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Why Employee Handbooks and Agreements Still Matter

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Employee handbooks and agreements may seem like outdated concepts. But, even in this modern age, they remain an indispensable benefit to both employees and managers.

Creating these documents can be time consuming, after all, you want to ensure all your policies are correct and up to date. But, once you have the documents on hand, the help and guidance they provide to your employees will make it all worthwhile.

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Let’s take a closer look at a few reasons why employee handbooks and agreements still matter.

They Help with the Onboarding Process      

Ah yes, onboarding—it’s one of our favourite topics to discuss here at JungoHR. All new employees should receive an employee handbook and agreement at the very start of the onboarding process. These documents are the best way to outline company policies, introduce the new hire to your company’s culture, and provide a detailed summary of their role and responsibilities.

Most likely, you’re new employee will also be expected to sign a few agreements, including non-disclosure agreements, privacy and electronic communication agreements, and even non-compete agreements are all common in business. 

The point of onboarding is to ensure a smooth transition from new hire to full-fledged team member. Handbooks and agreements not only bring new hires up to speed on how they should behave and conduct themselves in the workplace, they offer an easy-to-access reference point they can go back to time and again.

Keep Employees Up to Date

Today’s workplaces are constantly changing. From rolling out new new benefits or making updates to your vacation policy, your business’s policies will evolve. Having a current employee handbook allows you to keep your employees up to date on your policies, their rights and responsibilities. 

You might tweak a policy or amend it to better reflect new knowledge or best practices in your industry. At other times, you may need to overhaul a policy or introduce an entirely new one to address employee concerns. 

The updated handbook agreements keep your long-term employees in the know long after they’re no longer new hires.

An Easy to Access Point of Reference

Employees are full of questions! Managers and HR are consistently asked questions about vacation accrual, levels of coverage provided by dental benefits and so much more. A handbook provides a quick and easy reference. Handbooks can outline every single policy your company has, from your hiring and accommodation practices to your terms of employment and your social media policy.

The employee handbook also provides insight should there ever be an issue with an employee’s conduct.

Employees should be reminded frequently about using the employee handbook for easy reference as well as to review policies and procedures, especially if they have questions about an action they’re going to take.

Creating Efficient Contracts     

Employee agreements create contracts between the employer and the employee. You might think of contracts between an independent contractor and a business, or a temporary employee and the employer, which lay out the terms of the agreement and what each party will supply.

Employee agreements also exist for your permanent, in-house employees. These agreements cover different subjects and may be different from a contract between a vendor and a company, but they’re just as important. These agreements create the legal basis for an employee’s continued employment. They also identify both the employee and the employer’s responsibilities toward each other.

Employee agreements also give you, as the employer, the power to act in certain ways. For example, a digital privacy agreement may ask the employee to acknowledge that you can access their company email and check in on their internet activity on your network without breaching their privacy. Other agreements will define the scope of action both you and the employee can take certain situations.

Limit Misunderstandings

Providing these documents and asking employees to agree to follow the policies they lay out avoids misunderstandings later. A written agreement shows the employee agreed to terms and, by signing, indicated their understanding of those terms.

A handbook also provides written reference for policies, which can reduce instances of misunderstanding. If two people have different views on what a policy is or means, they can refer to the written word for an answer.

A Worthwhile Undertaking

If you’re concerned that employee agreements and handbooks will bog your employees down with too much paperwork, don’t be. Using HR technology such as an HRIS, you can house your employee handbook and all employee agreements (and contracts) in one place. An HRIS makes it easy to update your handbooks and provides easy access to for all employees regardless of their location.

Employee handbooks and agreements are important resources for both you and the employee. You can make these documents easier to track and use by streamlining and automating your HR processes.

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Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with an advanced knowledge of human resources and organizational structure and design. She has extensive experience with HRIS systems and understands the need to move HR from a transactional model to a transformational one. She has worked in the investment banking, insurance, and legal industries, as well as with large not-for-profit centres helping to simplify and streamline their internal systems. Kaneez is an expert in building relationships and affecting change in a positive and productive way. She acts as the key HR business partner at Apri Insurance Services Inc, managing the implementation of JungoHR, while providing expert advice and counsel on a range of HR matters. Kaneez holds a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management as well as a Certificate in HR Law for HR Professionals from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.

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