How to Write an Employee Handbook and What to Include

How to Write an Employee Handbook and What to Include

An employee handbook ensures that all employees are informed of the regulations and standards needed to adhere to the work. However, creating an employee handbook is a significant task. What kind of information should you write to an employee's manual?

In this article, we'll go through an employee handbook, how to develop one, and what you should include in one, along with employee handbook examples.

What Is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook (sometimes called an employee manual or a staff handbook) is a document that outlines a company's rules, regulations, and expectations for its workers. It also outlines what the company expects from its personnel. Usually, New employees are given a copy of the employee handbook and asked to sign a document acknowledging that they have read it and agree to the rules.

Why Do You Need an Employee Handbook?

The employee handbook provides the details that an employee needs to be aware of working for the company. It does more than outlining the firm's policies and procedures. It also incorporates the most current labor rules and social norms that all employees and the firm must follow.

An employee handbook is an integral part of the recruitment process, as it provides factual information to new hires to support them in adjusting to their new positions. It sends a clear statement about who the organization is, their functions, and the expectations from their employees."

There are eight factors why an organization should have an employee handbook:

  • Employees are introduced to the company's culture, mission, and values.

  • Employees understand what is expected of them.

  • Employees are informed about what to anticipate from management.

  • The document clearly outlines company policies.

  • It demonstrates the advantages that the organization has to offer.

  • It ensures that federal and government regulations are complied with.

  • It provides clarity on where employees can seek assistance.

Are Employee Handbooks Required?

Depending on the industry and region, a firm may be required by law to have certain written policies. The handbook can be a helpful tool for keeping all of the important policies in one location. Firms must consult their legal attorney to determine which regulations apply to them.

A company’s employee handbook can also safeguard it from legal action. For example, if an employee is fired, having an at-will policy recorded in the handbook might help the firm prove it was legally correct.

An employee handbook is the most crucial document of an organization. It is more than just a list of corporate policies; it establishes the tone of the firm's culture and outlines values and acceptable workplace behavior. 

How to Write an Employee Handbook

An employee handbook should be structured and written clearly. Create an outline with a logical framework after you know what information you want to include. The below steps explain the process of developing and writing an employee handbook:

1. Examine the current company policies and make any necessary changes.

The handbook is written using company policies and procedures as a guide. The HR team should look around the workplace for common practices already in place, and if there aren't any, policies should be created. Once the firm has revised policies and formalized common practices, they should be re-examined by legal counsel, and HR should use these final policies to develop the employee manual.

Companies should also examine the rulings and guidelines of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 

2. Compile a list of what should go into the employee handbook.

The subjects contained in the employee manual should encompass the firm's mission statement, an equal opportunity statement for recruitment, a legal disclaimer, the objective of the employee manual, and the organizational background. The organization has the final say on whether or not to include other topics. Legal mandates for federal and state legislation that influence employees are important elements to consider. 

3. Prepare an overview of each policy and procedure.

A statement that outlines each policy and procedure should be included in the employee handbook. The explanations should be simple to understand and free of legal jargon; in other words, they should be written with the employee audience in mind.

4. Place each comprehensive overview in its proper category as per the outline.

Once HR has finished the outline and layout of the employee manual, the next stage is to define the firm’s position, rules, or policies, according to each of the outlined policy headings.

5. Do a final review.

The review process guarantees that the data is correct and understandable. HR, a project team, or both may examine the handbook. Once the document is completed, It is sent to legal counsel for approval.

6. Publish and distribute the employee handbook.

The next stage is to begin the publishing process, which includes formatting the guide to a specified size and style and sending it to the vendor. Upon completion of the formatting, a last inspection and approval should be carried out before delivering the printing manual. 

Once the final copies arrive, distribute them among employees or during new-hire orientation. Companies should utilize the intranet or email to post the manual electronically. 

What Should Be Included in an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook should outline your company's regulations, as well as your expectation of your employees and what they can expect from you. It should define your legal duties as a company and the rights of your employees. The below list highlights the major employee handbook contents:

  • General employment practices 

  • The mission and vision of your organization, as well as a description of its culture

  • Descriptions of the organization's processes

  • Code of Conduct

  • Diversity and anti-discrimination policy

  • Harassment-prevention policy

  • Policy on discipline

  • Policy on health and safety

  • Policy on compensation

  • Benefits policy for employees

  • Working hours and conditions

  • Policy on attendance and leave of absence

  • Policy on work performance

  • Policies on communication

  • Information technology policy

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

  • Recognition programs

  • Mentorship programs

  • Paid vacation policy(including maternity and paternity leave)

  • Disclaimers: Although the employee manual provides policies and guidelines, it does not constitute a promise or contract of continued employment. Also, state that the policies in the employee handbook are subject to modification at the company's discretion.

