An employee handbook is a manual or a book was given by the employer to his employees to provide information related to the job. It is an integral part of the Onboarding process. It offers cultural content that includes the welcome statement, company values, mission and purpose, general information like policy summaries, company perks, and holiday-related information, and case-specific content like company rules, policies, grievance, and disciplinary procedures.
What is an Employee Handbook?
A company employee handbook is also known by names like company policy manual, staff manual, or employee manual.
It is a document that clarifies the mission and vision of the organization, the expectation of the employer from his employee, and the rights and responsibilities of the employee while he is employed in the company.
Employee Handbook Contents
Employee handbook design includes the following sections
1. Basic employment information
The coolest employee handbook has a section dedicated to information related to employment basics. It is a descriptive and informative part that offers employee information about job classification and terms of the contract.
If the employee has any queries regarding these topics, he can open up his company handbook and go through it for clarifying his doubts. This section of the handbook also includes rules regarding employee attendance in the organization. Contents include
- The company provides information on employees who will be considered part-time workers, full-time workers, apprentices, interns, or any other type of employee it is employing
- It clarifies equal opportunity rules to promote a culture of quality and respect in the company
- In the section for the hiring and selection process, the company handbook outlines all the steps related to these processes. It also mentions how to conduct pre-employment checks, how to handle them later on, information related to referral programs, and the procedure-related for referral rewards.
- This section of the handbook is very clear about the rules regarding attendance, timings, and reported and unreported absence, etc. in the organization.
2. Workplace rules and policies
The section in the employee manual regarding workplace policies defines what they should be and the conditions in which the employee will be working.
It is essential to include policies related to topics like health and safety and anti-harassment so that the employees are assured of a safe and lawful workplace atmosphere. The employee handbook template in this section should include
- This section of the handbook has information about confidentiality laws that your company adheres to at every cost. Mention any specific laws that the business entity has included in its manual to safeguard critical information and data against breach or loss. Explain what the organization expects its employees to do to protect data at all costs
- The manual includes a section related to issues like violence and harassment and what steps the organization has taken to eliminate these issues in the workplace. The company must clearly define the instances which it considers harassment and the possible repercussions of those actions
- The section related to health and safety in the workplace has guidelines that the employees will have to follow to ensure a healthy workplace. Include information that will clarify what steps the organization has taken to comply with laws about health and safety in the workplace and protect employees from medical emergencies or health hazards. Most organizations are becoming very strict and have banned smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs on their premises, and this is why they have clear rules regarding these issues along with emergency management and preventive actions.
3. Code of conduct
The employee handbook content should include a code of conduct that will set the rules regarding employee behavior in the organization. It will explain how the company expects its workforce to treat each other irrespective of their job position. With the help of the code of conduct, the organization tries to build a professional and safe environment where trust and ethics are at the forefront. This section of the handbook includes
- The employee handbook template in this section mentions the dress code which all the employees will have to follow and the one that they cannot follow in the workplace.
- The code of conduct describes what the organization considers a conflict of interest. It also mentions the steps that have to be taken in such circumstances and consequences that the employee will have to face if he by chance breaks company laws and rules
- Mention information related to digital services and cybersecurity. Lay the guidelines about social media usage, corporate email, company cell phones, and internet usage. The employees must have a certain amount of freedom as long as they are adhering to data and information protection guidelines
- It should also have rules in place about employee relationships as well as fraternization in the workplace to avoid unpleasant or unprofessional scenes later on.
- There is a section in the employee manual with specific guidelines about the employment of relatives. The critical question is who is considered the immediate relatives of the employee and in what circumstances and basis the organization will offer employment so that it is not accused of favoritism or nepotism.
- Outline the process through which the visitors can gain entry on the premises and what the organization has done to protect company property and data in case of unwanted visitors
4. Development and compensation
One of the most important sections of an employee handbook is dealing with development and compensation. The employee handbook template in this section should include
- The organization should mention the legal framework about compensation status and payroll on both exempt and non-exempt employees. Also, provide information about overtime rules and the days on which the employees will receive their salary.
- This section of the employee handbook content tells the employees about performance evaluation and the managers about their managerial roles and responsibilities. It also mentions how the organization expects the manager to lead teams, evaluate performances and what is the objective of this step
- The next section is about employee development and training programs and education budgets. It highlights the retention policy of the organization and what the company will do to boost their personal and professional growth
5. Perks and benefits
This section helps the employee to know about the perks and benefits which the company offers to its employees. The employee handbook template in this section should include
- This part of the handbook deals with employee health and wellness programs.
