Developing an Employee Handbook

Sharon Boyd has nearly 25 years of experience between both the healthcare and marketing industries. In addition to being an RDH and content writing expert, she also holds a degree in business. Her responsibilities primarily include tackling the communication barriers between small business owners or healthcare providers and their prospective clientele.

Developing an Employee Handbook

Your employee handbook, or staff manual, is a welcome package and master reference that helps new hires quickly adapt to their roles (and ensures that current staff keep up with their own responsibilities!)

Here are the basics to developing an effective employee handbook for your small business.

Information to Include

Your employee handbook is not a legal document. Still, it needs to be accurate when it does touch on legal matters. You might want to have a business attorney review your completed document.

Keep the tone of your employee handbook positive. It’s supposed to be a helpful and useful resource, not a dry book of rules. You want the handbook to be an enjoyable and engaging read so keep it as simple and brief as possible. This way, the standards and ideals you want to convey will be more likely to stick in the minds of your staff.

A handbook also serves as a new employee’s first official introduction to your company. After reading it, they should be excited to join your team and have a clear idea of your company’s mission and values, knowing exactly what’s expected of them.

What should be included in your employee handbook? That mainly depends on your unique company needs and policies.

Some of the pages typically included in such resources are:

  1. Welcome letter
  2. Table of contents for navigation
  3. A brief history of your company
  4. A mission statement and/or list of company values
  5. Map of company facilities to help new hires get oriented
  6. A clear statement on the value of your employees and how they contribute to the company’s mission
  7. A basic outline of processes like pay period, work hours, how to handle, clean, and maintain equipment, the required tasks according to position, and quality control procedures
  8. A summary of company policy on matters such as requesting time off, benefits, privacy, harassment, attendance, and drug and alcohol use. Instead of including full policies, you can provide links or directions to places where the policies can be accessed
  9. Employee expectations in matters of behavior and dress
  10. List of oversight and hierarchy within the company
  11. Guidelines for reporting complaints or concerns
  12. List of the grounds for termination and the disciplinary process
  13. A page of vital resources and references, if applicable, with links to more documents, a list of important phone numbers, and directions to specific offices or departments

Choose an Appealing Design and Format

Get creative when developing an employee handbook. It doesn’t even have to be a print copy. You can opt for a digital file that reduces paper usage and is easy to update. With a digital handbook, you can simply email a copy to new hires for them to access well before their first day on the job.

Limited for time or creative ability? Get inspiration for employee handbook layout and design by reviewing online examples produced by other companies. You can even outsource the design and compilation work to a freelancer.

A handbook is an essential part of your new employee package, so it’s something every small business should take the time to put together.