Leaders of business organizations identify evidence-based ideas and concepts that can deliver positive results or profits. They go further to apply powerful concepts, ideas, and philosophies to guide and influence the performance of their followers. The use of different theoretical principles makes it easier for human resources (HR) departments to achieve their potential. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the pros and cons of using an employee handbook to meet the needs of new employees and empower them. It also identifies and describes some of the HR theoretical ideas and HRM trends in favor of or against its implementation.
Employee Handbook: Pros and Cons
An employee handbook is a critical manual that many organizations or employers provide to their workers. This manual is essential since it contains several sections that individuals should take seriously. The booklet outlines information and aspects that the targeted workers need to know. The first part tends to offer a welcome statement to the targeted employee and the organization’s purpose, vision, values, goals, and mission (Richman, 2015). The second one provides general information about the company, such as perks, a summary of internal policies, and holiday arrangements. The document can also include another section outlining key rules, grievance procedures, disciplinary measures, implementation of employment regulations, and a code of conduct.
The provision of an employee handbook is one of the key aspects of the induction process. This instruction manual is essential since it provides clear guidance, instructions, and ideas that explain how the firm identifies and addresses emerging issues. It also makes it easier for new workers to get a clear picture of the established culture (Dubravska & Solankova, 2015). Employees can use this manual when they are planning to quit their jobs. It also describes procedures for performance reviews, policies for transfers, and demotion. There is a need for companies to revise their employee manuals periodically or annually in an attempt to keep all workers informed.
There are unique advantages associated with such manuals that make them relevant in both small and large organizations. Firstly, this document makes it easier for new workers to complete their orientation processes successfully and within the shortest time possible (Richman, 2015).
Secondly, it is one of the best approaches for communicating policies, rules, guidelines, and procedures for new workers. Thirdly, the level of confusion decreases in the targeted organization since new employees will not encounter role conflicts. This is true since their responsibilities and duties are defined clearly. Fourthly, supervisors will find it easier to guide, mentor, and empower their respective followers. Fifthly, employee handbooks ensure that individuals apply and follow presented company practices, ideologies, and procedures (Dubravska & Solankova, 2015). Sixthly, the manual will notify workers about the outlined policies for various issues, including paid sick leave, benefits, and sexual harassment.
Organizations and employees will realize the full benefits of this handbook if it is written professionally. However, there are specific cons that individuals should consider whenever planning to use such a manual as the only model or tool for inducting new workers. The first one is that a poorly written document might lock employers to implied contracts (Richman, 2015). The second disadvantage is that it might be impossible for companies to use an employee handbook to implement policies and rules uniformly across all departments and units. Rotich (2015) goes further to indicate that such a booklet might fail to provide evidence-based approaches for addressing emerging issues that might not have been described.
Another outstanding weakness is that an employee handbook is accessible to unauthorized users and tells more about the confidential information of a given organization. According to Dubravska and Solankova (2015), failure to update the document periodically might create complexities and make it impossible for a given company to address most of the emerging challenges and concerns. Finally, manuals that do not resonate with the existing legal frameworks and laws focusing on employment and employer-employee relations will be less helpful to the organization. This is true since such a company will have increased chances of being sued.
Implementation of an Employee Handbook
Managers implement various measures to guide, empower, and support their employees. Although several laws guide organizations to support the rights and expectations of different workers, it is not mandatory to have such handbooks. However, many firms and companies consider the importance of such manuals in an attempt to achieve their potential and transform the performance of all followers.
There are specific theoretical concepts and HRM trends that can either guide companies to write or implement appropriate manuals (Rotich, 2015). Some specific theories and occurrences can encourage firms to ignore such documents and focus on their disadvantages. These two sections identify such concepts and trends that organizational leaders should always take into consideration.
HR Theoretical Concepts
Several theoretical concepts guide HR managers to make evidence-based decisions to empower and meet the needs of all employees. There are specific concepts that favor the introduction of employee manuals in different companies or businesses. The first one is that of organizational theory. This model explains that the behavior of workers and teams in a given company tends to dictate the level of performance.
Such a framework can become a powerful tool for encouraging HR leaders to implement and support the use of employee manual (Richman, 2015). Such a document will make it possible for all individuals to remain engaged and understand how to escalate problems and challenges they might face.
The concept of organizational behavior is the second model that supports the implementation and use of an employee handbook. According to this model, proper mechanisms in a given company will ensure that workers function effectively and focus on the intended goals. The idea of group mechanisms also emerged from this framework since members of different teams will collaborate if they receive timely guidelines and instructions.
These can be realized throughout the continuous use and consultation of an employee manual. Organizational behavior goes further to support the idea of individual characteristics (Dubravska & Solankova, 2015). With proper guidelines, individuals will focus on their abilities, values, and personalities in an attempt to support decision-making processes, overcome stress, and focus on the intended organizational goals.
