The employee handbook is a guide created by employers to convey details of a company’s policies and missions to all staff members to maintain a professional environment in the company or organization.
Therefore, it acts as an outline of an employer’s expectations of their entire workforce. An employee handbook is referred to as an employee field guide or staff manual. It is a valuable communication resource for informing a new hire of the company’s expectations before starting to play his/her role.
An employee handbook template is a form employers or companies use to help guide them to make the handbook. An employee handbook template can be acquired by going through an employee handbook guide. The employee handbook template will help the company or employer create a structure of how the information contained in the employee handbook will be laid out.
Employers can include a filled-out copy of the employee handbook template in the new hire’s welcome email to ensure that he or she starts to form a well-informed.
Importance of Employee Handbook
The employee handbook plays an important in forging a clear relationship between the company/employer and the employees. It enables an employer to provide detailed communication of any procedures, guidelines, and the benefits they offer to the employees.
An employee handbook also plays a significant role in ensuring the following:
- It ensures that new employees are introduced to the company’s culture, mission and values to help them foster a sense of pride and belonging, leading to more productivity.
- It communicates the employer’s expectations to employees clearly and precisely to help foster understanding of their responsibilities.
- It enables the employer to educate the employee about what can be expected of the leadership of the company
- It helps mitigate conflicts with employees by informing them of likely consequences of violation of company policies.
When to Create an Employee Handbook
A company should consider creating an employee handbook to define its mission statement, core values, and other essential details. This ensures that the company can formulate detailed employee policies and procedures covering all aspects of its operations. A growing company should also consider creating it.
Growing companies are likely to take on more employees, which puts them at risk of facing lawsuits or similar legal problems from current or former employees; therefore, creating a handbook can help protect the company by showing that it exercises reasonable care towards its employees.
A great employee handbook should do more than listing a company’s policy; it should be comprehensive.
Therefore, companies and employers must make the following considerations before drafting it:
Review company’s policy
Companies/employers should start by reviewing their company policies before drafting the handbook to identify crucial company policies that should be included in the handbook. The employer or company can then create an outline of what will be included in the handbook. Finally, the employer should draft a summarized version of each policy and procedure.
Insert information relevantly
Secondly, employers should ensure that each section contains adequately summarized information in relevant sections. The summarized statements should be placed in appropriate sections according to the outline.
Review the entire handbook
Thirdly once all the necessary information has been inserted in the relevant sections, the employer/company should review the entire handbook to ensure that no policy has been left out. The review also helps ensure that each section has adequate information and can be easily understood by the employees. The company’s HR or project team or both may conduct the review.
The company/employer should then consider enlisting the help of a lawyer to ensure that the employee handbook complies with any state or federal laws. The lawyer will also be able to identify errors or loopholes that may appear in it.
Select a means of publication
Next, the company or employer should select a suitable vendor to publish the employee handbook. The employer/company must ensure that it works with the selected vendor in each publication process step.
Finally, the company should ensure that it is satisfied with the design and formatting of the handbook. Printing should only take place when the company/employer approves of the design and formatting of the handbook.
The company or employer should then see to it that the printed copies of the handbook are distributed in an organized manner. The company may choose to distribute it during hiring orientation or as a manual distributed to employees. Some companies/employers may also prefer to use the internet /or internal email to post the soft copy version of it. Employees without the internet can be issued physical copies.
Finally, the company/employer should ensure that the employee handbook is constantly updated. The company can assign a point person to make changes to the handbook as they arise. It is also recommended that an employer /company conducts a periodic review of it to ensure that all policies are still relevant and that no laws or policy changes have been overlooked
Elements of Employee Handbook Template
The main elements of an employee handbook template should provide a roadmap on the information that should be filled.
An employer should ensure that the template contains all the following essential elements;
The employee handbook template should contain basic employment information. This should highlight the employer’s realistic expectations of what the company wants to see of the employee. The employment basics should outline the following:
The handbook should contain a specific action plan for how recruitment will be dealt with. This ensures that all potential employees understand the employment process they are likely to be subjected to and by whom.
In addition, the employee handbook will contain what documentation is required of a potential employee at any stage of the process. The procedural guidelines should also direct employees on dealing with problems that may arise and who will be responsible for handling them.
Therefore, the employee handbook template can break down the procedural guidelines as follows:
- Employment applications.
- Recruitment and selection process.
- New employee orientation.
- Employment of relatives
- Procedure for handling complaints
- Employee training and development.
Legal formalities are the legal conditions that the employee must observe when making or signing contracts. Therefore, the employer must outline all relevant legal formalities.
The employee handbook template divides this information as follows:
- Non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement
- Non-discrimination/Equal opportunity employment
- Employment contract types
- Immigration law compliance.
The general outlook of an employee handbook provides information on the employee’s job. It outlines the general policies and procedures about the employee’s engagement with the company.
The employee handbook template can break down the general outlook in the following sections:
- Employment relationship.
- Work hours.
- Performance review.
- Outside employment policy.
Workplace Policies in Employee Handbook
The employer should ensure that the employee handbook template contains specific information on the conditions the employee will be expected to work in.
The workplace policies should outline the following:
The daily outlook of the employee handbook should contain an overview of the employer’s expectations of the employee’s day-to-day work. It should break down how the employee is expected to spend his/her time working at the company.
The following sections can help breakdown the daily outlook in an employee handbook template:
- Lunch periods.
- Bulletin boards.
- Staff meetings.
- Break periods.
- Emergency closings
The employee handbook should contain a section on environment decorum that provides information on how the employers expect employees to behave among themselves, their managers or supervisors, around company property, their work, and within their workstations.
This section on environment decorum also informs employees on effectively communicating their grievances, questions, or suggestions to the company by outlining effective communication procedures.
Therefore, the employment decorum section of an employee handbook template can be divided as follows:
- Harassment and violence
- Suggestion box
- Visitors in the workplace
- Workplace safety and health
- Building security
Employee data privacy
An employer should ensure that the employee handbook contains information on company policy about employee data privacy. It should elaborate on how an employee’s employment information is stored and secured in the company. It should also provide information on who is allowed to access employee data.
Therefore, this section can be represented in two parts in an employee handbook template, which are:
- Employee personnel files
- Personnel data changes
Code of Conduct in Employee Handbook
Code of conduct is a company’s set of rules outlining an employee’s norms, responsibilities, and proper practices. The code of conduct can also be referred to as the most common policy of the company.
The employee handbook must contain information on the following codes of conduct:
Dress codes are a set of standards developed by employers to guide employees on appropriate work attire. The handbook should outline acceptable formal and casual clothing that will be allowed in the workplace. This ensures that employees project a professional, business-like image.
Towards company policies are rules set on an employee’s rights and freedom within the company. It lays out restrictions on employees and provides guidelines on the usage of resources.
The employee handbook should template therefore should break down this section into the following information:
- Cyber security and digital devices
- Conflict of interest
- Employee relationships and fraternization.
- Solicitation and distribution.
Following are some free downloadable employee handbook templates:
It can’t be stressed enough that an employee handbook is a necessity in an organizational structure in order to maintain a professional atmosphere as well as to attain organizational goals on a holistic level. The employee handbook free and customizable templates on this website should help you attain those benefits for your company.