Employee Handbook

Do you believe you don’t need to bother with establishing a solid employee handbook? Consider again.
As your company grows, an employee handbook serves as a guide for what your employees can expect from you and what you expect from them. So, unless you are a single employee of your company, or you run a family firm with only you, your sister, and your cousin as employees, you need an employee handbook. Creating an employee handbook, on the other hand, might be a demanding undertaking. This article discusses the benefits of an employee handbook, what should be included in an employee handbook, and how frequently an employee handbook should be reviewed and updated.

What is an Employee Handbook?

Employee handbooks are often known as employee field guides or staff manuals. It informs new employees and employees about the company, such as its:

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Policies
  • Procedures
  • Workplace conditions
  • Expectations for behavior/code of conduct

This information is critical for new hires to get started on their first day. They should have a solid understanding of the company after reading the handbook, including how things are done and what is expected of them. This gives them more confidence in approaching their work and enhances their efficiency right away.

Existing employees can use the handbook as a resource whenever they require knowledge about the workplace, such as payroll procedures or their employment rights.
New employees should be given the handbook on their first day of work. Each time the handbook is updated, existing employees should receive a copy.

What Should Be Included in an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook should be divided into parts so that a wide range of information may be provided.
Here are some examples of what should be included in an employee handbook:

  • The Basics of Employment
  • Policies in the Workplace
  • Code of Ethics
  • Compensation and advancement
  • Advantages and Advantages
  • Working Hours, Paid Time Off, and Vacation
  • Employee resignation and dismissal.

By connecting these sections, you can create a comprehensive firm employee handbook. The whole template includes these elements as well as an introduction to help you welcome new staff to your organization.

To help you even more, here’s our explanation of what each section comprises, as well as recommendations for fleshing out your own employee manual to meet your company’s needs:

#1. The Basics of Employment

This part is largely instructive and will assist you in establishing basic job-related definitions. It will inform your staff about the conditions of their contract and job classification. They can refer to this part as a resource anytime they have fundamental queries.
This is also a good place to establish attendance policies. You might also describe your hiring process to prospective hiring managers in your firm.
Here are some things to mention in the Employment Basics section:

  • The various forms of employment contracts. Define full- and part-time employees, as well as interns, apprentices, and other workers.
  • Equal employment opportunity. This is a required statement not just for legal concerns, but also to foster a meritocracy and respect culture in your business.
  • Process of recruitment and selection. Outline the typical steps in your hiring process here. Also, if you frequently undertake pre-employment checks, specify the stage at which hiring managers might order them and even how to handle them. Similarly, if you have a permanent referral program or frequently provide referral bonuses, this is a good location to clarify the approach and relevant guidelines.
  • Attendance. State attendance policies, for example, outline what employees should do if they are unable to attend work or the circumstances under which unreported absence may be excused.

#2. Workplace Policies

This section defines your workplace and how it should be. It is about the working circumstances of your staff. Include anti-harassment and health and safety standards in your employee handbook to create a legal and pleasant environment where your employees may thrive.
Here are the policies included, along with suggestions on how to tailor them to your own workplace:

  • Confidentiality and data security. Mention these laws and how you ensure compliance, as well as what you expect your staff to perform.
  • Harassment and violence. Respect for and from coworkers is an essential component of a pleasant work environment. In this section, you can affirm unequivocally your commitment to eliminating workplace harassment and violence. You’ll also define what constitutes harassment and discuss potential consequences.
  • Workplace health and safety. This section will give guidelines for employees to follow in order to maintain a healthy and safe workplace. You can include activities your organization has done to ensure compliance with occupational health and safety laws, as well as to protect employees in dangerous jobs or in the event of an emergency. Our template includes sections on prevention, emergency management, smoking, and a drug-free workplace. If your organization has relevant requirements, you could also include a mental health policy.

#3. Code of Ethics

Your Code of Conduct serves as a guideline for employee behavior. You’ll spell out how you expect employees to treat others, whether they’re coworkers, partners, customers, or external stakeholders. It’s all about ethics and trust, and creating a safe and professional environment for everyone.
Include the following sections in your own Code of Conduct:

