We have had a request from a potential client to produce EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS for employees in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland and eventually Australia and Canada. Quite exciting if it succeeds.
The way we usually approach it is to send out some existing handbooks for the client to choose whether a long “USA style” handbook is required or a shorter one for a small office – we send clients an example from Hong Kong. We then propose to the client that the handbooks for each country should LOOK the same, with the same layout, typeface, chapter headings for all countries -but of course each handbook will have varying conditions for vacation, hours of work, overtime, public holidays etc.
So an employee will be able to go from one office to another and see a document that is very similar in each office. It makes the firm look unified rather than being composed of several different companies.
We also gently suggest that a handbook suitable for a company that employs thousands of employees might not be suitable for a sales office employing 10 employees.
There was some discussion as to whether there could be one handbook covering the whole of Europe: we could happily name the handbook “xxxxCorp European Handbook” but the content would be miles different for …say Spain…than for...Germany. If you have to keep saying “local conditions apply” there isn’t a lot of point of having a handbook.
So as a compromise we have suggested that the handbooks could be called... “XXX Corp European Staff Handbook -FRANCE” and “XXX Corp European Staff Handbook -CANADA” and so on. .and as mentioned above the documents will LOOK the same.