How to Write an Employee Handbook that Staff Will Actually Use

What’s one factor that each the smallest of startups and the biggest of enterprises want?

An worker handbook. In case you assume having one is pointless to your small firm with only a handful of staff, assume once more. No matter your group’s dimension, a well-written handbook’s impression shouldn’t be neglected.

Passing out a handbook could make new hires really feel extra geared up to deal with their day by day work whereas rising their effectivity throughout onboarding. Along with having crucial particulars for brand new staff, a handbook can embody longer paperwork that present a reference for firm insurance policies all through an worker’s tenure with a company.

It’s frequent for human useful resource professionals to show to HR compliance software as they handle all HR-related assets and particulars in a handbook.

Why your organization wants an worker handbook

Taking the time and placing within the effort to create an worker handbook is a should for organizations of all sizes and shapes. 

Let’s take a look at among the principal explanation why your group wants an worker handbook to reference.

  • It introduces new staff to the corporate’s values, mission, tradition, and targets.
  • It particulars employer and worker expectations.
  • It explains key firm insurance policies, guidelines, and rules in a transparent and concise method.
  • It offers info relating to advantages that staff might have.
  • It ensures the group all the time stays compliant with state and federal legal guidelines.
  • It lets staff know the place they’ll go for assist and who to show to after they have a query or concern.

What to incorporate in an worker handbook

In case you’re creating an organization worker handbook for the primary time or for a model new firm, you want a spot to begin. And for that, it’s all about figuring out what sections to incorporate and what info goes the place. 

“An worker handbook is a policy-driven doc, making it clear to staff what’s anticipated, together with areas round conduct and efficiency. A well-written handbook may be an effective way to strengthen tradition, values, mission, and imaginative and prescient.” 

Kristina Creed
Director of Individuals Operations at

Employment fundamentals

Your organization’s handbook ought to begin with the fundamentals. Kick issues off with an worker handbook desk of contents originally after which introduce info and key particulars.

First, present details about the corporate’s mission assertion and values to make sure alignment proper in the beginning. Share a press release explaining what issues most to the corporate and spotlight the values staff ought to abide by. 

Want some inspiration? The G2 Worker Handbook outlines our PEAK values, which you’ll be able to learn extra about on our G2 Culture Page.

This part also needs to embody an equal alternative employment assertion. It is a crucial a part of the handbook, not just for authorized functions however as a result of it promotes a tradition of meritocracy and respect in your office.

Subsequent, define the recruitment and choice course of. This part ought to share the everyday steps of the hiring course of and details about background checks, referral packages, and different common tips. Additionally, point out if any of those guidelines differ between full-time and part-time staff, along with non permanent, contract, and non-exempt workers.

Lastly, share some background info on the corporate and the way it got here to be. Have some enjoyable with this part! 

The corporate background info can reply questions like:

  • What’s your organization and what do you do?
  • Who’re the founders and when was it based?
  • The place was the unique workplace?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Why ought to others care?

Office insurance policies

As soon as the fundamentals are coated, transfer alongside to specifics surrounding office insurance policies and the situations staff can count on to work in.

The insurance policies and ideas that ought to be included listed here are:

  • Confidentiality and knowledge safety: Sharing fundamental guidelines relating to the safety of knowledge, how staff can abide by legal guidelines as regards to the corporate, and what’s anticipated of each worker.
  • Attendance: Outlining attendance guidelines, like what an worker ought to do in the event that they’re unable to make it to work and who they need to contact. This coverage will seemingly rely in your group’s trade.
  • Harassment and violence: Itemizing the entire present federal, state, and native legal guidelines making use of to your workforce. This lets staff know your organization is dedicated to eliminating all forms of harassment and violence within the office. This part ought to outline what counts as harassment and violence, what disciplinary measures will happen if these guidelines are damaged, and the way your organization immediately avoids a hostile work environment.
  • Workplace setting: Detailing info like work hours, the work-from-home coverage, lunch and break durations, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lodging, and insurance policies pertaining to firm gear.
  • Office well being and security: Presenting tips for workers to observe to make sure a wholesome and secure office. It may additionally element how your organization complies with occupational well being and security legal guidelines, in addition to details about how staff are protected in hazardous roles or from emergencies. Firms also can embody a psychological well being coverage, particulars relating to an worker help program, and the way they intention to mitigate job burnout.
  • Fee schedule: Explaining your organization’s pay durations. It also needs to define which cost strategies can be found.

