improvement Models. 

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