  • Dress code. Even if your company does not have a dress code, you can indicate it here. Employees should be aware of what they can and cannot wear. Describe criteria as thoroughly as possible; for example, what does ‘formal clothing’ entail to your organization?
  • Digital gadgets and cyber security. Address internet usage, company cell phones, corporate email, and corporate and personal social media use. Establish standards without being unduly restrictive to employees; most individuals expect some leeway in these things as long as security and data protection guidelines are followed.
  • Conflict of interest. You can describe what a conflict of interest is, what employees can do if they encounter one, and what the consequences are for willfully violating relevant laws or company rules.
  • Employee bonding and fraternization. While many firms are open to employees becoming friends or dating, basic ground rules must be followed to avoid rumors or unprofessional incidents.
  • Employed relatives. This part is critical for avoiding allegations of nepotism and favoritism. Provide precise guidelines for working relationships permitted between relatives in your organization.
  • Visitors to the workplace. This is a question of safety as well as data and company property protection. Outline the procedure for inviting visitors onto corporate grounds so that personnel is always vigilant and responsible.
  • Distribution and solicitation. In this section, you can discuss attempts by outsiders or employees to solicit or distribute flyers, products, or services, as well as how employees should handle such situations.

#4. Compensation and advancement

This section explains how you compensate and recognize employees for their efforts while also assisting them in their development. These policies demonstrate your appreciation for employees and encourage them to stay with you.
Include the following sections to work on this:

  • Payroll and compensation status. This section is particularly significant for the United States, which has rules governing exempt and non-exempt personnel. You can explain the legal framework and clarify the laws regarding overtime. You can also specify the days on which employees get their salary or wages.
  • Performance management This part informs employees about how their performance will be evaluated and prepares supervisors for managerial responsibilities. You can discuss the goals of performance evaluations and how managers should lead their teams.
  • Employee development and training. This is your opportunity to highlight an important aspect of your retention strategy: ensuring that employees grow personally and professionally. You may discuss training opportunities and, if applicable, education budgets.

Read Also: WHO IS A SALARIED EMPLOYEE? All You Need To Know

#5. Compensation and Development

Have you ever heard an employee say, “Gee, I didn’t know we had a gym discount”? It’s very likely that employees are unaware of the full range of benefits and incentives provided by your organization. This section assists you in keeping staff informed about this topic.
The following parts may be included in our benefits and perks (but please add your own unique advantages and perks):

  • Employee well-being. Private health insurance, gym membership, and wellness programs are all examples of this. Include explanations of pertinent laws such as the FMLA and COBRA.
  • Workers compensation. Outline the procedure employees should take if they are injured at work, as well as the benefits you will provide. Modify our template in accordance with local legislation.
  • Working from home option. The opportunity to work from home is becoming increasingly common. Explain how employees might request remote work and the regulations they must follow (for example, cyber security at home). Outline regulations for permanent remote workers as well.
  • Employee costs. Mention which work-related expenses you’ll cover and how the reimbursement procedure works.
  • Car provided by the company. If you provide corporate automobiles as a benefit, make sure to notify employees about how you expect them to behave while driving and which expenses you will cover (for example, gas and fees).
  • Parking. Similarly to the corporate car benefit, if you provide free parking at the workplace, make sure staff understand how to handle their assigned space. Outline the criteria you use to allocate parking spaces if you have a restricted number of them.
  • Equipment provided by the company. If you provide employees with equipment (such as phones or laptop computers), make sure they know how to care for it. Include what happens if the device is stolen or damaged.

#6. Working Hours, Paid Time Off, and Vacation

This is one of the sections that employees will be most interested in. They want to know how they may divide their time between work and leisure or out-of-work duties when they join your organization.
You can create your own applicable policies by referring to the areas below:

  • Working hours and PTO (paid time off). Mention your company’s general operating hours as well as any deviations. Then, specify the number of paid days off you offer employees and describe the process for requesting PTO.
  • Holidays. List any holidays observed by your organization and explain how you will compensate employees if they are required to work on these days.
  • Sick leave. Outline what the law requires you to offer employees, as well as any additional sick leave benefits you’ve opted to provide. You might include both the short-term and long-term definitions of sickness.
  • Leave for bereavement. Allow employees who have lost a loved one a few days of bereavement leave – this is a sensitive benefit that can help you build trusting relationships with employees.
  • Jury service and voting. Explain the law surrounding leave for civic obligations and what documentation employees may be required to bring.
  • Parental leave. This can include legally mandated or company-sponsored paternity and maternity leave for employees who have or adopt a child. You might also incorporate parental allowance perks, such as a few hours off to attend school meetings.
Read Also: EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT: Benefits and Discount Ideas

#7. Employee Resignation and Dismissal

Employees need to know how their employment relationship with your organization will end in the event that something does not work out. Especially if a disciplinary procedure is involved.
The following is an outline of the contents:

  • Progressive Discipline. Go over your progressive discipline process steps and how you anticipate managers to handle them.
  • Resignation. When an employee resigns, they must be aware of their notice time as well as the resignation process. This is also an excellent time to address concerns such as tuition or relocation reimbursement, as well as clearly prohibiting forced resignation.
  • Termination. Specify applicable laws as well as your own internal employee termination procedure. Mention the terms of delivering severance money, as well as how you plan to reimburse leftover vacation and sick leave.
  • References. Include a brief statement about providing references to employees who have resigned or been fired. For example, if an employee was fired for cause, you have the right to decline to provide references to them.