Employee Handbook Templates

Below are two Employee Handbook Templates that can be used as inspiration:

Template – 1

I. MISSION  

II. SUMMARY 

III. VOLUNTARY AT‐WILL EMPLOYMENT  

IV. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY  

V. WORK ELIGIBILITY 

VI. JOB DUTIES  

VII. TIMEKEEPING  REQUIREMENTS 

A. Hours of Work  

B. Attendance and Punctuality  

C. Overtime  

VIII. EMPLOYMENT POLICIES AND PRACTICES 

A. Definition of Terms 

IX. JOB DESCRIPTION AND SALARY MANAGEMENT  

X. REVIEW OF WORK 

XI. ECONOMIC BENEFITS AND INSURANCE 

A. Health/Life Insurance  

B. Social Security/Medicare  

C. Workersʹ Compensation 

D. Retirement Plan  

E. Tax-Deferred Annuity Plan 

XII. LEAVE BENEFITS AND OTHER WORK POLICIES  

A. Holidays 

B. Casual Leave

C. Sick Leave

D. Personal Leave

E. Military Leave 

F. Jury Duty  

G. Maternity and Paternity Leave 

H. Bereavement 

I. Extended Personal Leave  

J. Hazardous Weather Conditions  

K. Seminars and Conferences 

XIII. EXPENSES REIMBURSEMENT  

XIV. SEPARATION  

XV. RETURN OF PROPERTY  

XVI. REVIEW OF WORKFORCE AND EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES 

XVII. MANPOWER RECORDS  

XVIII. OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT 

XIX. NON‐DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION  

XX. COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SECURITY 

XXI. POLICY ON INTERNET USAGE 

Template – 2

I. Welcome 

  1. Introduction 

  2. Equal Employment Opportunity  

  3. Recruitment and Hiring 

  4. Employment Classifications 

  5. Exempt Non-Exempt Employees 

  6. Full-Time Employees  

  7. Part-Time Employees 

  8. Orientation and Training 

  9. Immigration Law Applicable to All Employees 

  10. Hours of Work and Overtime 

  11. Flex Time and Telecommuting 

  12. Attendance and Punctuality 

  13. Dress Code and Public Image 

  14. Workspace 

  15. Office Equipment 

  16. Personnel Records 

  17. Performance Reviews  

  18. Internet Access  

  19. Responsibilities and Obligations 

  20. Violation of this Policy 

  21. Confidentiality of Electronic Mail 

  22. Social Media 

  23. Telephones 

  24. Smoking 

  25. Substance Abuse 

  26. Safety and Accident Rules 

  27. Promotions and Transfers 

II. Anti-Discrimination 

  1. Accommodation 

  2. Workplace Harassment 

  3. Sexual Harassment 

  4. Supervisors’ Responsibilities 

  5. Penalties for Violation of Anti-Harassment Policy 

III. Compensation 

  1. Payroll Practices 

  2. Salary Deductions and Withholding 

  3. Taxes 

  4. Insurance 

IV. Benefits 

  1. General   

  2. Medical Insurance 

  3. Employee Contributions  

  4. Open Enrollment 

  5. Dental Insurance 

  6. Long and Short-Term Disability Plan 

  7. Workers’ Compensation Insurance 

V. Holidays, Vacation, and Other Leave 

  1. Religious Observance 

  2. Vacation 

  3. Accrual and Carryover 

  4. Procedure 

  5. Personal Leave 

  6. Notification Procedures  

  7. Bereavement Leave 

  8. Military Service Leave 

  9. Family and Medical Leave 

  10. Break Time for Nursing Mothers  

  11. Civic Duty Leave 

  12. Jury Duty 

  13. Appearance as a Witness 

  14. Voting 

VI. Miscellaneous 

  1. Leaving the Company 

  2. Dispute Resolution 

Manage Employee Handbooks With Lanteria

Employee handbooks are essential for any company; they make sure that everyone in the organization is on the same page and working toward the same objectives. 

Because employee handbooks are so crucial, they can't be rushed. You must give careful consideration to what you write and consider your target audience. Keep the document visually appealing and engaging by including pictures and colors, keeping paragraphs short, and using simple language. 

And, most importantly, the employee handbook needs to be easily accessible to every employee. With Lanteria, you can upload the employee handbook, and employees can access it through their self-serve portal. We make it easy for them to get needed information at any time and any place. 

If you’re ready to create a killer employee handbook, get started with Lanteria, the premier end-to-end HR software!


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