Code of Conduct

A code of conduct spells out how an employer expects staff to conduct themselves at work. Each group has boundaries, and this code basically covers any unacceptable habits.

Guidelines and rules inside a code of conduct can embody:

  • Costume code coverage: Describe applicable and inappropriate office apparel. The gown code coverage ought to be as detailed as attainable.
  • Social media and private know-how use: Get particular relating to the parameters of social community use and private know-how, like their smartphones, when working. 
  • Medication and alcohol utilization coverage: Most firms use this part to element their substance-free office and clarify whether or not they check staff for medicine or alcohol use all through their employment. 
  • Battle of curiosity: Describe what constitutes a battle of curiosity, what staff can do when confronted with one, and what the results are for breaking firm guidelines.
  • Guidelines surrounding accepting items from shoppers or clients: Be particular relating to the foundations for accepting financial or different kinds of items from clients.
  • Worker relationships and fraternization: Lay down guidelines about staff changing into mates or courting to keep away from gossip or unprofessional conditions.
  • Office guests: Define the method of bringing guests to the workplace as a result of it is a matter of defending staff and firm knowledge and property.
  • Battle decision coverage: Clarify the protocol to observe when conflicts happen between staff and what disciplinary actions occur if points aren’t resolved.
  • Communication coverage: Convey how staff ought to work together with each other, in addition to with clients, companions, and distributors. It ought to set expectations for e-mail, instant messaging, and social media.

Compensation and improvement

An worker handbook’s compensation and improvement portion offers info surrounding worker compensation and employee development. This part is likely one of the most incessantly referenced sections within the handbook.

First, element the payroll schedule, which means how usually full-time and part-time staff obtain their paychecks. Choices listed here are often a weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or month-to-month cost schedule. This part additionally goes into element about any payroll tax deductions.

There are three principal forms of payroll deductions:

  • Pre-tax deductions and contributions: Cash that’s taken out of your staff’ gross pay earlier than any taxes are withheld from their paycheck. These usually go to some sort of retirement fund, medical health insurance, or commuter advantages.
  • Native, state, and federal taxes: Cash that’s withheld from an worker’s pay on every paycheck.
  • Publish-tax deductions and contributions: Cash that’s taken out of your staff’ paycheck in any case relevant taxes have been withheld. This features a Roth 401k, wage garnishments, and union dues.

Subsequent, define if additional time pay is obtainable to staff who work over their agreed-upon hourly work week. This part also needs to present info relating to promotions, lateral profession strikes, and transfers. Moreover, this half ought to be particular about different types of compensation, like employee bonuses and advantage pay.

Then, have a efficiency administration part of the handbook. Workers use this info to grasp efficiency analysis. Managers look to this info to make clear which duties are anticipated of them. You possibly can point out the goals of efficiency evaluations and the way you count on managers to steer their groups.

Lastly, element your coaching and improvement plan for all staff and the way your organization is dedicated to serving to them enhance professionally and personally. Clarify every thing from coaching alternatives to tuition reimbursement.

Worker advantages and perks

One other incessantly bookmarked space of an worker handbook is the part giving details about all of the enjoyable perks and advantages your organization affords. After studying this part, an worker ought to really feel effectively taken care of, appreciated, and fully within the know.

Begin the advantages and perks part by outlining particulars like eligibility, advantages begin date, and your plan’s coverage quantity. Then, get into the necessities.

First issues first: the paid time off (PTO) coverage. That is the coverage your organization affords its staff that enables them to take day off from work as wanted for particular causes or occurrences. How a lot you provide, or while you permit staff to make use of their PTO, can range. 

Potential forms of PTO:

  • Trip time
  • Sick depart or household medical depart
  • Private time
  • Bereavement
  • Holidays
  • Jury obligation
  • Parental leave
  • Jury obligation and voting
  • Army depart
  • Sabbaticals

After that, transfer on to different perks your organization has to supply. Clarify your work-from-home (WFH) coverage, a gymnasium or healthcare reimbursement coverage, use of company-issued gear (laptops, cellphones, headphones, and even vehicles), and the ins and outs of employees’ compensation.

