HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Employee Handbook

What is an employee handbook?

An employee handbook or employee manual is a guide given to employees that includes everything related to your company policies, missions and vision. This could include information on culture, vacation time, expected workplace behavior and procedures. 

Purpose of employee handbook

The employee handbook is the single most important document for your organization. It is a road map for employees that defines the employment relationship and clearly outlines what behaviors and work patterns are acceptable to the company.

A detailed, easy-to-read handbook sets the tone of your company’s culture and expectations, and it communicates to new hires that they are joining an organization that has vision.

What to include in an employee handbook

  • Key employment law policies, including federal, state and local regulations
  • An overview of the company and general employment policies such as job classifications, employment eligibility, employee records, job postings, termination procedures, resignation procedures, union information if applicable, and leave policies.
  • Anti-discrimination policies—employers must comply with laws prohibiting discrimination, and harassment, as well as ADA compliance. The handbook should include employee expectations.
  • Sexual harassment prevention statement, and the company’s commitment for zero tolerance
  • Work scheduling: Policies on hours of operation, schedules, attendance rules, punctuality, and reporting absences. Who does the employee notify, who and how does the manager notify, and how does HR handle?
  • Conduct standards—how you expect employees to behave in the workplace, including dress code, cyber security, and device policies.
  • Safety and security: Even in office environments, safety protocols need to be shared. This includes where emergency exits are located, how to report an accident, and OSHA reporting requirements. This section should also include the company’s statement regarding inclement weather or hazardous situations.
  • Tech security: Outline policies on technology, such as appropriate use of company email, blog posting, computer software, and social media usage.

What are good employee handbook examples?

 Even if you know all the details about your company that you want to add to an employee handbook, it can still be difficult to envision what it should look like. It may be helpful to work from some examples. Here are four great employee handbooks worth reviewing before you begin: 

  1. HubSpot – by sharing their handbook via PowerPoint format, they’re practicing the transparency they preach throughout the SlideShare. 
  2. Netflix – Their handbook delineates the company culture and values, and makes them actionable. 
  3. Facebook – A design that compels you to read it over and over. 
  4. Valve – They focus on catching attention through funny illustrations. It’s easy-going, humorous, and an enjoyable read. 

 These examples show there are plenty of approaches you can take when creating and designing your employee handbook. Focus first on the foundation and remember to make your policies clear and concise. It’s important to take action in preventing HR headaches down the road.

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