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March 20, 2023

6 Important Things to Include in Your Employee Handbook

All employees, whether new or long-term veterans, can benefit from an easily accessible resource for work-related policies and information. An employee handbook is a customizable tool that can be a valuable communication resource for both the employer and the employee, no matter the industry.

Your employee handbook should provide guidance and information related to your organization’s history, mission, values, policies, procedures, and benefits in a written format. As well as an overview of the expectations of management. It can also serve as a means of protecting the employer against discrimination or unfair treatment claims. At Tesseon, we can ensure all these things (and more) are in your current handbook. Don’t have a handbook? We help you write one from scratch!

Employers should require every employee to provide an acknowledgment of having received the handbook. The acknowledgment should be saved in an employee’s personnel file as a way for the organization to establish that the employee was made aware of the policies. You should also add a statement explaining that the policies within the book could change at any time. It is imperative to have the handbook reviewed by legal counsel prior to distributing to your employees. 

In this blog, we cover the top 5 things that should be included in your employee handbook.

Welcome letter and company information

The opening section of your handbook typically includes a welcome letter from the CEO or another company leader that sends a positive message to your new and existing employees. You can use this section to establish a connection by thanking new employees for joining your team. You may also include a statement of recognition for current employees who may be receiving a new or updated handbook.

Another important element to include at the beginning of your employee handbook is a section that describes the company and its principles, including the company’s history, mission, values, and culture.

New hire process

The next thing to address is what a newly hired employee can expect during their first few days of work. If there is a standard probationary or trial period before employees become fully invested in the company, outline this here. You can also give specific details about identification and security requirements for access to the building, where the company is located, and even information on parking and/or travel to the office.

Company policies and culture

A large portion of your employee handbook may include the policies that govern daily work while on the job. This is also where you include the most important procedures and behaviors for your business, such as:

  • Code of conduct
  • Hours and Attendance
  • Dress code
  • Breaks and meal periods
  • Use of technology
  • Smoking and drug use

Legal Requirements

Your employee handbook should contain certain legal statements to make sure both parties understand their rights in the workplace. Federal and local laws are essential to include, as well as any applicable clauses about the job and the handbook itself.

Tesseon can help you review the requirements in your state to ensure your company discusses all mandatory topics. It’s vital to include the following information in your handbook to stay compliant with the law:

  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for childbirth, caring for a family member, or personal illness
  • Worker’s compensation outlines what happens if an employee sustains an injury on the job
  • Non-discrimination and equal employment policies to ensure equal treatment in the workplace
  • How do you accommodate people with disabilities in the workplace?
  • It’s important to include a clause stating that your employee handbook is not a contract and that the job can be terminated at will by either party

Paid time off policies

Paid time off (PTO) is an employer-provided benefit where an employee is allotted a certain amount of paid time which may be used for either vacation, sick or personal time.

Your handbook should give employees full details about how the company handles time off. From how to notify managers of sick leave and how much advance notice the organization requires employees to input vacation requests. It’s also helpful to explain whether you combine both sick and vacation time or if they are accrued and accumulated separately.

You may also want to include a list of paid holidays the company observes.

Compensation and benefits

Your employee handbook should clearly explain how employees will be paid and when. Include details about setting up direct deposit, if you offer it, and any information about additional compensation like stock options or bonuses. You can also include how the company handles pay increases and promotions in this section of the handbook. 

Whether you have an internal Human Resources department or outsource to another company, like Tesseon, you should use your employee handbook to outline the benefits your organization provides. Discuss the health care, 401(k) plans, life insurance policies, and any education or training reimbursement benefits that are available to your employees. Include how much the company contributes to a plan, if applicable. Since benefits may be more subject to change than other parts of your handbook, it’s best to give an overview with instructions on where to check for the most current information.

Conclusion

There are several other topics to be included in a comprehensive employee handbook, but those outlined here are a great starting point. When drafting your handbook, choose verbiage to reflect an uplifting attitude and tone. Employees who read your manual should feel empowered with knowledge of company expectations and policies that promote fairness and success.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog page is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. It is advisable to seek professional legal counsel before taking any action based on the content of this page. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and we will not be liable for any losses or damages arising from its use. Any reliance on the information provided is solely at your own risk. Consult a qualified attorney for personalized legal advice.

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