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Some executives think of handbooks like they think of eating right – it’s important, but it’s something you “get around to.” After all, if you hire good people, policies, procedures and handbook stuff is not really that necessary… right? How often does anyone use the handbook anyway, and how does it make you money?
There is a key group of people that absolutely needs the handbook – the managers. Think about the managers at your workplace. Let’s say an employee makes a short notice request for paid time off during the busiest time of year, citing a religious observance. If we could use a hidden camera to watch the way each manager handles that request, what are the odds that each manager would decide using the same criteria? How about the best criteria for the business? The odds are not good; without a written handbook, the odds get worse as the number of managers increases.
Not having a handbook means a lot of things to a business; none of them are good.
Low trust for management.
Lower morale (think your people don’t know what others get away with?)
Employee grievances and complaints mean less productivity.
Potential for discrimination lawsuit (with good reason).
Managers are implementers; they (should) have the power to implement executive decisions, and to make a few decisions themselves. Give them the HR solutions they need to protect themselves and your organization. A handbook is a way of deciding on tricky issues and HR questions in advance.
So, who needs a handbook? Definitely, your managers do. The only way to get your handbook to your employees is through the managers, so start there.
Speaking of handbooks, when is the last time yours was updated?
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