The Staff Handbook

What Goes Into the Staff Handbook?

As an employer, it is best practice to have a Staff Handbook to support your Contract of Employment. This enables you to set out and communicate your company’s policies and procedures in full. The SVC Human Resources team explain why you need to get this important document right.

Staff or Employee Handbook shown on a desk

Employee Handbook (Staff Handbook) must be readily accessible

Human Resources

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Client Testimonial

Service always excellent

We have used SVC for HR advice and various training for some years now. The service always has been excellent. Knowing you have experts in their field behind you really helps.

Grace Hilsum HR Manager, Codair Design and Publicity

Does This Describe Your Current Situation?

  • You are not sure if you have a Staff Handbook or Employment Handbook?
  • You don't know if your current Staff Handbook is up to date?
  • Your new to the job and need advice on Staff Handbooks?
  • You have an external HR service provider but feel they are just giving you standard documents which you're not comfortable about?
  • You're about to employ staff and don't know if you should have a Staff Handbook?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above, then read on. 

Spending the next few minutes reading the following may save you a lot of time, expense and frustration.

What is a Staff Handbook For?

Your staff handbook (also referred to as an employee handbook) is the place for various important policies and procedures. These documents provide your employees with guidance on how to deal with various situations and help to protect both you and your staff.

Protect Yourself and Your Employees

As an employer it is in your best interests to avoid misunderstanding and conflict with your staff! 

"The single most common contributor to conflict is differences in personality or styles of working, supporting a relational view of conflict".

Report "Getting under the skin of workplace conflict"
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

How to Avoid Conflict?

By unambiguous communication, and creating a sense of fairness and order to support your employment relationship. This in turn will promote employee engagement.

A well drafted staff handbook will:

  • Provide clear, accessible information.
  • Ensure that employees understand exactly what they must do.
  • Enables your company to present your expectations, standards and boundaries.

However, these must be in an understandable and consistent format complying with employment law.

Statutory Information

What You Must Provide

You must by law issue certain policies and procedures to employees. These are relating to:

  • Health and Safety
  • Disciplinary
  • Grievance
  • Pension
  • Whistle-blowing

Non-Statutory Information

You may also provide non-statutory policies or procedures. You are likely to encounter the need for such policies or procedures which are not required by law. It's good practice to provide these, for example to set out your company rules.

Non-statutory policies or procedures can give employees guidance on how certain situations may be dealt with. Doing this demonstrates a consistent and fair approach, and minimises confusion.

Recommended Non-Statutory - 1

 Your employee handbook provides a concise means of communicating important information. For example, information about:

  • Your company
  • How business operates on a day-to-day basis
  • The organisational vision, culture and values
Discuss staff handbook contents with your employee

Discuss contents of your Staff Handbook (Employee Handbook)

Minimise the Risk of Employment Tribunals

Recommended Non-Statutory - 2

Your staff handbook can thus help reduce the risk of employment tribunal claims

An example of this is with family friendly policies surrounding:

  • Maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave
  • Equal opportunities

These can be beneficial to:

  • Ensure consistent treatment of all staff
  • Reduce the risk of discrimination claims

Note: There is no limit on compensation awards in a discrimination claim.

Is the Handbook Contractual?

The recommended approach is to make the staff handbook non-contractual. This is because:

  • You can enforce certain standards of behaviour.
  • Update or change the policies contained in the handbook without complication.
  • You can ensure your staff handbook reflects current company practices and complies with legislation and best practice.

Client Testimonial

Very satisfied with the support and advice provided

We have used SVC for their outsourced HR services for over a year. We have a dedicated HR Consultant who has worked closely with the Senior Management Team on several HR projects, and we have been very satisfied with the support and advice provided.
Our HR Consultant has always gone the extra mile to support our business, and to be able to call or email our HR Consultant at any time knowing that we will receive a quick response, and that any response is always well researched with quality advice has been a real asset to our business.
I would recommend SVC's HR services.

Matt Raynor Managing Director, Raynor Foods

Do You Need More Help?

One of the main causes of employment tribunals is simple misunderstanding, according to ACAS. So it is important to have your employment handbook (or staff handbook) produced by qualified experts.

SVC's HR division will do this in a way that underpins your business. After all, it must support your values and culture as well as the law. Unlike many HR service providers, SVC Solutions' Human Resources experts will work with you to tailor your staff handbook for your specific business needs. Consequently, we meet with you and take the time to understand you and your business.

It is also important to have your staff handbook regularly reviewed to make sure that it is up to date.

Discover how SVC Human Resources experts can support you with:

  • Creating or updating employee handbook.
  • Making sure you are meeting your legal obligations.

Also see information on The Employee Life Cycle

Free Staff Handbook Review

For a no-obligation confidential chat about how can help your company:

  • Message us privately by using the Contact Us button below.
  • Or call us on 01206 262117.


The information contained in this web page is provided for general information purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included on this web page without seeking professional, legal or other specialist advice by qualified practitioners. If you have a specific human resources issue, please contact SVC Human Resources team for individual advice on your particular circumstances.

Accreditation and Certification

SVC Solutions holds accreditation and certification from several professional bodies.

REC - The Recruitment & Employment Confederation
Institute of leadership and management
City & Guilds Examinations & Qualifications
CIPD - the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the professional body for HR and people development.
IOSH - Institution of Occupational Safety and Health Approved training provider 4517