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