An employee handbook can be examined and reviewed from various perspectives, including business operations, human resource management, legal compliance, and corporate culture and strategy.
What is an Employee Handbook?
An employee handbook is a document that contains your company’s operating procedures, policies, and expectations. It is typically provided to employees on their first day of work as part of the onboarding process to outline what is expected of them and the rights and responsibilities of both employees and the employer.
Why is it needed?
An employee handbook is a compilation of policies, procedures, working conditions, and behavioral expectations within your organization. It should encompass company-wide policy statements designed to manage the business.
Please note that this is different from a procedure manual. Instead, it’s an opportunity to create clarity for both employees and management around policies and expectations. A well-crafted handbook can foster a stronger, more positive company culture where policies are clearly defined and consistently and uniformly implemented.
Some departments may have additional specific agreements or procedures, but the primary purpose of the employee handbook is to provide a solid foundation for the overall business, eliminating the need for hardbound printed copies.
If employees and management can easily access the handbook, it can be in the form of an electronically stored and digitally shared document. It’s essential to document the acknowledgment that each employee has read the handbook and agreed to adhere to the outlined policies.
When should a company be created?
Ideally, a handbook should be established right from the inception of the company, but creating a handbook is never too late.
However, developing an employee handbook is not a one-time process. The handbook is a living document that must be consistently maintained to ensure it reinforces your business practices and keeps your policies in alignment with the law. Using the handbook to support HR compliance is crucial as it helps mitigate the risk of potentially costly legal litigation in the future.
More than just safeguarding the company’s bottom line, the true purpose of an employee handbook is to foster the company culture necessary for robust corporate growth. It also contributes to creating an environment where employees feel respected, supported in their success, and motivated to remain dedicated and enthusiastic.
Mission, Vision, and Values
The handbook helps convey the company culture rooted in your mission and values. In fact, everything a company does should be grounded in these three things.
You want to hire employees who understand and embrace your mission. You hope they will uphold your values and help your company progress toward achieving your vision. Therefore, your employee handbook should be written in a way that all employees can understand and connect with your mission, vision, and values from the very beginning.