If you haven’t spent time designing an employee handbook yet — you’re not alone. An employee handbook can be incredibly useful in building a positive workplace culture and employee loyalty, but it’s not an easy feat to write one.
That’s why we’re breaking down the process for you and offering you seven employee handbook examples.
Often having an employee handbook isn’t something most businesses think about until there’s a pressing need. Whether you’re attempting to address an office culture issue or interested in building one as a foundational element, crafting an employee handbook requires preparation and thoughtfulness.
To get started, it’s helpful to understand why an employee handbook is so crucial to business success. And before starting your own from scratch, it’s useful to get tips from other businesses by looking at employee handbook examples.
What is an employee handbook?
Employee handbooks can go by different names, such as an employee field guide or staff manual.
Whatever you call them, employee handbooks are documents that all employees at a company should receive, often on their first day. They are designed to cover everything a new hire needs to know to get started at their job. You might even get them started before their first day, and include a copy in a new hire welcome email. They can also be longer-form documents that are used as references throughout an employee’s time at a company. Passing out employee handbooks can not only make a new hire feel more equipped to handle his or her day-to-day work, but it can increase that new hire’s efficiency right off the bat.
Related article: How to create an effective employee handbook. A step-by-step guide.
What do most employee handbooks include?
As every company’s requirements, core values, and goals are different, each one should have an employee handbook that is unique and reflects these characteristics. Most employee handbooks include information on:
- Company culture, values, and a mission statement
- Human resource and legal information as well as rights and obligations related to employment
- Realistic expectations; both what the company expects to see from its employees and what employees can expect from the company
- Company policies about vacation time, sick days, non-discrimination, etc.
When should a company create an employee handbook?
The first thing to know is that there is no law requiring you to have a handbook. “Though there are many laws requiring employers to notify employees of certain workplace rights, there are actually no federal or state laws specifically requiring an employer to have an employee handbook,” notes BLR.
That said, plenty of companies choose to create one because they can be useful in mitigating conflict among employees within the company. The exact point is different for each company, but if you think your small business is reaching a size where conflicts might start to crop up, it’s probably a good idea to whip up a handbook.
Beyond solving employee or culture issues, employee handbooks can also help new employees feel at home in their new environments. Learning about a company’s stories, missions, and core values can increase employee engagement and loyalty. It’s also a useful resource for employees to check dress codes, PTO policies, parking recommendations, etc. to help them feel acclimated to the company culture immediately. So, it’s beneficial to write one as soon as you have a mission statement, core values, and other details about your company you’d like to share.
What are some good employee handbook examples?
Even once you know everything that needs to go into an employee handbook, it can still be hard to really envision what they’re supposed to look like once they’ve come together. This is where examples come in. It’s a lot easier to think about what your company’s handbook will look like if you can work from some sample employee handbooks. Here are six great employee handbook examples worth reviewing:
- Nordstrom. While they don’t hit every point many companies will want to include, their one simple rule approach nails the simplicity message. Start with one simple rule and you can always fill in the rest later.
- Valve. If you’ve been asking around about handbooks, it’s likely that someone mentioned Valve’s as an example. It went viral a while back because of how well it’s executed—touching on everything from company philosophy to walking new hires through their first day of work.
- Hubspot. This handbook makes the list because it manages to achieve so much through a traditional PowerPoint format. By sharing it on SlideShare, they practice the transparency they preach in the process.
- Netflix. There’s a reason that there is a good chance that you’ve probably heard about Netflix’s employee handbook before. It delineates the company’s culture and values, and makes them actionable.
- Facebook. The handbook for this tech company is so expertly designed that it practically compels you to read it over and over again—a great feat in the world of employee handbooks.
- Trello. This tech company uses their own platform to house their handbook, which they call an employee manual. Talk about walking the walk.
- Sterling Gold Mining Corporation. This online handbook is a one-page scrolling site that delivers clever, creative, and communicative information to new hires and employees alike.
As these examples show, there are plenty of ways to approach your employee handbook. Start with the foundation and values of your company and download our employee handbook guide and use our customizable templates to design your own today!