Resignation and termination procedures

It’s unlikely an worker will keep at your group for his or her complete working profession, so the worker handbook ought to embody particulars about offboarding. This could embody:

  • Worker resignation: Whether or not by way of resignation or the tip of a contract
  • Retirement: When the worker has determined it’s time for them to transition out of the workforce 
  • Layoffs or termination: When the corporate decides they’ll not have an worker inside the group, whether or not because of private efficiency or firm monetary points

This part ought to spotlight when an worker might be given their remaining paycheck, how the exit interview course of works, and the way Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) advantages work if somebody is laid off or fired.

Varied authorized mandates

Final however not least, an worker handbook wants to the touch on employment legal guidelines and numerous authorized mandates.

Quite a few federal and state legal guidelines have an effect on staff. A few of these are:

The legal guidelines and rules range by state, however your handbook should point out those that apply to your group.

Easy methods to write an worker handbook

Now that you simply perceive what must be included in a fundamental worker handbook, let’s go into the best way to get began writing one.

First, evaluation your present firm insurance policies and make any revisions that appear crucial. The very last thing you wish to do is spend the time and vitality placing these insurance policies into the handbook solely to comprehend a number of months later it must be up to date. If any coverage or rule requires some revising, now could be the time!

Then, create an overview for the look of your handbook. This helps decide the way you current the knowledge to staff. As soon as that is full, write fundamental introductions to every handbook part which are simple to grasp and freed from sophisticated jargon.

When you assemble all the required and up-to-date info, ship a finalized model to your organization’s authorized group to evaluation. Asking for authorized counsel ensures that it doesn’t comprise statements which will have false info. As soon as the handbook has authorized approval, contemplate the place and the way you’d wish to publish the handbook. Do not forget that it ought to be simply accessible to all staff.

The work isn’t finished when the handbook has been distributed to all staff. It ought to be up to date when crucial. Take into account reviewing insurance policies at the least twice a 12 months to make sure the handbook all the time has probably the most related info. 

Worker handbook examples

When making a handbook for the primary time, it may be exhausting to examine the ultimate outcomes, even for those who perceive precisely what must be included. To make this simpler, it’s greatest to lean on examples of what some well-known firms have finished with their handbooks to spark some creativity.


Whereas some firms gate-keep their handbook, HubSpot lets everybody learn it by importing their tradition code onto their community. By sharing it, they observe the identical transparency they ask from their staff. 


Like HubSpot, Netflix additionally shares its Freedom and Duty tradition handbook on-line. You’ve in all probability heard about, or examine, their tradition earlier than, because it seamlessly defines their tradition and values by making them actionable, too.


Venture administration software program Trello makes use of its platform to stipulate and show its worker handbook, which they name an worker handbook. Every column on the board represents a unique handbook part, beginning with On Your First Day and persevering with with advantages, working remotely, journey, trip, and miscellaneous info.


Facebook makes its handbook obtainable to anybody . Titled Maintain Constructing Higher: The Fb Code of Conduct, their handbook contains a message from founder Mark Zuckerberg, together with sections about mutual help, defending and empowering individuals, competing and collaborating, and interesting with the world.


One other attention-grabbing instance of a well-done worker handbook is the one Basecamp has created. It makes use of a novel tone of voice, ensuring the corporate’s persona stands out from different employers. Some notable sections are What We Stand For, The place We Work, Our Rituals, and Vocabulary.

The handbook is aware of all!

Because the office continues to evolve, it’s seemingly as much as the function of a human useful resource skilled to make sure the handbook stays updated with the newest info.

It’s vital to keep in mind that your worker handbook is just not a legally binding doc and doesn’t guarantee compliance. Nonetheless, it could possibly assist defend your organization from sure liabilities and talk clearly with your entire staff by being the one cohesive location for vital firm particulars.

A complete handbook is one factor. Now it’s time to take a look at your company’s culture to construct a contemporary office for everybody.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *