What Is an Employee Handbook?

88% of business leaders are convinced that effective programs for employee engagement can help not only to attract but also to retain employees (source: charities). Using an employee handbook can help you give an overview of the engagement programs that you have in-line for the members of your workforce. This particular document can also help you present more details about your business in an effective manner. A basic employee handbook is a document that is given by employers during the first day of an employee’s actual employment or during the initial stages of the on-boarding process. There are also times where employee handbooks are distributed during orientation. The standard information that you can see in an employee handbook includes the policies of the organization, the guidelines and reminders for acceptable employee behavior, the working conditions and work environment that the employees can expect, and other details about the company and its regulations.

Three Types of Employee Handbook Content

Providing your employees with an employee handbook should be one of your new hire orientation checklist’s main priorities. Before you create a specific document, it is necessary for you to list down the information that you will discuss in it. Making sure that you will have a comprehensive, informative, and relevant presentation can enable you to optimize the usage of the employee handbook. Here are three types of employee handbook content that you should give focus on:

1. Organizational Culture-Based Content

The organizational culture-based content of your employee handbook mainly deals with the culture and values being promoted by your organization. Cultural content can begin with the welcome statement of the owner of the organization or a welcome note coming from the director of the business. Aside from this, it is also very important for you to provide an idea about the purpose and core of your company. Present your company’s mission, vision, goals, and objectives so that your employees can have an idea on why you do the things that you do.

2. General or Standard Business Content

The general or standard business content that can be seen in the employee handbook that you will develop should cover all the necessary information that you would like your employees to know about your policies and arrangements. This segment in the employee handbook can include discussions about holiday and special pays, employee perks; benefits; and other entitlements, operational standards and expectations, and standard business protocols.

3. Employment Case-Specific Content

The employment case-specific content that you will include in your employee handbook focuses on the company regulations, rules, and policies that are required and governed by law. From the implementation of disciplinary actions up to the execution of policy roadmaps, this part of the employee handbook should give a clear idea of how you expect your employees to behave.

Entities Who Can Benefit From Proper Employee Handbook Usage

The impact of having an employee handbook can vary from one entity to another. Understanding how an employee handbook can affect the performance of an individual or the way he or she looks at the organization is an important factor that you have to consider as you try to develop the employee handbook of your organization. To give you a better idea about your stakeholders and the ways on how they can maximize the usage of an employee handbook for their advantage, here is a list of some of the entities who can surely benefit from the proper usage of the specific document:

Employees: If your employees can thoroughly review your policies and regulations, it will be easier for them to avoid things and activities that can lead to the violation of these rules. Employees, with the proper knowledge about the company and its values, can perform productively and effectively since they are aware that they are well-taken cared of and that their rights and entitlements are highly-considered by the organization.Employers: An employee handbook can support not only your employees but also your organization. Employers can benefit a lot from developing an employee handbook as this specific document can make it easier for them to relay particular information about the organization to their employees.Clients or customers: Your employee handbook can explain to your employees how important it is to deal with other stakeholders with respect and courtesy. This can be very appealing to your target audience. If your employee handbook can persuade your employees to be at their best behavior all the time, then it can be reflected with the transactions that they involve themselves in. With the guidance of the employee handbook, you can make sure that there is a high chance that your employees can act as your ambassadors which can then enable them to build healthy and lasting relationships with your consumers, clients, or customers.

50+ Sample Employee Handbook

Sample Employee Handbook

10 Steps for Making an Effective Employee Handbook

Tracking the steps that you need to take so you can successfully create an employee handbook is very important. You should create an outline or a checklist that can help you make sure that you will execute a complete procedure which can result to the development of an impressive employee handbook. If this seems or sounds to be tedious and challenging, you can take the easier route by following a tried and tested procedure. Are you now ready to craft an excellent employee handbook? Here is a ten-step process that you can use as a guide or as a reference as you try to make your organization’s own employee handbook:

Step 1: Download an Editable Employee Handbook Template

To begin the development of your employee handbook, we suggest you to use an employee handbook template that you can modify. Select a pre-formatted template which presents a layout almost similar to the kind of employee handbook structure that you want to achieve. Once you already have a chosen template, develop the title page and introduction of the document.

