Employee handbook: A step by step guide to creating an employee handbook

Employee handbook: A step by step guide to creating an employee handbook

Employee handbook

The company and the employee can benefit from an employee handbook as a communication tool. In a textual format, it provides direction and information about the organization's history, mission, values, policies, processes, and benefits. It's also seen as a way for employers to defend themselves against discrimination or unfair treatment charges. It's a quick reference guide to the company's rules and procedures, as well as an outline of management's expectations. On the other hand, a policy is a written declaration that expresses the employer's goals and objectives for various employee activities and employment-related issues.


Employers should require every employee to sign a written acknowledgement that they have received the handbook. As a way for the business to prove that the employee was made aware of the policies, the acknowledgement should be saved in the employee's personnel file. The handbook should not be considered an employment contract, as this could influence the employment-at-will status. It is critical to have legal counsel review the guidebook.


An employee handbook is a collection of regulations, procedures, working conditions, and behavioural standards that govern employee behaviour in a specific business.


Employee handbooks typically contain company information, a welcome letter from the president or CEO, the company's mission, vision, purpose, values, and broad strategic goals, the company's commitment to employees, and various non-compete, non-disclosure, and employee confidentiality agreements, if the company employs them.

They also address attendance standards, non-exempt and exempt employment statuses, severe weather closures, corporate property use, and anything else that employees should be aware of. Finally, most employee handbooks detail policies around employee salaries and benefits, paid time off and other terms and conditions of employment.


What Is the Role of an Employee Handbook in the Workplace?


Employers utilize handbooks to establish a collection of consistent policies and procedures across the board. They also use handbooks to define working conditions and the behaviour and contributions they expect from their employees.


They believe that by taking a collaborative approach to tackling workplace challenges, they will build a more harmonic, fair, and supportive environment for both employees and employers.


Employers also utilize employee handbooks to guide how to treat employees ethically and legally. They defend themselves against complaints involving harassment, wrongful termination, and discrimination. Employee handbooks typically include a code of conduct for employees that establishes guidelines for acceptable behaviour in the workplace.


Most employee handbooks also include progressive discipline and processes for filing a complaint. It allows the employer to know that employees are aware of actions and behaviours that may result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment.


The at-will employment statement is in the employee handbook in locations where at-will employment exists.



What are the Benefits of Employee Handbooks?

Employees will always know what is expected of them at work if they have a well-written, comprehensive handbook. They understand how their employer will handle and implement the company's policies and procedures and what they may anticipate from the company as employees.


They are aware of how their employer will handle issues and complaints. They have a reasonable expectation that employees who have similar problems would be treated similarly. They, too, share a knowledge base with the rest of the staff and know what is vital to the company.


Employees appreciate having the advantages and compensation to which they are entitled laid out for them. Finally, the handbook acts as a quick reference guide to a wealth of information that employees require on the job.



What should be included in an employee handbook 

Each employee should receive a copy of the handbook during the orientation process, and any updated editions should be distributed to existing employees to maintain a consistent flow of communication. Enough employee feedback will also assist management figure out precisely what kind of information to add to help an employee be more productive on the job.


The following items are commonly seen in a handbook:

  • Absences
  • Accidents \\benefits
  • Coffee breaks Cleanliness
  • Complaints
  • Workplace confidentiality
  • Decorum \\discrimination
  • Dismissals \\emergencies
  • Fire \\intoxication
  • Service in the military
  • Misconduct
  • Usage of office supplies
  • Purchasing supplies
  • Diagram of the organization
  • Orientation
  • Overtime
  • Employee parking is available.
  • Paydays
  • Periods of pay
  • Plans for retirement
  • Personal correspondence
  • Calls to individuals
  • Visitors who are individuals
  • Periods of probation
  • Promotions Professional ethics
  • Rights to reemployment
  • Resignations
  • Retirement
  • Calculating your salary
  • Deductions from pay
  • Work schedules
  • Sick time
  • Policies on smoking
  • Tardiness
  • Work on a contract basis
  • Cards for keeping track of time
  • Evaluation of work
  • Habits at work
  • Periods of work
  • hours of work
  • Compensation for employees


Ensure that all procedures are aligned with the firm's growth plans and reflect current company philosophies and objectives when drafting the handbook. In addition, disclaimers should be mentioned in the handbook's introduction:

  1. The employee handbook is not a contract of employment between the employee and the company.
  2. Employees may be fired at the company's discretion.


These disclaimers should be included in your handbook to help you avoid potential litigation from terminated employees. When the handbook is complete, legal counsel should examine it to comply with current federal, state, and local employment regulations.


The employee handbook is critical to the growth and structure of your company since it informs employees about what the employer expects and what the company will deliver in terms of a productive working environment. More significantly, it forces the employer to apply corporate policy consistently rather than allowing it to vary from person to person or from one scenario to another. Employees want to believe that they will be treated fairly regardless of their situation or position. This sense of equality fosters a collaborative environment, which is crucial for productivity.


The ability of an employee handbook to focus employees' attention on job performance is perhaps its biggest asset. It alleviates the concerns of an employee's lack of knowledge about policies and benefits.


Contents of an employee handbook

An employee handbook typically contains regulations, processes, perks, employment relationship expectations, professional behavioural expectations, and other information. This sample table of contents includes pay, performance goals, and legal considerations.


Please utilize these examples as a starting point for constructing your employee handbooks. The following are some of the contents to be found depending on the size of the company.

  • Overview and Relationship with Employer
  • Information on Jobs in General
  • Workplace Professionalism and Company Representation Attendance at Work
  • Payroll Information
  • Compensation Schedule
  • Time Worked Benefits Recording
  • Use of Company Equipment and Electronics by Employees on Time Off from Work
  • Performance Expectations and Evaluation


Both organizations and employees benefit from a well-defined employee handbook and consistently applied policies. However, it would help end your employee handbook in a good tone. Reiterate how pleased you are that an employee has joined your organization and welcome them. Take inspiration from employee handbook samples, but be sure to write in your company's tone and voice.

Trish Makiwa
This article was written by Trish a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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