Business Owners: This Is Why You Need an Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is an essential guide for businesses. It is a document that provides vital information for employees, offering comprehensive guidance about the values of a company as well as outlining employment rights. Ultimately, an effective handbook should act as an introduction to your company’s culture. It should also act as a guide your employees can regularly refer to and use to improve their performance. If you believe in your company’s vision and procedures, you should ensure every employee reads it. It can cover everything from employee best practices, and even notes on employment law

When compiling a handbook for your company, you should include the following. 

A Compelling Introduction

This opening section of the employee handbook should consist of the company’s mission statement and business ethos (the company’s culture). 

The first weeks of a job can be daunting for new employees. They will meet new people, adjust to new processes and need to adapt to a new company culture. So the introduction of your handbook should reassure them and provide a warm, educational and compelling welcome. 

The introduction should instil a sense of “belonging” in the new employee. This will allow them to adjust to their new workplace quickly — and become productive more immediately.

A Mini “about Us” (History of Your Business)

Including information about your company’s history allows employees to connect with and learn about the company they work for. You can mention the company’s founder and core USPs and values. This section also allows you to introduce senior members of staff and their responsibilities and roles. 

Content Outlining Policies and Employment Law

Employees need to have a “knowledge base” to refer to so they can learn about a company’s policies and procedures. This section of the handbook should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • The employer’s business compensation policies 
  • Employee benefits 
  • Workplace rules. 

Note: you need to update this section of the handbook regularly, so it adheres to current regulations. So, when new laws are passed — for example, GDPR — or new policies introduced, your employees will have the most up to date information about HR and employment law

Company Perks/Employee Benefits

Employees are probably more interested in this section than any other! This section is your opportunity to outline what you offer in return for an employee’s commitment and hard work. You need to detail any bonus schemes your company uses to reward high-performing workers.  Benefits such as special holidays — for example, no work policy on employee birthdays — should also be detailed. 

 How Do Employee Handbooks Build Relationships?

A well-written and comprehensive handbook can create positive and strong relationships between employees and employers. It can be the catalyst for discussions and create a thorough understanding of the company’s values. 

An employment guide can also provide clarity and guidance if there’s ever a dispute by acting as a common reference. The handbook should explain how the company handles certain issues, such as dismissals or employee differences. If any legal action occurs, the employee handbook should also outline the kind of behaviour expected from both employees and employers.

Change the Name of Your Handbook

The title “Employee Handbook” is not appealing and needs to be reconsidered if you want your employees to read it. Try changing it to something more unique and personal to your company — for example, “The Complete Company Guide for You”. Personalising your handbook could be a way to engage your employees. 

Employee handbooks will vary for each business. You don’t have to follow a specific format or adhere to one prototype. The most important thing is, your handbook is your platform to boast about your company’s values and “sell” your company’s unique appeal.