Tips for creating an effective employee handbook

  • Last Updated : October 11, 2023
  • 3 Min Read

The first few days of an employee's new job set the foundation for their time in your organization. Your company must provide information and guidance for employees to understand your culture, policies, and processes. One of the best ways to improve the onboarding experience is to create a company employee handbook for your new hires.

An employee handbook is a document created for employees that provides essential information regarding your company culture, policies, and terms of employment. It is an employee manual that sets expectations and guides employee behavior in the workplace.

What should be in an employee handbook? 

When creating an employee guide, you should include all the necessary information required to succeed in your organization and answer the common questions that a new employee may have. Here is a list of items that are typically included in a company handbook:

  1. Company mission statement

  2. Background information on the company

  3. Non-disclosure agreements (if applicable)

  4. Conflict of interest statements

  5. Code of conduct

  6. Sexual harassment policies

  7. Anti-discrimination policies

  8. Safety and security

  9. Technology

  10. Media relations

  11. Employee benefits

  12. Compensation

  13. Payroll deductions

  14. Performance reviews

  15. Hours of work and availability policies

  16. Leave policies

  17. Promotions

  18. Transfers

  19. Termination

  20. Exit policies

  21. Acknowledgment forms

How to create an employee handbook?

By building effective employee handbook content, you can keep your employees fully informed and address questions regarding your company’s policies and procedures. The following are some tips to keep in mind while creating your employee handbook design:

Tell your story

Including the history and culture of your organization can make employees feel acquainted from their first day of work. Add your vision and mission statement to communicate your values and help employees align themselves towards your organization's goal.

Create a checklist of the documents

Before creating your handbook, you can build an outline of what to include in it. Creating a checklist will ensure no information is forgotten and avoids confusion and unintentional noncompliance with your policies.

Make it simple and engaging

Your company handbook should not be an information overload for employees. Keep your sentences simple and straightforward to explain complex concepts clearly. You can also include pictures and illustrations to boost your handbook's readability.

Add a summary for each section

Policy statements in employee handbooks can often contain legal verbiage that may be difficult for employees to comprehend. To avoid this, add a paragraph summarizing each policy and procedure in simple language to help employees understand them better.

Get it reviewed by the legal team

Your company employee handbook likely contains legal guidelines and policies that may change over time. Get your handbook regularly reviewed by a legal team to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and avoid conflicts. 

Create an acknowledgment form

A signed acknowledgment is a way for the organization to establish that their employees were made aware of their policies. Add an acknowledgment form stating that employees are responsible for reading, understanding, and complying with the policies and guidelines in the employee handbook.

Gather feedback and make improvements

As employee handbooks are written from the management's perspective, there is a chance you could leave out some information employees may want or need. Gather feedback from your current employees to make sure your handbook has adequate and readable information or needs improvement.

Since employee handbooks play a key role in standardizing your operations, you'll need to put consideration and effort into creating that handbook. However, balancing your organization's goals with the needs of your employees to create an effective employee handbook will make investing that time and energy well worth it.

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