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Employee Handbook: What, When, and Everything Around It

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Starting a new job can be daunting for an employee. Along with a slew of new roles and responsibilities, they are expected to become acquainted with the company's culture, mission, and values. That is why it is critical to have a comprehensive employee handbook that can be used as a roadmap to navigate your company's culture.

But first:

What is an Employee Handbook?


An employee handbook is a document that provides guidelines and information about the company’s values, mission, policies, procedures, and workplace code of conduct. It is one of the most important resources for employees to acquaint themselves with the organization and its culture.

But most importantly, the handbook helps employees understand their rights and what is expected of them while they are employed. It mostly covers topics such as:

  • Health insurance

  • Vacation time

  • Dress codes and human resource importance

  • State laws and legal documents, etc.

The handbook can be in digital form or paper-based. However, we recommend that you keep it in digital format to reduce paper use and go eco-friendly.

When Should The Employee Handbook Be Distributed?

You can provide the handbook to your employees right after they join your organization or when there is a major change in your organizational policies. The focus is to keep your employees updated and in the loop about the developments that are going on in the organization.

What are the things that you need to include in your Employee Handbook?

Before you design your handbook, you must strategize what you want to include. Do proper research, brainstorming, and transparent discussions with the HR department and the respective managers. Moreover, take feedback from your employees on what they want to improve and include in the handbook.

Now let’s delve in and look at the kind of information to include in your company's employee handbook.

1. Your Improvised Workplace Policies


Policies are the set of guidelines that everyone needs to follow and adhere to. These policies help maintain decorum and discipline in the workplace while aiding in elevating employee experience. Workplaces need good policies that provide a working framework for smooth operation.

You need to mention these policies in your employee handbook so that the employees can clearly grasp how things work. Some of the policies can include:

  • Non-disclosure and Confidentiality Policies

  • Policies related to non-discrimination and bullying

  • Policies on working hours and performance reviews

  • Employee benefits and compensation policies

  • Leave policies and work safety guidelines, etc.

Plan what material you want to include in the handbook and what you can leave out. Keep things understandable, and try not to go into too much detail or technicalities that might be confusing. Remember that simplicity does the trick!

2. The Organizational Values, Mission, and Future Targets


Organizational values, missions, and future goals are the foundation of your company's culture that shape your success. However, most—if not all— employees are unaware of what their company stands for. As a result, it's critical to ensure that your employees have a basic understanding of these values.

And the employee handbook is the best way to make your employees aware of your organization's mission and values. Here you can include all pertinent information about your mission statement and the actions you intend to take. You can also include how the organization plans to empower employees and uplift the workforce through various development programs.

Your focus should be on keeping things transparent and the workforce in the loop regarding the developments of the organization.

3. Benefits and Compensation That the Employees Are Entitled To


Employee benefits and compensation are essential for improving employee satisfaction and employee engagement. Without a good benefits program, it becomes difficult for an organization to retain its employees. Moreover, the benefits package you offer should aid the employees.

But what if the employees are not aware of the benefits? And even if they do, they are not clear about what the package includes? To reduce such shortcomings, you can provide documents stating all the benefits. However, too many documents can be confusing as well.

If you want to make things easier, you can include all the detailed information in your employee handbook. This will be less time-consuming and hassle-free for both you and your employees.

Remember to keep the handbook interactive and not your regular boring and monotonous document. Create the handbook in a way that the employees would love to read and indulge in it.

4. Company Work Culture, Procedures, and the HR Department


While creating your version of the employee handbook, it is important to highlight the company culture and workplace procedures. Your new recruits or existing employees should know the team-building activities that improve engagement and motivation.

On top of that, you can showcase the daily routine and activities that make your company culture the best fit for the employee.

Mention the rules and regulations employees must follow to maintain a positive working environment.

Also, include how the HR department works and the workflow they follow. It will enable the employees to grasp the dos and don’ts in the organization while making them familiar with the HR processes.

The idea is to help your employees get acclimated to the new environment and properly resolve their queries.


Employees who are newly onboarded will require a headstart on what they need to know. And the best way to help them acquire the necessary knowledge is through employee handbooks.

You don’t need to delve into the complexities of an organization, just start with the basics and then move forward. The handbook can include things like:

  • What is the training regime the employee will go through?

  • How will the HR department assist them in the formalities?

  • The key performance indicators and metrics that an employee needs to focus on

  • The overall culture and functioning of each team in the organization

Be specific on what you want to include and create detailed content that is engaging and interactive as well.

Related Article: 8 Easy Steps To Build a New Employee Onboarding Process

Employee Handbook Examples that Stand out!

Here are some of the best ones you need to look at to give you an idea of how employee handbooks should be structured.

1. Valve

You might have seen Valve’s employee handbook, as it is the epitome of handbooks. Their employee handbook is one of a kind, which we think every organization should consider. It is not only full of funny illustrations but also humorous content that makes it interactive and amusing at the same time.

It fulfills the idea of keeping the employees engaged while going through the organization’s missions, values, and everything around it.

2. Zappos

We all know how amazing the work culture at Zappos is, and their handbook is also super awesome. They have named it ‘The Zappos Culture Book,’ which involves a lot of creativity and images of the workforce. On top of that, they usually change the theme of their handbook, like the one they created in the form of a comic book, to keep the engagement alive.

Their culture book includes their employees' mission, values, and testimonials. The testimonials are from their employees, which are quite positive and inspiring. And rightly so because Zappos has excelled in creating a work culture that everyone loves.

3. Nordstorm

Nordstorm wins the game without any doubt when it comes to creating something unique. They came up with the idea of creating a handbook that only has one rule. This made them stand out from the rest of their competitors while encouraging everyone to achieve their goals in high spirits.

That one rules states, “Use good judgment in all situations.” It is simple yet quite effective, enabling employees to solve their problems with a creative and sound approach.

4. Hubspot

Employee handbooks can be quite boring and dull with all the policies, codes of conduct, and many things that can be hard to understand. But Hubspot did a great job with their version of the handbook. They created a colorful, simple, and understandable document that employees enjoyed indulging in. On top of that, the document was done in a slide format that made it easy to read and maintained a fluent transition while covering boring topics.

The impact of such handbooks can be fruitful as the employees get a fair idea of the company's goals and objectives.

5. Trello

Now, this handbook is a smart one that we think was and still is an excellent way of doing things.

Trello, a web-based project management tool, created its handbook by using its own product. Isn’t that clever?

The handbook welcomes new employees with the document staged in their own platform while familiarizing them with how the product works. All the necessary information is listed on the platform and subdivided into different sections. It is a creative and interactive way to put things together while employees get a glimpse of how the platform works. Quite cool and innovative to keep the employees engaged!

Summing It Up!

Employee handbooks are more than just a guide that allows employees to interact with the company. It contains all of the necessary information and procedures for them to follow. However, it must not be your typical, boring, and tedious document. It can be presented in an interactive and enjoyable manner that employees will love reading. Be strategic in your approach, brainstorm ideas, and maintain the fun factor.

Mrinmoy Rabha is a content writer and digital marketer at Vantage Circle. He is an avid follower of football and passionate about singing. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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