Step 2: Present the Content of Your CEO’s Welcome Address or Letter

Most, if not all, employee handbooks contain a short letter or message from the owner and/or CEO of the company. This part of the employee handbook sets the tone for the organization’s warm welcome to the new members of their workforce.

Step 3: Write Down your Organization’s Mission and Vision Statements

Give an idea about your business by writing down its mission and vision statements. You can also present your corporate objectives and goals so your new employees can have a better perspective on how they can be an added value to the organization.

Step 4: Further Discuss Your Company History, Culture, and Core of Operations

Have a brief discussion about the point when the company started and the milestones that it has achieved which paved way to where it is now. Your company history can instill inspiration in the minds of your employees and it can also add to the ways on how they look into the business. In this segment of the employee handbook; discuss your business’ operational hours, work culture, championed workplace environment setting, office closures due to holidays and special occasions, and actual core of operations.

Step 5: Give a Clear Idea About Your Behavioral Expectations

Aside from presenting who you are as a corporate entity, it is also imperative for your employee handbook to clarify the things that you expect from your employees especially with regards the way they behave in the workplace. Allow them to understand how you pay attention to attendance issues and concerns as well as those that are aligned with proper dress code and grooming. The items that you will give focus on this part of the discussion will mainly vary on the regulations that are applicable for your business operations and requirements.

Step 6: Review The Processes for Regularization and/or Promotion

Even it is already specified in your employment contract, you can still discuss details about regularization and promotion in the employee handbook. However, this discussion should not be in-detail as you are only making yourself repeat what you have specified in the former document. Rather, you can just include an overview or a reminder about the subject matters. You can also incorporate a simple way of answering the frequently asked questions about regularization and/or promotion. If you would like to, you may present your employee training calendar in this part of the employee handbook.

Step 7: Present Your Corporate Policies

Your employee handbook must be able to present important information about the policies that your employees should follow and/or abide to. Some of these policies include those that are related to anti-discrimination in the workplace and anti-harassment to all employees. Discuss the at-will nature of employment as well as the major points of your code of conduct. Anything that deals with the safety and security of your employees must be included in this segment. Aside from these items, you can also write your policies about leave entitlements and how they can be filed and/or used.

Step 8: Provide an Idea About the Process When Filing Complaints

If your employees, in the future, will have complaints about the organization or any of its processes; you have to make sure that they are well-guided on how to get the attention of the business. Present the process for complaint filing as this can showcase your willingness to deal with the concerns of your workforce. This can also be very useful during dispute resolutions or in any other cases caused by misunderstandings, employment violations, and/or abuse of rights and entitlements.

Step 9: Come Up With an Acknowledgement Form That You Can Detach From the Employee Handbook

It is essential for you to make sure that your employees reviewed the items in the employee handbook. At the end of the document, create an acknowledgment form that should be signed by the new members of your organization. You can give them a deadline on when they can submit this acknowledgment form to the human resource department. You may also opt to use a separate form of acknowledgment which you will let your employees sign during orientation after the content of the employee handbook has already been discussed.

Step 10: Assess the Quality of the Initial Employee Handbook Draft Before You Finalize It

Look into the details of the employee handbook so you can measure their quality based on your set standards. Make sure that you will refine the document as much as possible so you can have an excellent output that you can show and give to your employees.

