An employee handbook is often something that is created quickly when companies start to grow. Off the peg handbooks are easily sourced on Google however, if you want your handbook to work for your company you need to make it personal, promoting the values and policies that you have.


Here are five reasons why you should invest time in ensuring that your employee handbook is up to date, meaningful and engaging.

  1. Set expectations

Your employee handbook should provide clear expectations about your ways of working and set standards for safety, attendance and conduct. This is invaluable if you start to notice problems with a new recruit, but in order for your employee handbook to be useful, your policies need to enable you to address the problems you are facing.

Create policies in your employee handbook which support your managers in their decision-making and clearly set out what behaviour is, and is not, acceptable. Ensure that your policies provide a structure for formal disciplinary and grievance meetings but try not to create processes and timelines which could be difficult to enforce.

  1. Promote your culture and values

Your employee handbook should be the road map which introduces new recruits to the background of your company, its culture and how they will fit in. If the content is engaging, it will foster a sense of belonging to help new employees settle in more quickly. It’s a valuable orientation tool and you can use it as a platform for helping your employees deliver your culture and values.

Personalise your policies so that employees can appreciate why you work in the way that you do. For example, your employee handbook could explain how your annual leave and flexible working policies contribute to ensuring that your employees achieve a balance between work and home life, and why that is important to your company.

  1. Defend against employment tribunals

Your employee handbook should contain the rules your employees operate within so that you can use it to justify disciplinary decisions. It should be a ‘living document’, which is reviewed regularly and reflects current employment legislation. Remember to keep copies of old handbooks so that if you are defending a case in a tribunal you can provide evidence of the policies in place at the time of the incident.

Update your employee handbook as new issues arise so that if you encounter future problems you can address them in a consistent way. It could be harder to demonstrate misuse of social media, for example, if you haven’t outlined your expectations beforehand. It’s much easier to change or modify a policy in your employee handbook than re-issue a contract of employment.

  1. Set yourself apart from your competitors

Write an employee handbook that employees will want to read. Your employee handbook is often the first document that a new recruit will see so make sure you balance what you need to include to minimise risk to your company, with content which will build culture and create value. Take advantage of the opportunity to set yourself apart from your competitors by creating something that isn’t just a bland collection of policies but something that is unique, engaging and relevant.

  1. Promote your benefits

Be creative and use your handbook as an opportunity to remind employees about the great things that you offer in addition to pay. So if you have an annual Christmas party, dress down on a Friday or offer your employees an extra day’s holiday on their birthday make sure that you promote this at the start of your employee handbook.


For a limited time only you can book a free review of your employee handbook, Jo will ensure it meets the minimum legal requirements and provide a report with recommendations. For more information and to book contact Jo via the links below.


Jo Roy

Jo Roy

Red Owl HR Consultancy

Jo Roy is the owner of Red Owl HR.

Red Owl HR offers small and medium sized businesses the opportunity to benefit from HR expertise without the need to employ an HR Manager.

Red Owl HR specialises in supporting you with all the people issues you face whether it be managing difficult employees, absence issues, restructuring, contracts or employment law as well as ensuring that your reward package attracts and retains the best people.



Tel: 07824 884 184