14.01.2024 line employer of record

Employee handbook – best practices

The first day for a new employee at a job can be a daunting experience for both the newcomer and the managers involved.

To facilitate a smooth onboarding process and assist employees in acclimating to their new roles, it is essential to establish standardized policies and procedures.

An integral tool for welcoming new staff and providing them with essential information is an employee handbook. This handbook serves as a comprehensive manual, clearly articulating the company’s culture, mission, expectations, and rules to aid new employees in their orientation.

What is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is a document issued by human resource departments to new hires. This document extensively outlines the company’s policies, procedures, and expectations. It typically covers topics such as work hours, benefits, disciplinary procedures, and safety guidelines.

The handbook functions as a reference guide for employees, offering insights into the terms and conditions of employment. It plays a crucial role in establishing a positive company culture while ensuring consistency and transparency across the organization.

It’s important to note that specific employment laws in certain countries mandate the creation of an official employee handbook that outlines mandatory work rules. Examples of such countries include Japan, France, and Belgium.

Conversely, in countries like the United States, neither federal nor state regulations necessitate employers to have an employee handbook.

Despite the absence of legal requirements in some jurisdictions, companies often opt to have an employee handbook for various reasons. Let’s delve into these reasons in more detail below.

Having an employee handbook for your business offers several crucial benefits:

  • Employee Onboarding

Facilitates the integration of new employees by introducing them to the company’s culture, values, and expectations.

  • Clear Communication

Acts as a centralized source of information, ensuring that all employees have a comprehensive understanding of company policies, procedures, and expectations.

  • Legal Protection

Serves as a legal safeguard, providing a well-drafted document that can act as a defense against potential employee claims, such as wrongful termination or discrimination.

  • Consistency

Guarantees the uniform application of policies across all employees, minimizing the likelihood of misunderstandings and ensuring fairness.

  • Setting Expectations

Clearly outlines the expected behavior, performance standards, and responsibilities for employees.

  • Establishing Boundaries

Defines the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, thereby reducing instances of misconduct and fostering a positive work environment.

3 considerations to include in employee handbook creation:

  • Embrace modern technology and digital accessibility.

In today’s digital era, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of providing employee handbooks online and on mobile devices. Apart from enhancing the employee experience, this approach also facilitates HR managers in effectively updating and distributing the handbook. Utilizing technology to create interactive and engaging digital handbooks with multimedia elements, such as videos, infographics, and search features, helps maintain content appeal and transition business operations to a paperless environment.

  • Incorporate COVID-19 Policy and Remote Work Guidelines

Considering recent global events and the increasing prevalence of remote work, it is essential to add a section to the employee handbook covering COVID-19 policies and remote work guidelines. Addressing these topics helps employees understand the company’s response to the pandemic, safety measures, and expectations regarding remote work.

  • Address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives

Devoting a significant portion of the employee handbook to diversity, equity, and inclusion is imperative to showcase your company’s commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace. In the template, highlight your organization’s DEI principles and initiatives, including training programs, non-discrimination policies, and reporting mechanisms. Promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace is not only a legal requirement but also has a positive impact on employee morale, productivity, and innovation.

7 sample employee handbooks worth reviewing

It’s great that you’re looking for inspiration in creating an employee handbook. Reviewing examples from well-known companies can provide valuable insights. Here’s a summary of the 7 sample employee handbooks mentioned:

1. Nordstrom

Emphasizes simplicity with a single rule: “Use good judgment in all situations.”

2. Valve

Went viral due to its comprehensive coverage, touching on everything from company philosophy to the first day of work for new hires.

3. HubSpot

Achieves a lot through a traditional PowerPoint format, demonstrating transparency by sharing it on SlideShare.

4. Netflix

Well-known for delineating Netflix’s culture and values, making them actionable.

5. Facebook

Expertly designed handbook that stands out in its visual appeal and readability.

6. Trello

Utilizes its own platform to house the handbook, referred to as an “employee manual,” featuring an interactive design that is user-friendly and engaging.

7. Zappos

Titled “The Zappos Culture Book,” this handbook highlights the company’s commitment to workplace culture, including information on values, mission, and testimonials from employees.

To further narrow down your search, consider looking for employee handbook examples online that are specific to your industry or cultural preferences.

Employee handbook tips and best practices:

1. Use simple language

Ensure that the content is written in clear and straightforward language for all employees to comprehend.

2. Incorporate visuals

Enhance engagement and readability by including images, logos, and charts in the handbook.

3. Update regularly

Keep the handbook relevant by updating it as company policies evolve over time.

4. Keep it accessible

Store the handbook in a digital knowledge base to provide easy access for employees.

5. Provide resources

Include contact information for HR or relevant departments, offering employees a means to address questions or concerns.

6. Seek legal review

Before finalizing the handbook, consult with an employment attorney to ensure compliance with employment law.

7. Make it part of onboarding

Distribute the handbook during the onboarding process to help familiarize employees with company policies and welcome them to the team.

8. Have employees sign a form after reading

Obtain acknowledgment from employees to confirm their understanding and agreement with the company’s policies. This creates a record, reducing potential liabilities or misunderstandings in the future.

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