Benefits of Developing an Impressive Employee Handbook

Aside from the advantages that your employee handbook can give to the specific stakeholders of your organization, there are still more benefits that the specific document can provide. With all of the positive impacts that an employee handbook can deliver to your organization, you should not take any second-guessing on whether it is essential for you to create the specific document or not. To further push you to start making an employee handbook, here are more of the benefits that you can expect to get once you already have your hands on an impressive employee handbook document:

An employee handbook can enable your business to promote a harmonious and healthy work environment: With an employee handbook at hand, employees can become more aware on how they can show respect to the other employees of the business and to the management of the organization. If your employee handbook can address specific concerns in the workplace, then you can assure your employees that you will look at them objectively and fairly.An employee handbook can help you present basic information about the business: According to Gallup‘s report last 2016, only 40% of employees, who are considered as millenials, feel that they are connected to the mission of the organization strongly. As an employer, how many opportunities will there be where you can give an idea about your company’s vision and mission statements, corporate goals and objectives, and expectations? Maybe you are the one lacking initiatives in terms of engaging your employees further to your organization’s mission and vision. Using an employee handbook can enable you to relay all of this information, and more, to your employees all at once. Hence, an employee handbook can make it more efficient for you to present your core to the members of your organization.An employee handbook can showcase your commitment to your employees: Certain agreements, reminders, and special considerations can also be written in the employee handbook. These information can enable your employees to see how they can properly interact or communicate with the management of the organization. Allowing your employees to be aware of your protocols and reminding them of a few specifications from the employment agreement that they have signed can let you build a transparent relationship with them.

Dos and Don’ts for Creating an Excellent Employee Handbook

From a restaurant employee handbook to a campsite employee handbook, there are different kinds of employee handbooks that can be developed by businesses from different industries and fields. If you already want to have your own employee handbook, you have to review a number of tips that can make it more efficient for you to develop a high-quality document. Below are some guidelines that can let you easily create an excellent employee handbook.

Do’s

1. Do Make Yourself Aware of the Reason/s for the Employee Handbook’s Creation

Knowing what an employee handbook is and what it can do for your organization are two of the most important things that you have to be aware of even before the development of the specific document. You have to make sure that you are knowledgeable of the purpose of the employee handbook so you can narrow down its content based on its intended use.

2. Do Ensure That Your Employee Handbook Consistent 

For your employee handbook to be credible, it is important for the content of the document to be consistent. Make sure that the set of policies, regulations, and procedures written in your employee handbook are the same as those that are presented in all the other documents of your organization. With this, it is very essential for you to update your employee handbook from time to time so you can disseminate specific information that are aligned with and applicable in your current operations.

3. Do Consider The Comprehensiveness of Your Employee Handbook

It is necessary for your employee handbook to be complete, well-written, and understandable. Using a comprehensive employee handbook can give you an easier time when resolving issues, providing necessary details to your employees, and setting the expectations of your workforce towards the operations and regulations of the business.

Don’ts

1. Don’t Make Your Employee Handbook’s Content and Discussion Flow Seem Cluttered

Your employee handbook should have a logical structure that your target audience can understand and relate to. You need to make your employee handbook organized so it will be easier for your employees to browse through the document. Be strategic when developing the layout of the employee handbook as this can let you present important information accordingly and appropriately.

2. Don’t Use Industry Jargon or Any Language That Can Confuse Your Employees

Use simple, brief, and straightforward statements as much as possible. The easier it is to read your employee handbook, the better. Your employee handbook must not confuse or mislead your employees which is why it is important for you to avoid using sentences, languages, and/or statements that can cause either confusion and/or misunderstandings.

3. Don’t Write Any Inaccurate Information in Your Employee Handbook 

As a business, you need to gain the trust of your stakeholders. If you want your employees to believe, honor, and abide to all the information specified in your employee handbook; you have to make sure that you will not write any inaccurate details in the document. Make your employee handbook as error-free as possible so you can veer away from presenting loopholes that can actually ruin the credibility and reliability of your organization.

Use our downloadable templates and samples to your advantage. Browse through the selection of references above and chose those which you believe can help you create the best employee handbook for your organization.