Add a table of contents to your employee handbook to help readers navigate the pages easily.
Onboarding new employees is never easy, as the process comes with its fair share of challenges.
If you have to explain details about your organization and its work process to each new hire (along with existing employees), the task becomes even more tedious and time-consuming. Thankfully, a comprehensive employee handbook is the perfect solution to this problem.
Do You Need an Employee Handbook?
An all-inclusive employee handbook will save you from the stress of attending to the ton of questions and clarification requests that may come from new employees. Furthermore, it also saves you some time and helps you highlight the essential information members of your staff need to know.
For instance, imagine you had to clarify the details of your email account management system with every new hire. The process would become a hassle very quickly.
With a detailed employee handbook, every staff member knows their duties and can work more efficiently with fewer mistakes. As a result, you can even encourage improvements in your business’s productivity and boost your profit margins.
So, you see, a world of benefits comes with creating an employee handbook for your organization. But how do you do it? Keep reading to discover our guide to creating the perfect employee handbook.
Six Things You Should Include in an Employee Handbook
Your business’s employee handbook should be the product of extensive research and intentional efforts to create the perfect representation of your organization. That said, here are six essential elements for creating an excellent employee handbook:
Warm Welcome Note
A welcome message should be the first thing new employees see when they open your company’s handbook. Welcome notes help new hires feel appreciated and create a friendly atmosphere for employee integration.
As a rule of thumb, your welcome note should be short, straightforward, and show that you value your new employee.
Here is an example to give you an idea of what a good welcome note looks like:
“Thank you for choosing to work with (insert company name). We are glad to have you within our organization and look forward to a long, successful, and mutually beneficial working relationship with you.”
Policies for New Employees
Your handbook should also contain vital information to help new employees learn more about your company without overwhelming them with unnecessary details. This can go a long way in fast-tracking the onboarding process.
Here are some policies that should be covered in your employee handbook:
- Mission statement
- Company culture outline
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
- Document collection process
- Salaries, taxes, and bonuses
- Conflict of interest clause
- Details of human resource processes
- Leave or vacation policies
With company policies, the key is to keep them as brief as possible and use easy-to-understand words. Long and overly technical words may confuse new employees, which you don’t want. Also, let them know they can reach out to you (or your onboarding team) if they require more clarification.
Remember, you want your new employees to fill up the vacant spaces in your workforce as fast as possible. So, providing the necessary details about your company works in your favor.
Workplace disputes are sometimes unavoidable, regardless of the measures you put in place to prevent them. Therefore, it is only wise that you have a standard procedure for handling disputes in the workplace. More importantly, your employees (both new and existing) should know the process for settling such disputes.
In other words, your employee handbook should contain a section on legal causes and dispute resolution.
New employees should have insight into your company’s policy on workplace disputes and how to resolve them. This way, they know what to do (and what not to do) when they have issues with other workers within your organization.
Here are some essential details that should go into this section:
- Confidentiality policies
- Conflicts of interest
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives
- How to deal with complaints
- Workplace violence prevention clause
Having proper documentation of your legal clauses will go a long way in helping you gain the confidence and trust of new employees.
Here, you will give your new employees insight into what they should expect from you in terms of financial compensation and duties. This includes everything from salaries and bonuses to taxes and more. Remember, you should express this information in an easy-to-understand format such that there is no confusion about what your employee should expect at the end of each month (and maybe at the end of the year). An Excel form may work here.
Either way, it is essential that you include as many details as possible. For example, if your company offers employees incentives based on work achievements or time, you should add information about such possibilities in this section.
Bonuses can go a long way in motivating your staff to channel as much of their resources (skill, experience, time, etc.) to contribute to your business’s productivity and growth. In addition, they can help improve your employee retention and engagement rates. Furthermore, highlighting your employee reward programs and benefits for smashing work milestones is an excellent idea.
Additionally, if your company offers employees benefits such as medical insurance (free or subsidized), travel compensation, gadgets, etc., you should include this under your financial expectation section.
Code of Conduct
Where there are no rules, there is no order, they say. The same applies to the workplace.
Suppose you don’t have established rules and regulations regarding employee behavior during work hours and their attitude towards work. In that case, it may be somewhat challenging (if not impossible) to enforce sustainable work ethics.
Without a proper code of conduct, any KPI software will likely show a downward trend in your company.
Therefore, your organization’s employee handbook should contain information regarding a code of conduct to ensure an ideal work environment that provides maximum productivity, peace, and smooth employee relationships.
Here are some other benefits of establishing a code of conduct in the workplace:
- It ensures equality among your workers.
- It fosters discipline during working hours.
- It helps create a safe, peaceful, and conducive work environment.
- It ensures employee accountability.
- It helps maintain order and hierarchy in your organization.
That said, your code of conduct should include the processes of disciplinary actions for employees who fail to uphold it.
While some employees may become assets you never want to see go, resignations are inevitable in the business world. So, you have to be ready. More importantly, your employees should have information on the due process to follow if they ever want to resign.
Depending on the employee, resignations can sometimes be a sensitive topic and may even come with some tension. However, you can make the process seamless and more comfortable for all the parties involved by including a section on resignation in your employee handbook.
This section should contain details regarding:
- Resignation notice period
- Financial settlements
- Return of company cars or related equipment
- Post-resignation confidentiality agreement
However, while you want to make sure the details regarding resignation are clear and concise, always infuse some empathy in this section. After all, that may be your company’s final interaction with such employees. So, do all you can to ensure the relationship ends on a positive note.
Top Employee Handbook Examples
Now that you have some insight into the information an excellent employee handbook should contain, let us examine some companies with impressive employee handbooks you can look to for inspiration.
Valve is a good example when it comes to employee handbooks because of its superb execution. The document covers everything from the company’s philosophy to a quick rundown of a new employee’s first day.
Netflix took a matter-of-fact approach to their employee handbook. They didn’t mince words, utilizing 129 slides full of concise sentences to pass their message across.
If your company is more particular about being a fun work environment, Netflix’s straight-to-the-point handbook may not be your ideal template. But they do manage to create a comprehensive resource for new employees.
Facebook’s employee handbook is undoubtedly one of the best in the business with its expert designs and engaging flow. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself reading the handbook repeatedly.
Of course, they also made sure to throw in relevant and detailed information regarding the company, its mode of operation, values, and more.
The HubSpot handbook focuses on turning usually boring subjects into engaging and entertaining slides while making sure readers learn what they need to know about its core values.
Like Netflix, they opted to create more slides rather than cramming overwhelming information into a few slides. However, HubSpot also sprinkled some humor into the mix to lighten the mood, unlike Netflix.
Pro tip: Add a table of contents to your employee handbook to help readers navigate the pages easily.
Follow these tips, and you’ll likely find yourself with a comprehensive employee handbook that helps new employees understand your organization and fast-tracks their onboarding process. Of course, you may have to tweak some parts to fit your company’s profile and adhere to government regulations in your region.