How to Create an Employee Handbook

How to Create an Employee Handbook. Employee handbooks create a consistent, fair environment for employees. In addition, well-written, legally correct procedures can protect employers in many instances from legal liability. They also provide an employment practices outline for companies to follow as they grow. Companies of all sizes are well advised to write an employee handbook.

Create an Effective Employee Handbook

Write down your current employee policies. After you have put them down on paper, ask for input from supervisors at all levels.

Ask for employee input. There may be policies that have developed among employees that you're not aware of. Some policies developed among departments may be useful and should be added to the written handbook.

Recruit the appropriate professional team to create your employee handbook. Large companies may have the necessary writing and legal resources in-house. Small companies may be able to hire a writer and have their handbooks checked by the company's attorneys or by attorneys specializing in workplace law.

Include sections on harassment (in all its forms), drug and alcohol abuse, smoking and safety, as well as a section on use of company property.

Be sure to have a way for employees to register complaints or report abuse or fraud.

Address standards of dress, discipline and attendance.

Enumerate general policies that apply to everyone, such as company holidays.

Mention company benefits but don't be redundant. The handbook should give employees an overview of the benefits program and refer them to other resources for specifics.

Add legal sections as directed by your attorney. Depending upon the size of your company, you may need to include equal employment information as well as other legally mandated policies. Companies that do not necessarily have to include these pages may want to do so to preclude having to update the handbook immediately after a growth spurt.

Verify that your employees have read the information. Periodically have meetings with your employees to explain new policies and reiterate old policies.

Require employees to turn in a tear out page from the handbook specifying that they have read, understood and will abide by the company's policy.

Make the employee handbook part of every employee's hiring package. It should be read before the employee begins work.


  • Consider having the handbook in binder form so that pages can be added and deleted. If you choose this format, employees should be required to sign off, indicating they have received and made designated changes to the book.


  • An employee handbook is considered a legal document. The entire book should be vetted by a legal professional who specializes in workplace law. Specific issues of individual employment should be addressed in employment contracts between the company and the specific employee.

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