Understanding the Importance of an Employee Handbook and How to Write It

HR Manager working on documents

Whether you are expanding your team or opening a new office at another location, you need to make sure that your business and the rights of your workers are fully protected. You can do this by giving your recruits an employee handbook, so they can learn all about your company and their role in it.

Unfortunately, an estimated 60% of employees avoid reading the company handbook, or they are not provided with one. This could lead to crippling compliance, a decrease in productivity levels, and increased litigation costs. So, the best way to prevent all of this is to have a company manual in which you will include all important workplace guidelines.

If you’ve been tasked to write your company’s employee handbook, read our guide to learn how to do it right, what you should include in it, and the benefits you get from having it.

Understanding the importance of an employee handbook

Having a well-crafted employee handbook is a must for every company. In general, the main purpose of an employee handbook for small business ventures or big enterprises is to help your employees learn all about your business’s policies and rules. By clearly setting out company guidelines, you will be able to promote a positive, productive, and safe work environment that is free from improper or harmful conduct.

Besides this, a well-written employee handbook will also help workers understand what is expected of them while working for your company. This includes important information like timekeeping responsibilities, their roles, and disciplinary measures that may be taken in the event of misconduct. Also, your handbook can help protect you and your company from legal claims.

How to write an employee handbook

When creating your employee handbook, you should first make an outline with a logical structure of everything you want to include in the manual. For example, you should start by dividing all guidelines into different sections, so it will be easier for you and your employees to find the information you are looking for.

In terms of your terminology, make sure you use simple language that is free of jargon or confusing wording. Also, use short sentences because they are easier to read and understand.

Once you’ve written your first draft, share it with an employment solicitor to ensure everything is legally sound.

What to include in your employee handbook

In general, your company handbook should include information about your business’s policies, your expectations of your employees, their rights, and all other important workplace guidelines.

For example, the opening section of your employee handbook should include a welcome letter from the CEO of the company. It should be well-written with a positive tone to it so you can establish a good connection with your employees.

The next section should be about your company, its principles, history, mission, values, and culture. In this section, you should also include the policies, rules, and laws that govern daily work while on the job, as well as important procedures and behaviors for your business such as code of conduct, hours, attendance, dress code, breaks, meals, and technology use.

Also, your employee handbook must include certain legal statements that protect your and your employees’ rights in the workplace. For this, it is advised that you review the requirements in your state to ensure your handbook discusses all mandatory topics such as laws regarding leave for childbirth, workers’ compensation, disabilities, non-discrimination, equal employment policies, etc.

Other important information you should include in the handbook are:

  • Paid time-off policies (sick days, vacation days);
  • The benefits your company provides employees, both full and part-time;
  • Health and safety at work;
  • Privacy and security information;
  • Promotions and compensation;
  • Resignation and termination processes;
  • Anti-harassment policies and processes.

Final thoughts

The importance of having a well-designed employee handbook can never be overlooked. The manual will provide both you and your employees with plenty of benefits as it includes important information about your company and its policies that everyone must abide by at all times.

To gain a better understanding of the matter, read our post to learn why your business needs a company handbook, as well as how to write one properly.

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