Different theorists have gone further to present powerful HR concepts that can result in improved performance and maximize efficiency. For example, Henri Fayol managed to present an evidence-based model whereby leaders could apply appropriate managerial approaches to maximize performance (Dubravska & Solankova, 2015). They should focus on these four aspects or functions of management to empower their followers: controlling, leading, planning, and organizing (Rotich, 2015). With the implementation of an employee manual, it will be possible to guide all individuals and ensure that positive results are recorded. With the consideration of these theoretical concepts, it will be possible for organizations to introduce such handbooks and deliver positive results.
Unfortunately, there are other HR theoretical concepts that companies tend to consider before deciding to introduce employee handbooks. Such models promote superior approaches and initiatives that will ensure that the needs of all workers are met while at the same time maximizing performance. For instance, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of these frameworks that focus on the power of constant employee engagement and empowerment to achieve the intended objectives (Hassan, 2016).
For instance, the theory explains or guides leaders to offer adequate support and address the physical, social, emotional, financial, and self-actualization demands of all workers. This means that an employee handbook is incapable of fulfilling such expectations. While the theory does not reject the document, it proposes a better approach for guiding, mentoring, supporting, and empowering workers and making it easier for them to focus on the intended organizational goals.
Frederick Taylor presented a powerful theory whereby companies can take the issue of efficiency seriously. This means that they will provide rewarding jobs and match them with the competencies of the workers. This model does not guide companies to take the issue of an employee handbook seriously. Instead, the theory explains why there is a need for organizations to develop powerful initiatives for guiding, empowering, and supporting all employees. Such an approach will support the introduction of complex theories to maximize performance (Hassan, 2016). Despite such arguments, leaders should identify what works well and how companies can introduce employee manuals without affecting the performance and effectiveness of different units.
There are several trends HRM trends experienced in the world of business today. Such developments are expected to dictate the way HR managers lead, empower, and meet the emerging demands of every stakeholder group. Some of these trends will either oppose or support the implementation of employee handbooks in firms. The first one revolves around the idea of leadership. The informal managerial approach has overtaken the formal hierarchical model that many companies have practiced for decades (Rotich, 2015).
This means HR leaders are becoming more democratic, involved, and concerned about the welfare of new employees. Such a trend explains why the use of employee manuals might become a thing of the past in favor of evidence-based collaborative efforts and training programs aimed at informing new employees about the anticipated goals, existing policies, and job performance measures.
The second trend is that of personalized and transparent interactions between leaders and workers. Richman (2015) indicates that many employers are currently promoting new practices for mentoring individuals and not the entire workforce. This is something catalyzed by the fact that companies have different departments with diverse skill sets and goals (Hassan, 2016). This means that a uniform manual might not be appropriate for all workers. The provision of personalized rewards means that individuals will pursue their duties and roles diligently in an attempt to emerge successfully.
The issue of technology has resulted in a new trend whereby HR departments use social media networks and other platforms to guide, communicate, and empower different employees. The approach increases the speed at which decisions are made and problems resolved. Workers can liaise with their managers without the need to consult employee manuals. This development explains why many HR leaders currently prefer to engage their workers directly.
The nature of modern technology is also transforming the way companies pursue their goals (Hassan, 2016). For example, many organizations work with freelancers or outsourced employees, thereby making it impossible for them to offer such handbooks. Instead, it has become necessary to provide terms of conditions that guide and dictate the relationship between the workers and the company.
The redefinition of HRM is another trend that is currently transforming the performance and initiatives managers implement to achieve their objectives. For instance, many companies are focusing on new models for guiding and informing their employees about the existing policies and regulations that govern their behaviors and practices (Richman, 2015). This means that HR will consider emerging concerns capable of disorienting performance.
This kind of trend explains why the use of employee handbooks remains an evidence-based practice in many companies. Despite such conflicts and trends, the most important thing for HR managers is to consider appropriate strategies to involve, engage, and inform new employees about the existing policies and make it easier for them to support organizational performance.
The above discussion has indicated that an employee handbook is a powerful document for guiding and engaging employees in any given organization. Such a document will identify specific guidelines, mission statements, codes of conduct, and rules that all individuals should take seriously. However, there is a need for HR managers to focus on the outlined HR concepts and HRM trends since they support or oppose the implementation of employee handbooks in different companies. This knowledge will ensure that evidence-based decisions are made to engage workers and ensure that they deliver positive results.
Dubravska, M., & Solankova, E. (2015). Recent trends in human resources management in selected industry in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Procedia Economics and Finance, 26, 1014-1019. Web.
Hassan, S. (2016). Impact of HRM practices on employee’s performance. International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 6(1), 15-22.
Richman, N. (2015). Human resource management and human resource development: Evolution and contributions. Creighton Journal of Interdisciplinary Leadership, 1(2), 120-129. Web.
Rotich, K. J. (2015). History, evolution and development of human resource management: A contemporary perspective. Global Journal of Human Resource Management, 3(3), 58-73.
Using Employee Handbook for Induction