Does your Singapore startup need an employee handbook?

employee handbook singapore

Hiring your first employee is always a high point for every startup. However, managing employees can be challenging, particularly if you’re a startup founder without any management experience. While talking about a startup’s culture can seem sometimes seem a little “fluffy”, a company’s culture can take on a life of its own, and dictate whether a startup succeeds or fails. As the maxim goes, a startup is only as good as its employees, and as a founder, you’ll want to make sure the few employees you hire are on board with your startup’s vision, mission and values.

This is where creating an employee handbook can have many benefits. While there are some startups that consider an employee handbook to be an oppressive relic utilized by monolithic, faceless corporations, drafting an employee handbook doesn’t have to a 1984 kind of situation.

Even in a startup environment, a well-drafted employee handbook can be a cost-effective and efficient way of communicating essential information to your startup’s employees. It distills the startup’s procedures and rules for employee-related matters and explicitly defines what conduct is acceptable in the workplace. In a nutshell, the employee handbook explains to the employee what will be expected of them and what they can expect from management.

A well-drafted employee handbook:

1). Introduces employees to the culture and goals of the startup.

2). Sets out employee expectations and how they will be met.

3). Communicates what will be expected of employees.

4). States the benefits offered to employees.

5). Acts as a defence against employee claims.

6). Treats employees consistently.

While an employee handbook isn’t a mandatory legal requirement in Singapore, as your startup expands and hires more employees, it starts making more sense to create an employee handbook. It’s fine and dandy to spend some time talking to your first one or two employees about workplace policies but this can easily become an all-consuming process when your company expands beyond ten employees.

If you'd like to hire a lawyer to draft your startup's Employee Handbook, click here.