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How Do I Write an Employee Handbook?

How Do I Write an Employee Handbook?



The employee handbook is the single most important document for your organization. Even so, many employers, particularly small ones, lack employee handbooks. Startups frequently make the mistake of considering handbooks unnecessary or outdated, but they are extremely useful for even the smallest organizations. What is an employee handbook, and what should be included in them?

What is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is a road map for employees, clearly outlining what behaviors and work patterns are acceptable to the company. A detailed, easy-to-read handbook sets the tone of your company’s culture and expectations, and it communicates to new hires that they are joining an organization that has vision.


What to Include in an Employee Handbook

A great employee handbook or Culture Guide will include the following key elements:
  • Key employment law policies, including federal, state and local regulations.
  • An overview of the company and general employment policies such as job classifications, employment eligibility, employee records, job postings, termination procedures, resignation procedures, union information if applicable, and leave policies.
  • Anti-discrimination policies—employers must comply with laws prohibiting discrimination, and harassment, as well as ADA compliance. The handbook should include employee expectations.
  • Sexual harassment prevention statement, and the company’s commitment for zero tolerance.
  • Work scheduling: Policies on hours of operation, schedules, attendance rules, punctuality, and reporting absences. Who does the employee notify, who and how does the manager notify, and how does HR handle?
  • Conduct standards—how you expect employees to behave in the workplace, including dress code, cyber security, and device policies.
  • Safety and security: Even in office environments, safety protocols need to be shared. This includes where emergency exits are located, how to report an accident, and OSHA reporting requirements. This section should also include the company’s statement regarding inclement weather or hazardous situations.
  • Tech security: Outline policies on technology, such as appropriate use of company email, blog posting, computer software, and social media usage.


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