A2 Blog Human Resources

Employee Handbook Basics

An employee handbook is an essential asset for all businesses – including MSMEs – and its value extends not only to employees but to employers as well. 

For team members, the employee handbook is a compass: it’s a guiding tool that succinctly ties together information on the organization’s culture, policies, and benefits. For the employer, the employee handbook is a seatbelt: it’s a tool that can provide protection should claims of unfair or discriminatory practices arise. Clearly written policies and procedures made available in a handbook is an indication of fair practices and helps businesses to establish themselves as ethical employers. Employee handbooks also help to reduce liability and the potential for employment lawsuits. As an added measure of insulation, consider having employees sign documentation confirming receipt of the handbook, and have that acknowledgement placed on their files.

Each company’s handbook should be customized specifically to its own business, but generally, 3 core elements that should be included are:

1.Organizational culture: the organization’s vision, mission, values etc.

2. Company policies: code of conduct, dress code, disciplinary action etc.

3. Employee benefits: Vacation time & holidays, sick/maternity/paternity & other family leaves, insurance etc.

A quick Google search will return scores of free, user-friendly employee handbook templates that you can further tailor to fit your business. Have an attorney review your handbook to ensure that you’re in full legal compliance and that there is no conflicting terminology or language. 

Finally, it’s important that employee handbooks are kept current. Review your handbook regularly, and when revisions are required, be sure that employees are provided with the same.