Verdel Instruments Ltd contacted us for help in creating an employee handbook, off the back of their successful £1m investment in April. The pioneering Coventry-based company – who develop solutions in the field of spectrometry – say the ‘straightforward and efficient service’ has proved vital for their business. With the support of our employment lawyer Ella Bond, we helped to create an employee handbook for Verdel which matched their needs.
Verdel were connected to Harper James following a referral by Longwall Ventures, the investment firm who work alongside them. Verdel’s CEO Robert Burch, said: ‘Our investors made clear from the start that it was important we got in place a good accountant and a good legal services provider. In Harper James, we have that.’
‘We wanted to develop a handbook that set out to employees what is expected of them and also made clear what our valued employees can expect from management,’ Robert added.
‘As a relatively new company, it is important to know that five or ten years down the line we won’t now face an issue where an employee can say we didn’t have a proper set of policies in place. The service from Harper James represented really good value in my opinion. If we had a question, we would get a quick and direct answer. They produced a handbook we were really happy with in a short space of time. I also know that when there is change in any employment law, I will be made aware of this by Ella and her team and we will be supported in updating our handbook accordingly. That’s really reassuring.’
Robert added that the service had also prompted his company to turn to Harper James for support in other areas. ‘We’ve now been working with Harper James for support on some IP issues as well. What I like most is that you tend to deal with the same group of people each time when you have a query. With some professional services, you don’t get that. Having a personal service from our legal providers is a massive plus and I’d definitely recommend them to others.’
For employment expert Ella Bond, staff handbooks are an important tool for managing the relationships between employer and employees: ‘It’s important for companies of all sizes to ensure that any staff handbooks they produce are fit for purpose. A staff handbook provides much greater detail on the parties’ obligations and expectations than a contract of employment. When written well, it can provide a significant cornerstone in helping employers to resolve disputes and defend claims bought against them in an employment tribunal.’
‘Staff handbooks should include policies which are legally required (such as those containing disciplinary and grievance procedures) and I also recommend that they contain other policies which will help to guide the parties on a raft of employment-related matters. Those policies will answer questions such as:
- when annual leave can be carried over into the next leave year
- what are the criterion for any commission or bonus payments to be made
- how will persistent short-term and long-term sickness absence be managed
- what limits are there on expenses claims
- how will requests for flexible working be managed
- what payments will be due for different types of leave
‘Each company will operate differently and have their own rules, benefits and ways of dealing with matters, so it’s important that any staff handbook which is drafted is made bespoke to accurately reflect that.’
Verdel announced the close of its £1 million equity funding round from Longwall Ventures in April. They have found success by pushing the boundaries of complex sample analysis using innovative Two-Dimensional Mass Spectrometry (2DMS) technology. The approach was originally developed for large, complex FT-ICR instruments, but Verdel has developed technology that transfers the technique onto commonly used, high throughput linear ion trap instruments. Verdel’s technology is based on research by Professor Peter O’Connor at the University of Warwick.
The technology is platform-agnostic, meaning it can be applied across a wide range of linear ion trap, Q-ToF, and Quadrupole-containing instruments from all leading suppliers. Verdel is also developing its own instrument tailor-made for high speed and high performance 2DMS analysis.