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It is tempting to see an employee handbook as an avoidable cost. But such can be false economy…

Here is a quick look at the costs that you could be risking:

  • The average award for unfair dismissal is currently £14,000* and the biggest cause?
    • Failure to follow procedures; procedures that should be in an employee handbook
  • The average award for all discrimination is currently £16,000* and a likely cause?
    • Lack of an equal opportunities policy that all employees read and understand
  • Average awards for age or disability discrimination alone run at £27,000* and the possible cause?
    • Employees not knowing how to raise a grievance, which should be in an employee handbook

These are seriously expensive risks that can hugely damage a small organisation.

But there are variety of small costs too, which quite quickly add up:

  • Employees who are unreliable and cost you in subsequent disruption
    • Sound policies give you firm ground to tackle such issues
  • Employees who test your patience
    • This does not need to happen if expectations and remedies are in a handbook
  • Harassment and bullying, which costs you in poor performance and risks Tribunal claims
    • If employees know you take such complaints seriously, they will talk rather than walk
  • Social network and mobile phone abuse
    • Most employees will follow reasonable guidelines – if they know what they are

These are just a handful of ways in which “making things up as you go along” is not a good idea when managing employees. Failing to have an employee handbook can cost you!

* Employment Tribunal Compensation Awards 2018/19

Malcolm Martin FCIPD

Author Human Resource Practice