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employee handbooks & hr policies for small businesses

Let’s imagine a workplace without any HR policies and procedures that employs managers who have very little knowledge of what to do in terms of process or best practice, and have received no training. How would this look? Like an employment tribunal waiting to happen.

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employee handbooks for small businesses

what is an employee handbook and why should you have one?

An Employee Handbook is a valuable document that all companies (of all sizes) should have. Its main purpose is to communicate your company’s HR policies, procedures, and rules to new and existing employees - helping them to understand how you do things, and what you expect from them in terms of standards, behaviour and performance.

As a minimum, all employers (even if you only employ one person) must have written Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

HR policies and procedures are important as they provide structure, control, consistency, fairness and reasonableness in a business. In addition, they also provide transparency in how processes will be managed, and should be easily accessible by all managers, and employees alike.

It’s best practice to give employees an Employee Handbook on their first day, or even earlier if you can. If possible, we recommend sending new employees a copy of the handbook along with their offer letter and Contract of Employment.

It’s important for small business owners to ensure their employees are up to speed with all the things that make their business run smoothly and successfully.

By having an Employee Handbook, all your HR policies and procedures are in one easily accessible place. This makes it easier for your staff to understand things like how to report absence, their entitlements to sick pay, and how to request holiday.

As well as being a quick and easy reference point for employees, it saves employers time, too, as employees can find answers to business-related questions easily without needing help.

so what are hr policies and procedures?

hr policies for small businesses

HR policies and procedures give employees a well-rounded view and understanding of your small business.

They usually include a description of principles and responsibilities for managers and employees — outlining the company’s expectations of employees clearly and succinctly, and what could happen if those expectations aren't met.

In short, a policy refers to guidelines outlining the company’s approach to addressing an issue. Whereas a procedure is a plan for carrying out a policy — outlining how employees should deal with a specific situation and at what point they might need to take action.

A lack of (legally compliant) HR policies can expose your small business to high-risk legal situations with employees. So, it’s vital to ensure that your HR policies and procedures are legally compliant and that your expectations are formally documented and well communicated to your employees.

There are many different types of HR policies that you might want to implement for your small business.

Talk to us today and we can identify which policies would be right for you and add value to your small business.

hr policies for small businesses

what should an employee handbook contain?

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach for an Employee Handbook — and yours should specifically fit and reflect your small business. Employee handbooks vary in size and content, though they typically include the following:

  • Introduction and welcome note from the business owner

  • Company background

  • Information on your culture and approach to business

  • Hours and conditions of work

  • Overtime and Time off in Lieu (TOIL)

  • Pay reviews

  • How to request holidays

  • Reporting absences

  • Employee benefits

  • Training and development

  • Process for performance and appraisals

  • Disciplinary and grievance procedure

  • Drug and alcohol policy

  • Equal opportunities policy

  • Flexible working procedure and family friendly policy

  • Bullying and Harassment policy

  • Compassionate leave

  • Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave

  • Data protection policy

  • Whistle-blowing policy

  • Expectations around dress code

  • Social media, email/internet/mobile phone usage etc.

  • Equality and Diversity

staff handbooks for small businesses

why choose us to create your employee handbook and hr policies? 

We write Employee Handbooks and HR policies in plain English, made to fit you and your small business's unique needs.

It can be tricky knowing exactly what to include in HR policies and your Employee Handbook. Let alone, where to begin when it comes to writing one that is legally compliant. We take the time to get to know you and your small business, providing you with a personalised handbook that reflects your business, culture, values - and meets the legal requirements.

To see how we can create HR policies that add value to your small business, contact us today.

We provide HR support and HR advice to small businesses across North Wales and North West England - from Lancashire to Flintshire, Cheshire to Denbighshire, Cumbria to Wrexham, and Gwynedd to Greater Manchester.

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not quite what you were looking for?

Our HR Services for small businesses cover the entire employee lifecycle

- from start to finish (and everything in between).

contact us at lc management consulting

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