How to Create a Great Employee Handbook

An HR managers’ guide to creating a robust employee handbook, with samples and best practices included.

How to Create a Great Employee Handbook
How to Create a Great Employee Handbook

How do you want your employees to feel about their work when they join your company? Lost, skeptical, and unwelcomed, or excited and ready for the ride? It’s a no-brainer that all organisations want their employees to feel happy and excited about their new workplace. Having a good employee handbook is one step in making a great first impression.

Building a positive workplace culture is very important. For new joinees, an employee handbook guide showcases the work culture of your organisation. But creating an employee handbook for the first time might be a challenge. If you’re wondering how to create a great employee handbook, here are some tips, samples, and best practices to follow.

What is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is the first touchpoint between the HR team and the new joiners and a great chance for you to introduce the company culture and values. Your employee handbook is also a repository of all the company policies, protocols, and employees’ legal rights. So, having all the details in place helps you communicate better what new employees need to know. An employee handbook serves as a single point of truth to protect your business legally and direct the employees if they have any questions.

Creating an Employee Handbook: Things to Include

1. Company values and mission statement

Introduce your new employees to your company values and mission statement through this section in the employee handbook. Inspire them to embrace the values you stand for and how they can embrace them during their job roles.

2. General information

A new joiner may have questions about the company’s leave or reimbursement policies, performance review methods, safety and security, food and transport facilities, and resignation and termination procedures. Include all such details in this section.

3. Important company rules and applicable laws

This is one important section to include in your employee handbook. Include important laws and companies that every employee should be aware of, like your anti-bribery policy (if you have one), anti-harassment or PoSH act, information security policy, and so on.

Code of conduct
Code of conduct

4. Code of conduct

Besides educating your employees about important workplace laws and policies, you must also make them aware of the code of conduct expected from the employees. This may include dress codes, social media policy, ethics, conflict resolution, data and customer privacy, personal usage of technology, and rules about accepting gifts from clients.

5. Talk about the benefits

New joiners love to read about employee benefits, and it is one of the most frequently referred to sections of an employee handbook. While creating your employee handbook, provide all the details about paid time off, insurance coverage, retirement benefits, and ‘soft benefits’ like food vouchers, transport facilities, flexible work timings, etc.

Work rules and discipline
Work rules and discipline

6. Work rules and discipline

Discipline creates an efficient and mutually respectful work culture. The best way to communicate work rules is by laying them down in the employee handbook so that every employee is familiar with them. Also mention how any violations to these rules will be addressed, by whom, and the extent of the disciplinary action taken.  

How To Improve Your Workplace Culture

7. Location-specific information

Each country and state has its employment laws. So, if your business has a diverse geographical presence, add a separate section where you can include all these important laws and regulations.

8. Time and attendance

To effectively manage your workforce, you need to track the number of hours employees are spending at work and their daily attendance. Include all these details in your employee handbook so that employees know their schedules, shift timings, how employee salary is calculated, etc.

Training and development
Training and development

9. Training and development

Use this section of your company handbook to highlight the different learning and training opportunities you provide your employees in order to develop and retain them.  

10. Remote work policies

Remote work is becoming common, and many companies are opening up remote work opportunities. If you have a remote/hybrid work culture, explicitly mention the work requirements, rules, and which roles are eligible for this opportunity.  

COVID-19 regulations

It is now important for organisations to include all the safety measures and guidelines related to COVID-19 in employee handbooks. Vaccine mandates, COVID-related leaves, different COVID-related measures taken by the company, work-from-home policy during lockdowns – all these details need to be mentioned in this section.

Employee Handbooks: Best Practices to Follow

  • Creating an employee handbook is not a one-time activity. It needs to be revisited and updated as your company norms/policies/regulations change.
  • Consult with all the department heads to ensure you have included all the necessary information and have not missed out on anything. For example, consult your IT head to understand the hardware, software, and data usage policy. Your legal head can tell you which important laws and compliances need to be included.
  • Keep the introduction crisp. Include a short note from the CEO to introduce the code of conduct in the company. Here’s an example from Salesforce’s Code of Conduct statement.
  • Finally, don’t make your employee handbook boring. Make it exciting and interactive so that employees go back to it repeatedly.

Also read: ‘The Big Quit’- Why It’s Happening and What You Should Do About It

Some Great Employee Handbook Examples:

The above-discussed pointers will help you to draft your employee handbook. But if you still need inspiration, here are some brands doing it right!

  1. Valve’s employee handbook is in-depth and has covered all the aspects you need to cover in a handbook, from the company mission statement to walking an employee through their first day at work. Check it out here.
  2. The handbook of Hubspot is in a traditional PowerPoint format, but they maintain their transparency by sharing it on SlideShare. Check it here.
  3. Netflix has an excellent employee handbook where they have translated their culture and value into actionable insights for their employees. Read it here.
  4. Talk about walking the walk, and Trello’s employee handbook is a great example! The tech giant has used its platform for its employee handbook, which they call an employee manual. See it for yourself here.
  5. Sterling Gold Mining Corporation has one of the most creative handbooks to look up to. It's an online format with a clear and concise copy. Check it out here.

A well-crafted employee handbook is your chance to showcase your work culture while also helping your employees with all the vital information they need to know while on the job. If you have not considered it yet, create your employee handbook now!

Are you an HR or business head, an entrepreneur, or a team leader? If the well-being of your team is a priority, Manah can be your go-to partner. Do check out our services:

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