Paper Trails

Writing an employee handbook

At the core of any successful business, is a detailed and complete employee handbook. While it may be difficult to find the necessary time it takes to create human resource policies for your business, skipping this process can open your business to potential future compliance issues. Let us take a look at writing your company handbook.

What is an employee handbook?

An employee handbook is a comprehensive guide detailing all of your company’s policies and procedures. Your handbook will be a guide your employees can refer to when questions or situations arise. Furthermore, your handbook will also protect your business from compliance issues or potential legal action.

What information should my company handbook have?

A company handbook is a comprehensive guide detailing all of your company’s policies and procedures. A well written handbook should include the following.

  • Company mission statement
  • Employment at-will statement
  • Company code of conduct
  • Expectations of employees and work ethic
  • Overview of compensation such as employment classifications and pay schedule
  • Attendance and scheduling policies
  • Benefits overview such as paid time off, insurance, retirement, paid leave, etc.
  • Company safety practices
  • Anti-discrimination and harassment policies
  • Termination protocols
  • Disclaimers
  • Employee acknowledgement and signature page

Tips for writing a handbook

There are numerous things to consider when creating your employee handbook.

First, be simple and clear. Having simple and clear policies gives your employees guidance on how certain situations within your business are handled. Examples can include anti-discrimination, harassment, and break policies. Additionally, your employees are more likely to read a handbook that is simple and not full of legal jargon that they do not understand.

Next, provide details on the expectations of your employees. Outline your requirements on scheduling, code of conduct, and work ethic in-depth to set the standard for your employees from day one. These policies can be the basis of future disciplinary action when your employees are not performing acceptable work.

The main area of your handbook that your employees will focus on is the compensation and benefits sections. The more specific you are on these topics, the better. Details such as when pay day is, how often employees are paid, how raises are handled, what types of benefits are offered, and the eligibility requirements to receive those benefits should go in this section. If your company allows employees to work remotely, you will need to outline the expectations of remote work. Hybrid working affects compliance, data security, and employee engagement. Clear procedures need to be outlined regarding remote work to protect your business.

Equally as important, require that employees read and sign an acknowledgement page. Distribute the handbook and require acknowledgement as part of the employee onboarding process. Once signed, store this document as part of the employee’s paperwork. Your business will be protected if your employee claims to have not been made aware of certain policies.

Finally, it is important to remember that an employee handbook is an ever-changing resource. Human resource compliance becomes more cumbersome as your business continues to grow. Review the handbook annually, create new policies when needed, and edit the handbook as often as possible to keep it up-to-date.