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5 Benefits of Having an Employee Handbook

Contributor: Evita Lara, HR Consultant

February 27th, 2023 | 5 min. read

By Tony Calavitta

5 Benefits of Having an Employee Handbook

Operating a successful business is like assembling a complicated piece of furniture.

You start by organizing all the necessary parts – an exceptional staff, a productive workspace, and a forward-thinking plan.

However, before you can effectively put these components together, you need a guiding set of instructions.

In the same way that arbitrary furniture assembly may result in your visionary accent piece amounting to nothing more than a messy pile of beams and bolts, successful business operations can encounter problem after problem without guidance.

But, with an effective employee handbook in place, your business operations can be smooth and successful.

Here at Combined, our HR team has helped many employers transform their employee handbook into this set of guiding instructions. We want to help you do the same so you can experience the reward of having an effective employee handbook.

In this article, we will explore how an effective handbook can contribute to your company. By reading it, you will learn 5 ways that having an employee handbook can benefit your business.

Why you should have an employee handbook

An employee handbook works to communicate your policies, procedures, and expectations to your entire staff.

Because it is a written document, using one allows this information to be communicated with every employee in the same way. And, because it is a living document, it also allows you to easily update and notify your staff of changes to company policy and procedure as necessary.

By electing to have all of your employees review and agree to the terms and conditions of a print or digital handbook, you can be certain that there is a company-wide understanding of how your business operates and the expectations of each staff member within it.

This across-the-board workforce agreement on company objectives has many workplace advantages.

5 Benefits of an employee handbook

The application of an updated and effective employee handbook is in the best interest of every employer.

Here are 5 ways that having an employee handbook can benefit your business.

1. Create a common company culture and boost productivity

Company culture is defined by the values, beliefs, attitudes, and practices that your workplace promotes. When employees share these, it can shape positive at-work decisions, behavior, and interactions.

This type of company culture is created by communicating your company’s mission and vision with all of your employees and making sure they embrace these as the cornerstones of business operations.

And how can you communicate these core concepts?

You can use your employee handbook to share these ideas with your staff and develop a common company culture.  

By doing so, day-to-day work goals will reflect your mission and vision. As a result, your employees will be more connected with your company and will see the value of their contributions toward the overall success of your business.

If every one of your employees sees themselves as a player in this overall success, they will collectively be more motivated to achieve it. From this, Forbes research shows that your workforce will be more engaged, more aligned, and more productive.

2. Assist with consistent onboarding and training

Onboarding and training are like the ABCs and 123s of employment – they immediately lay the foundation for employee performance and continued development.

With this in mind, your onboarding and training process needs to be consistent so that every employee receives the instruction and attention they need to succeed in their respective roles.

By outlining your company policies and procedures, your employee handbook serves as a workplace roadmap for new and existing employees. It creates a standardized onboarding and training process and acts as an ongoing reference for your staff should they need it.

As an employment guide with a systematic approach to onboarding and training, your handbook can prevent confusion and conflict from the get-go.  

3. Improve company-wide communication and morale

Have you ever had a critical work question, but not known who to ask for answers?  

Your employee handbook can guarantee this won’t happen in the workplace.

By establishing a framework for employees to seek out help when they need it, your handbook can prevent unnecessary confusion, frustration, and in some cases, incorrect action.

Using it as an outlet for increased communication not only prevents problems from happening but also generates a sense of support. And, in the workplace, having support available and accessible when it’s needed drives employee morale and job fulfillment.

4. Enhance employee engagement and retention

This leads us to, perhaps, one of the biggest benefits of having an effective employee handbook.

Before we dive into how your handbook fosters employee engagement and retention, we first have to answer this question – Other than competitive compensation, what do employees want in the workplace?

Among the top employee workplace priorities are:

  • A positive company culture

According to Business News Daily, “A rewarding work culture is just as essential as compensation – if not more so.” A recent Glassdoor survey of over 5,000 global employees backs this statement up, with 56% of respondents affirming that a good workplace culture is more important than salary.

  • Comprehensive onboarding with additional training and development opportunities

A recent study by The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that employees are twice as likely to leave a job if they feel that their onboarding experience was inadequate, with 76% of employees answering that additional training and development is appealing.

  • Communication, support, and a sense of value

The 2022 Achievers Report cites that 52% of employees will stay in a job if they feel valued and supported. And more than 80% of American employees believe that workplace communication is crucial to developing this.

What do you notice about these employee workplace priorities?

If you’re thinking that they look familiar, you are correct. Each of these top workplace wants is a product of having an effective employee handbook.

In other words, statistics show that having a handbook actually makes your company more attractive to employees. By having a positive company culture, a system for onboarding and training, and clear communication, your business becomes a place employees want to work.

Just by being a desirable workplace, your company is better able to drive employee engagement and encourage employee retention.

Your handbook, then, can save you the cost and hassle of employee turnover, while allowing you to continue to develop your staff and grow your business.

5. Reduce compliance risk and lend legal protection

As a company guide, your employee handbook can help to inform and enforce policy and procedure. If designed to reflect compliance, it can prevent deviations from federal, state, and local regulations. This directly reduces your risk of paying unnecessary violation penalties.

Additionally, In the event of an employee grievance or lawsuit, your handbook can serve as a legal document, protecting your company from paying undue damages.

Next steps toward the benefits of an effective employee handbook

If you are here, you want to guide your company toward smooth and successful operations.

With an effective employee handbook that outlines your policies, procedures, and expectations, you can easily do just that.

In this article, we discussed why you should have an employee handbook. By reading it, you learned 5 ways that your handbook can benefit your business.

Here at Combined, our skilled HR team knows the ins and outs of employee handbook application and has helped employers, just like you, optimize theirs. We want to help you turn your handbook into a rewarding resource.

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This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.