#8. Conclusion

You can use the conclusion to notify staff about future modifications and request that they acknowledge having read the handbook. However, you should end your employee handbook in a good tone. Reiterate how pleased you are that an employee has joined your organization and express your gratitude.

Why Should You Put Together an Employee Handbook?

#1. Compliance with the law

There is no requirement that you have an employee handbook. Many federal and state regulations, however, compel businesses to advise employees of their working rights. One of the greatest methods to convey this information to your employees is through your staff handbook.

#2. Conflict resolution

The company’s code of conduct is outlined in the employee handbook, so employees know which activities are acceptable and which are not. It also emphasizes the ramifications of bad behavior. This can dissuade employees from engaging in harmful behavior and urge them to adopt healthy attitudes and habits.

#3. A warm welcome to new employees

Employee handbooks can assist new employees in feeling at ease in their workplaces. Employee engagement and loyalty can be improved by learning about the company’s history, mission, and basic values.
Furthermore, the employee handbook:

  • Enables you to establish your personnel policies and procedures.
  • Simplifies employee onboarding by giving each new employee simple access to the information they require.
  • Aids in the development of consistent policies and processes, ensuring that all team members are on the same page.
  • Reduces the likelihood of employee complaints and lawsuits, such as employees claiming you failed to inform them of their workplace rights.
  • Serves as a reference for employee clothing requirements, vacation and sick leave regulations, parking advice, timekeeping policies, and so on.

It is critical to write an employee handbook as soon as you have a goal statement and know what information you must or want to share with your employees.

Read Also: EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY: How To Create An Advocacy Program

Employees Should Be Given the Employee Handbook

At new recruit orientations and annual business training, you can provide printed copies of the employee handbook. If you have a remote office, you can email the employee handbook to employees. You should also inform employees on how to access the employee handbook at any time, whether through a printed copy in the corporate break room or an electronic copy on a company intranet or shared Google Drive.

Regularly Review the Employee Handbook and Update It as Needed.

The employee handbook should be reviewed on a regular basis by company management to verify that the policies and procedures are followed and aligned with company practices. The employee handbook should be updated as needed, and any changes should be notified to employees as soon as possible.

Tips For Employee Handbook

  • Maintain a positive, professional, and intelligible tone.
  • Avoid utilizing legal jargon or ambiguous wording.
  • Keep a copy of the employee handbook on hand for all employees.
  • In their personnel files, keep employee acknowledgments.
  • Include contact details for a company person who is available to answer queries.
  • Communicate updates to staff as soon as possible.

What Should I Include In an Employee Handbook?

Start with a template that covers all of the main themes that a handbook should include, and then add the appropriate information for your firm.

Is It Mandatory For Firms To Give an Employee Handbook?

Employee handbooks are not required by federal law. However, depending on the company’s kind, size, and state, there may be information that must be provided to employees. A handbook can legally offer any required information, as well as crucial and useful information for employees.

What Characteristics Distinguish a Great Employee Handbook?

When creating an employee handbook, keep it up-to-date and concise. Avoid jargon while demonstrating your company’s culture and spirit. A mobile version of your handbook is also beneficial.

Are Employee Handbooks Legally Enforceable?

Employee handbooks are regarded as an extension of the employee contract and are thus legally obligatory in court unless expressly stated differently.

What is Needed By Law in an Employee Handbook?

You are not required by law to have an employee handbook, but you must advise employees of their rights. Some organizations require workplace signage, while others provide written notices during the onboarding process.

Is It Necessary to Sign an Employee Handbook?

Although it is not needed by law, receiving a signed acknowledgment from employees is preferable because the handbook describes the company’s principles and guidelines. Even if the employee refuses to sign an acknowledgment of receipt, he or she may still be held accountable to the policies and guidelines specified in the handbook. If an employee refuses to sign an acknowledgment of receipt, you should talk to him or her about it.

How Frequently Should Employee Handbooks Be Revised?

Your employee handbook should be updated at least once a year. Keep up to date on employment legislation and regulations, however, to protect both yourself and your staff, and reflect any changes in your employee handbook.


A good employee handbook should be professional and helpful, free of legal language, and supportive of the company’s culture and principles.


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