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Informal Employee Handbook

Informal Employee Handbook

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I have been asked to update our employee handbook which is currently very lenghty, very formal and full of legal language. We are a young, innovative company and we want a more informal, casual handbook to fit with out culture. I am finding it hard to get the balance right though, making sure we meet employment law guidlines without sounding too stuffy, does anyone have any examples I could take a peek at?


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By peterstanway
11th Jun 2012 08:21

beware the people who think that a handbook can be informal

The best you can do is to avoid solicitors and make sure the style is readable and employee focussed so that it is helpful to managers and employees. You can consult about it which should help the style issue but send out a much more important message than taking too much notice of people who ought to know better

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By AlisonB
12th Jun 2012 12:33


We keep our polices and our handbook as separate documents. The contracts are issued with the usual legal necessities, policies are on our intranet & form part of this but the handbook is more a document to cover the 'other stuff' such as where can you park, benfits, dress code, how to book holidays etc

Our offer letter states that the handbook does not form part of the contract of employment but staff are advised to comply with its contents.

This works very well for us.

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By heathbuck
05th Jul 2012 17:04

I am having a similar dilemma. I'm rewriting a maternity policy, and I want to write "you" instead of "the employee" in the policy, so it becomes a more engaging read (its pretty dry material to start off with). I'm not sure if there is a legal hole I'm dropping into, or if this is just a stylistic issue? 

i.e. If you meet the qualifying criteria you will be entitled to... rather than Qualifying employees are entitled to...

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By Sheridan Webb
06th Jul 2012 13:07

 I have written quite a few 'managers Toolkits' or 'Employee Guides to...' in  my time and I agree that its a great idea to seperate the two as much as possible, yet keep them linked!

The informal version is the day-to-day stuff that people need to know, written in an easy to read style. Using a question and answer format works well e.g:

"What should I do if I'm off sick?"

"How will I be developed?"

"What happens if I feel I'm treated unfairly"


You then put the main 'advice' in this and follow up with "For more detailed information, see XXXXX" and link this to your policy. If the documents are on-line then so much the easier.

In terms of what to include, use the 80/20 rule - Which 20% of the policies/issues are referred to 80% of the time? It's things like holidays, sickness, appraisals, discipline, maternity, etc.

Hope this is useful,

Sheridan Webb - Keystone Development: Bespoke training and ghost writing

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