- One of the section deals with worker’s compensation if he is injured at work and what the company will provide for him
- If the organization has an option of work from home, it will mention in the handbook along with the conditions attached to it
- In this section, the organization mentions work-related expenses that the employee can reimburse.
- It also mentions whether the company will be offering company vehicles and to whom and whether free parking will be offered along with the vehicle
- Benefits and perks include the equipment that the organization provides to its employees like laptops, mobile devices, etc. Mention what happens when the employee leaves the firm or in case it is stolen
6. Working hours and vacation
This section is the most important one for the employees as it tells them about work time and leisure timings. The employee handbook template in this section should include
- The working hours of the company for all its offices are mentioned in this section. It also includes the number of days an employee can ask for paid leave and how he will have to request PTO
- There is a proper list of holidays in the handbook and how the organization will compensate if an employee has to work on such days
- It mentions the sick leave the company is obliged to provide and against which illness.
- This section also mentions employee leave that the organization sanctions in case of bereavement, voting, and jury duty.
- Most organizations offer maternity as well as paternity leave to their employees. It has to mention about all the terms and conditions in its handbook along with benefits like parental allowance or a few hours off to drop the baby at school or crèche
7. Resignation and termination
It is an employee’s right to know about the factors that can lead to their termination from the organization. It should also know about its right if he resigns from the job. The employee handbook outlines everything in detail.
- This section of the content tells about the progressive discipline process and how the managers should deal with it
- The section related to resignation provides information about the notice period the employee will have to fulfill in case if he resigns
- The termination section gives information about the circumstances when the company can terminate the services of any employee in its company and about severance pay and how it will compensate remaining sick leave and vacation days.
- An essential section of the handbook mentions conditions attached to providing references to the employees who have left the job voluntarily or were dismissed by the company.
Employee Handbook Examples
Some important company employee handbook examples are
1. Nordstrom employee handbook
The company that boasts of one of the most effective and influential handbooks is Nordstrom. It has a “One Simple Rule Approach” that includes having a straightforward rule and filling the content later, depending upon the scenario.
It is a tech company, and its handbook is also designed in the most effective manner that compels the reader to go through it repeatedly
3. Valve employee handbook
Another creative employee handbook example is from Valve. It has put a lot of onus on every single thing that is relevant to the organization, from philosophy to Onboarding to the last day of the employee in the firm in great detail.
4. Sterling Gold Mining Corporation employee handbook
The company handbook of Sterling Gold Mining Corporation is just a one-page site that the employees can scroll to know about all the relevant information.
Reasons for using an Employee Handbook
The reasons for the handbook ar as follows
- The reason for an employee manual is that it helps to introduce the new hire to the vision, mission, values, culture, policies, and procedures of the organization
- The manual ensures all employees are complying with state and federal laws
- One of the reasons for creating a company manual is to communicate organizational expectations to the employees so that there is no confusion later on
- The manual is designed to tell the employees about what they can expect from people in the leadership position
The advantages of company manual are as follows
- The company handbook is a means for an organization to communicate with the employees about its expectations from the employees and what in turn it is going to provide the workforce for their services
- One of the advantages of a handbook is that it helps the employees to work as per the required legal obligations and guidelines.
- The handbook is considered good for a company as it helps to create policies for the organization upfront so that it can be communicated to the employees. The manual is the fastest and easiest way to tell the employees about organizational policies and procedures
- The handbook helps the organization to create a safe workplace where the environment is the same for everyone. It helps to eliminate any bias.
- The handbook provides all the useful and relevant information related to the organization
- The manual helps to set the tone of the workplace. It attracts and retains talent because of its thorough policies at the onset
- The handbook minimizes the risk of employee lawsuits
The disadvantages of the company manual are as follows
- The handbook requires regular updates, and this proves a time-consuming process. In case the organization is unable to update and make changes with changing times then the policies might backfire on the company
- Creating a handbook is an expensive process that requires a lot of effort, energy, and money
- The handbook creates high pre-assumptions that can backfire if not applied properly
- If the organization fails to comply with any of the things written in the handbook it opens itself to discrimination claims
A company handbook provides an overview of the policies that are specific to a particular organization. It sets proper expectations and guidelines to avoid any confusion later on. It is one of the best ways to protect a company against future employee claims and lawsuits, and this is why it is considered an invaluable document.