An employee handbook is the first welcome material for your new recruit. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to create an impressive employee handbook. Read on!
What is an employee handbook? It is a manual and a guide for the employees of an organization. The sole purpose of creating it is to ensure awareness of the employee policies and procedures, the expectations from the employee and how the company compensates or benefits its staff. In this article, we are going to focus on creating a big, medium or small business employee handbook.
What is an employee handbook?
While writing an employee handbook, key critical content areas to be considered are,
- Code of Conduct
- Escalation Policies
- Communication Policies
- Compensation and Benefits Policies
- Non-discrimination Policies
- Recruiting and Separation Policies
- Dress Code Policies
- Employee ethics and grievance Policies
- Gifts and Donations Policies
It ensures the company’s norms and policies are followed strictly without any deviations. It is sometimes referred to as a human resource employee handbook or recruitment manuals.
Also Read: How to motivate employees | A complete guide
Objectives of a company handbook and why is it important?
The key objectives of a company handbook are to explain the expectations of the company from the employees and vice versa. In this section, we will discuss the importance of an employee handbook and the information imparted. It is a kind of an employee manual which can be referenced by new employees, managers, HR department etc.
Staff handbook for uniformity
A staff handbook or a company handbook specifies the company ethics and procedures. It mentions the behaviour expected from employees and the management in any positional hierarchy. You can also term it as a policy handbook wherein the actions adopted by companies are defined in case of any policy violations.
HR company policy handbook
HR norms and regulations are mentioned in the company policy handbook. Leaves, holidays, dress code, benefits, compensation, performance reviews, hiring and separation policies and others are mentioned in the employee handbook. It acts as an HR policy manual, setting the expectations regarding the work schedules of the employees.
Employee policy handbook for new joiners
New employees need to understand the duties and responsibilities along with the company employment policies. The employee policy handbook provides detailed information on the company objectives, and employment policies and procedures. It acts as an employee guide for acquaintance with the company’s ways of working.
Employee policy manuals for the usage of personal gadgets
Employee policy manuals mention the terms and guidelines for the usage of personal gadgets. The usage of such kind of devices within the office premises or while working in a remote environment is mentioned in the company handbook. The terms and conditions and the legal liabilities in case of mishandling or illegal usage are also specified in the company manual.
Employment handbook on non-discrimination
Non-discrimination, harassment, favouritism, and the ethical policies of the company are penned down in an employment handbook. The employees can refer them to protect themselves from any discrimination or harassment from any co-worker or supervisor. The employee policies act as a guideline on whom to approach and the actions to be undertaken in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
Key items to be included in an employee handbook
In this section, we will focus on the below key items to be included,
- Business Code of Conduct – Information like ethical policies, workplace safety norms and attendance regularities. The expectations must be specified along with the consequences for not adhering to the guidelines in the employment manual.
- Communication Policies – An important element of an employee handbook. It constitutes office rules for employees related to the usage of devices for surfing the internet, storing photos, texting or making personal phone calls, posting on social media platforms etc.
- Non-discrimination Policies – Employee Policy and Procedure Manuals must contain policies involving discriminations related to age, race, religion, disability, pregnancy.
- Compensation and Benefits Policies – The employment policy handbook must specify the payroll elements, overtime policies, benefits, other elements related to compensation.
- Hiring and Separation Policies – An employment manual must mandatorily include policies related to recruitment, joining offers, pay frequency, transfers, deputations, relocations, referrals and separation.
- Escalation Policies – Whom and when to escalate for averting risks, must be mentioned in the company policy manual.
- Dress Code – Dress code both for men and women is a key element in employee policies and procedures manual. Both casual and regular dress code details must be mentioned in an employee handbook.
- Promotion Policies – Promotion guidelines, eligibility criteria and procedures must be mentioned in the handbook for employees
- Gifts and Donation Policies – The conditions for accepting gifts and donations, the approvals for the same and the products to be accepted by the company are mentioned in the staff manual
- Acknowledgement – Once an employee is provided with the job manual or employees handbook, he or she needs to acknowledge the same. If it’s an online handbook, an electronic signature is mandatory else it must be hand-signed.
