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​Keeping Your Company Handbook Up-to-Date: Why It Matters

​Keeping Your Company Handbook Up-to-Date: Why It Matters

Posted by Emma on 5th Jul 2024

Updating your company handbook regularly is crucial to ensure that your HR policies and procedures remain relevant and effective. Changes in case law, new legislation, and societal or technological advancements can quickly make existing policies outdated. As we approach the 2024 general election, preparing for potentially significant changes is especially important. July is a perfect time to review and update your handbook to keep up with these developments.

While employment law might not impact every section of your handbook, it is deeply integrated into key parts. Ensuring these areas are up-to-date is vital, as outdated policies can lead to employment tribunal claims, wasting valuable time and resources. Beyond legal compliance, keeping your handbook current also helps maintain an attractive workplace culture that is aligned with job market expectations.

So, how should you go about updating your company handbook? Here's a handy four-step process to guide you:

Step One: Scan the Landscape

When it's time to review your policies and procedures, start by understanding the current landscape. Pay attention to news, advice from key advisers, and feedback from your professional network. For example, review political manifestos during an election year to anticipate changes that might affect your policies. Consider societal changes, too, ensuring your handbook reflects the current workforce's mood and expectations.

Some companies opt to conduct employee surveys to gather insights, while others collect informal feedback. Both methods can provide valuable information as you begin your review.

Step Two: Review Your Current Handbook

With a clear understanding of what's changing, it's time to examine your existing handbook. A good company handbook is comprehensive, welcoming new staff, serving as a single source of truth for internal rules, and explaining company procedures. This makes the review process a significant task.

As you go through the handbook, highlight sections that need updates. For example, you might need to include new policies on statutory sick pay or guidelines for artificial intelligence usage.

Step Three: Make the Changes

Once you know what needs updating, you can start making the necessary changes to your handbook. It's wise to seek professional advice to ensure your new wording complies with the latest employment laws and doesn't inadvertently expose you to risk.

Step Four: Communicate Your New Handbook

An updated handbook is only helpful if it's read, understood, and used by your staff. Launch your new handbook with a solid communications plan. Ensure that everyone receives it, provide opportunities for questions, and consider whether any training is needed. This is particularly important for line managers who will be responsible for implementing the new policies.

Updating your company handbook might seem like a daunting task, but it's essential for staying compliant and maintaining a positive workplace culture. Following these four steps ensures that your policies and procedures are always up-to-date and effective.