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  • Helen Taylor


Whether your business is based overseas with a UK operation or its main base is in the UK supported by a global operation, one people management tool that employers often find a challenge to address is the staff handbook.

What are the benefits of a staff handbook?

Employers should get behind a staff handbook as it provides a multitude of benefits. If drafted with the business in mind, it will set the tone regarding culture and values from the first day of employment. Using the handbook to do this can be an effective tool when it comes to employee engagement and recruiting and retaining the best talent.

A comprehensive handbook should also communicate the employment-related policies and procedures that will apply during the employment relationship. This allows staff to understand what their rights and obligations are and assists the employer to demonstrate its employee relations practices are legally compliant.

What is the challenge when operating on an international footing?

The challenge is identifying the most effective way of preparing a handbook that is fit for purpose on an international footing. Having no handbook is unlikely to be a good idea from both a people management and legal compliance perspective; local labour laws may be breached if certain policies and procedures are not committed to writing and accessible. However, implementing a handbook that complies with the local laws, acknowledges the cultural differences and reflects the organisation’s values is likely to be a daunting prospect.

What are your options?

There is no single solution. How to address this conundrum will be determined by the location of the organisation’s head office, the industry sector, the type of workers employed and how many are based in each location. It also depends on what you are trying to achieve. A global handbook will take the organisation beyond legal compliance and can affirm its position as a brand leader internationally. If the only aim is to achieve legal compliance, locally compliant handbooks containing only those policies and procedures that are mandatory may be the way forward.

What next?

If your organisation is facing this dilemma, let us help you explore the right option. Our international clients regularly ask for assistance in relation to managing their employment law obligations across different jurisdictions.

If you want to know more about our global reach and our services, please visit our website or contact us for a no obligation discussion.

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