How to create an employee handbook?
Well, now when we have gained a fair idea of an employer handbook or employee handbook. Now the next concern is how to create it. In this section, we will discuss in details the tips and tricks on how to create a handbook, employee handbook covers and employee handbook outline.
The recommendations can be used to create an employees guide or employee handbook for small business and even big or medium-size business. The suggestion is to create a simple employee handbook and not a complex one as it may confuse the employees.
Prepare a basic employee handbook
First and foremost create a basic employee handbook mentioning the company’s mission, vision and objectives. Besides, you must mention the background of the company in the employee handbook, the purpose of the employees policy manual along with contractual disclaimer and At-Will statement.
That must be the starting point of the employee book as an introduction and prelude to the company employee handbook. One of the answers to your question on how to make a handbook. You can refer to a model employee handbook for reference.
Policies and procedures in company employee handbooks
The second most important section in company employee handbooks is the company’s policies and procedures. The norms related to safety, harassment, disabilities, attendance, hours of work, overtime, violence etc. must be mentioned in details in any generic employee handbook.
Besides you can mention the relevant government acts and legal bindings that define the policies. The other important part of the best employee handbook or human resources handbook is to specify the consequences to be faced for violating the rules.
Employee guidelines and rules
Employee guidelines and rules form a vital part of employment policy and procedure manual and personnel policy manuals. Promotions, transfers, terminations, social media usage, email policies, internet usage and many more fall into the list of the employment policies and procedures manual.
The employees can refer them for understanding the rules that need to be followed. All the guidelines must be mentioned in details with examples in the employees manual, for easy reference. This is one of the tips for creating a new employee handbook
Design the employee handbook cover
Designing the employee handbook cover must not be underestimated when you think of how to create an employee handbook. The cover of the employee handbook must be professional yet not dull.
It should contain the company name, and the company logo (for example a google employee handbook must have the google icon on it) as the mandatory inclusions on the cover of the employment policy manual. The image selected for the book cover must be complacent with the purpose of the employee or HR handbook.
List down the employee rules
Plan and list down the employee rules that you want to percolate within the employees. The rules must be defined for all departments – HR, Finance, Admin, and other supporting units of a company. The rules must be verified and approved by all the departments before penning them down in the handbook. Another important activity when you think to design and create employee handbook.
Define the employees policies and procedures
The employees policies and procedures must be defined with proper details, description, any supporting acts or laws, legal bindings and the consequences. The policies and norms must be endorsed by all department heads and approved by the higher management and leadership of the organization.
It’s binding on the employees to abide by the policies and procedures and must be carefully reviewed when you think of how to create an employee handbook. Besides, it must contain the standards of conduct, the disciplinary processes and the exit process.
Circulate free employees handbook
Once the handbook has been finalized and written, it is crucial to distribute and circulate the free employees handbook to all in the organization. You must specify the importance of the handbook to all employees at any hierarchal levels and the guidelines that everyone needs to follow in the company. You must insist all employees read through the handbook and understand the guidelines specified for company employee or company personnel.
Design the employment policy manual
The employment policy manual must be designed appropriately. The key contents of an employee handbook design are,
- Employee handbook cover page
- Employee handbook Introduction
- Employee Handbook welcome statement
- Employee Handbook policies
- Employee benefits
- Safety norms and guidelines
- Acknowledgement and Receipt from employees
Department of human resource handbooks
They are also referred to as human resource handbooks. The reason being you need to pen down the HR policies and benefits in them. The list include Holidays, leaves, vacations, paid time off, medical and health insurance, retirement and pension plans, and life insurance benefits.
Besides learning and development programs, educational assistance programs, compensation details and service awards also must be drafted in the free employment handbook. Important elements to be considered when you decide how to make it.
Create an Acknowledgement section in the staff handbook
In the staff handbook, you need to mention an acknowledgement section where the employees can sign for the receipt of the document. If the handbooks are sent online then the employees will sign electronically the document.
Else it needs to be signed manually. So you need to create a section in the employee handbooks for capturing the acknowledgements from the employees and record it as an acceptance from them.