4 Tips To Design Your Employee Handbook For Your International Employees

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Employee handbooks for global employers can not be ‘one size fits all’. Creating an employee handbook that caters to international employees provides companies with a chance to articulate their unique company values to a larger audience.

4 Tips To Design Your Employee Handbook For Your International Employees

Employee handbooks are designed specifically to be compliant with local and state laws, and creating a single employee handbook that goes for both international and local employees might seem to be a unicorn.

If the company doesn’t acquaint itself with the local culture of international employees, grievances might occur.

While setting up international offices, the company needs to design an effective and diverse employee handbook that is in compliance with the employment laws of that area to avoid legal issues.

Besides adding basic information about the company’s mission, vision, work environment, core values, policies etc., these are some of the things that should be modified for the employee handbook to cater to the international employees:

1. Global Code of Conduct

The same code of conduct does not apply to everyone. For example you might have an international employee who comes from a place where discrimination based on gender and sexuality might be a norm and they might not know that behavior is unacceptable in the company and might cause legal issues.

To avoid such issues there has to be a very comprehensive code of conduct that states clearly what is gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or discrimination on the basis of sexuality, and any such behavior will get the employee in trouble.

The employees need to be aware of what the company considers to be acceptable behavior which is why creating a code of conduct while keeping in mind that not all employees come from the same culture is important. If you are setting up an office in an international setting,  make sure you go through their local laws regarding discrimination and what is considered to be appropriate behavior.

2. Diversity And Equal Opportunities

When a company has International employees they are expected to make a commitment to diversity and provide equal opportunities for all of the employees. It should be clearly stated that all employees get equal benefits and would not be discriminated against based on their race or culture.

This will increase morale in the workforce,  create higher employee retention rates and enhance the company’s reputation. Creating a policy regarding diversity will make the employees more positively contributing towards the company and ultimately fuel the success of the company.

3. Grievance Procedures

There are different grievance procedures in different countries and jurisdictions which might lead to conflict within a company’s practices.

For example in the United States employers can terminate employees at will without any explanation once a formal complaint with evidence has been lodged against them but in other International settings, there are different grievance procedures against such issues.

The same rules cannot be followed for all employees or at least international employees should be made aware of the grievance procedures followed in the company to avoid any negative reviews from the employees or complaints of injustice within the company.

In the case where a company is setting up an international office,  the HR needs to go through local grievance procedures and include them in the employee handbook respectively.

4. Compensation and Benefits

In different International settings, there might be different retirement ages and compensation for employees depending upon the local culture and employment laws.

While designing an employee handbook for international employees it is important to include comprehensive compensation and age benefits for the employees so they can understand the company’s culture more thoroughly and avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

For international offices, the company will be expected to offer compensation and benefits according to the host country’s employment laws.

Whether you are hiring International employees or setting up an office in a different country,  complying with the local employment laws is important.

When designing an employee handbook make sure to be more thorough so that the newly hired employees can be well acquainted with the culture of the company and any sort of misconduct can be avoided.

HR should consult the local employment attorneys and carefully curate a global employee handbook that avoids getting the company in hot waters with the law enforcement and shows that the employer is actively trying to participate in the betterment of its employees.