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What Is an Employee Handbook & How to Create One?

An employee handbook is an online document that communicates a company’s policies, work protocols, code of conduct, mission, and vision to both new and existing employees. It gives a glimpse of what a company is about, how it works, and what it expects from employees.

While the handbook helps new team members get up to speed faster, existing employees use it to stay updated on company policies, learn about their responsibilities, and give their best shot at work. A well-written employee handbook is the basis of a positive employee relationship and strong company culture that puts a business on the path to progress.

What is an Employee Handbook

Why is an Employee Handbook Important for Your Business?

An employee handbook is a valuable information resource that provides employees with a path to follow every time they face challenges at work, are confused about something, or dealing with complaints and disagreements.

Here is why you should invest your time and effort in creating an online employee handbook.

Improves employee onboarding
Improves Employee Onboarding

For new hires, the employee handbook is a helpful resource they can use to get familiar with your organization’s history, vision, mission, and work culture. It helps them learn the ropes faster and turn into productive resources in a short period of time.

Brings Clarity to the Workplace

Work can turn into a mess if your policies, processes, and code of conduct are not clearly documented. When key information is documented, employees have more clarity around what works and what doesn’t. This helps them make decisions that are consistent with your business goals and policies.

Brings clarity to the workplace
Saves time & boosts productivity
Saves Time & Boosts Productivity

A lot of time goes into emails and calls at work. This is especially true for new employees who need guidance at every step in their initial days. Creating an employee handbook ensures that employees don’t have to waste time scrambling for information. This directly impacts their productivity and performance.

Shields You From Legal Issues

Having workplace policies, code of conduct, and employment terms documented, protects you from lawsuits and false claims related to discrimination, termination, or harassment. Clearly stating the values, you stand for and the policies you follow guards your business from any potential legal disputes.

add legal issue in employee handbook
Sets the right expectations in employee handbook
Sets the Right Expectations From the Beginning

A comprehensive employee handbook clearly communicates what is expected from employees both in terms of work and behavior. From what processes they should follow to who they should reach out to in case of problems, this resourceful document provides employees with the information they need to stay on track and give their best at work.

What to Include in an Employee Handbook?

Employee handbooks consist of a wide range of topics pertaining to your company’s protocols, policies, and a lot more, such as:
Employee Handbook Content

About ProProfs Employee Handbook Template

The employee handbook template built by ProProfs does most of the heavy lifting by giving you a ready-to-use structure so you can get started right away. With customizable fields and drag and drop functionality, it is super easy to use this template. The predefined sections and space to add your company logo and brand name is a huge plus. This free employee handbook template takes care of the structure, so you can fully focus on writing great content.

ProProfs Employee Handbook Template

Create Impressive Employee Handbooks in 5 Easy Steps

Building an employee handbook that your employees read and use is not an easy feat. Here are five simple steps that will get you started on the right foot.

Step 1: Set Clear Goals

You should be clear about what you want to achieve with your employee handbook. Do you want to create a healthy work environment? Do you want to make new employee onboarding simpler? Clarity of objectives is crucial to set a strong foundation for the entire process.

Step 2: Build a Strong Structure

Before putting together the employee handbook, you should have a structure ready. The structure depends on how you want the information to flow. Think of the categories you want to create and follow a basic to advanced format. Start with basic company information and then gradually move on to policies and complex legal matters.

Step 3: Create & Compile Necessary Information

The next step is to develop content for your employee handbook. You can either write everything from the ground up or compile information from HR documents and add it straight to your employee handbook. The process of content creation gets a lot easier when you have an employee handbook template in place.

Step 4: Review the Content

Since the employee handbook is a crucial document that your current and future employees will be using regularly, it has to be accurate. As the content is written, it can be reviewed by HR or project teams for any errors or inaccuracies.

Step 5: Publish the Handbook

Once the content is written and reviewed, publish the final version online. Allow employees to access the handbook on their preferred devices, download it as a PDF or ebook, and even get it printed.

How to Use This Template

This employee handbook template comes with a pre-built structure, including a table of contents, sections, and subsections. Beautifully designed and fully customizable, it gives you a quick headstart for creating an employee handbook. Just add your company logo, brand name, and modify the template to match your branding. Fill it with useful content, add images, and you will have an employee handbook ready in minutes.

What is an Employee Handbook

Best Practices to Create an Impressive Employee Handbook

There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to employee handbooks. But there are a few employee handbook best practices that can maximize the impact of this platform.

Add Visuals to Increase Engagement
Add Visuals to Increase Engagement

A rich combination of text and visuals is ideal for demonstrating work processes, explaining policies, and showing your company culture. You can even add images of employees brainstorming and working in the office. What more? A video message from the CEO or department heads can be a source of motivation, especially for new employees.

Watch Your Tone in employee handbook
Watch Your Voice & Tone

Avoid going extreme with your voice and tone. Don’t be too formal or informal. Maintain a friendly, positive, and instructional tone that strikes the right chords with your employees. Focus more on the benefits, so employees are encouraged to read further and follow everything that’s written in their work life.

Focus on the format of employee handbook
Focus on the Format

It’s important for the handbook to be a rich source of information but what’s even more important is the format in which it is written. Keep the format simple and easy to follow, so employees can find the information they need in just a few clicks.

add relevant content into your employee handbook
Revise & Update to Keep it Relevant

An employee handbook is a reliable source of information. But it can turn obsolete if not revised and updated from time to time. As your policies change and work processes improve, the content of the handbook should be updated so that it stays relevant for employees.

simple employee handbook
Keep it Simple

An employee handbook should be the go-to source for employees to clear any confusion they have about your workplace policies and culture. Using complicated language will do the opposite by confusing the employees even more. So, it is better to stick to simple words and sentences. The simpler the content is, the easier and faster it would be for employees to grasp the information.

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