Free Employee Handbook Template to Download Today

Improve employee attendance

Clear communication is a pillar of healthy relationships, and the ones between employers and employees are not an exception. To bond and connect with staff members in a positive way, a business needs to share with them its values and goals. It has to explain how it wants all workers to behave, which performance standards they are expected to adhere to, and why doing so is beneficial for every party involved.

You may utilize a plethora of methods to communicate this essential information to your team, but an employee handbook is among the most effective ones. Read this post to learn what makes a perfect employee handbook, and download our free employee handbook template to create one for yourself. 🙌

What Is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook (aka staff manual) is a comprehensive summary of key information about a business:

  • Its internal policies,
  • Workplace culture,
  • HR practices,
  • Team management procedures, etc.

In other words, a handbook covers everything that an employee needs to know about their company in order to work productively, show proper legal compliance, feel safe in employment, and develop trust towards their employer.

As such, an employee handbook is normally shared with new hires during the onboarding process. However, employees should have access to your staff manual throughout their employment periods. And whenever you update the employee handbook as per new legal requirements or internal policy changes, you should always notify your team and encourage them to get familiar with these updates promptly.

Employee Handbook Template: Primary Components

✅ General disclaimers

A general disclaimer is a statement that denies responsibility for certain events or situations. It is often used by businesses to protect themselves from liability.

Thus, in the introduction to your employee handbook, you need to explain why it was created in the first place and which goals it pursues. State that the handbook is not a contract and doesn’t guarantee long-term employment. Make it clear that this document is also subject to change whenever appropriate (e.g., in response to new legal regulations or internal requirements).

Here are some examples of general disclaimers you can use in your employee handbook:

  • A handbook is not a binding contract. It’s more like a set of guidelines to help employees navigate their way through employment with the company. The company can change the handbook at any time, and an employee’s continued employment with the company indicates their acceptance of those changes.
  • The handbook is not all-inclusive. There may be company policies not mentioned in the handbook, and if so, those policies will still apply to you.
  • This handbook is meant to help you understand our company culture and what we expect of our employees. We hope you find it helpful, informative, and entertaining.

📃 Brief company history

Company history is a written record of the events that have shaped a company. It provides context for current employees and gives new hires a sense of the company’s culture and values. Besides, it can help your staff members feel proud of their workplace and motivate them to stay with the company.

By writing down the main points from your company history in the employee handbook, you will give your staff members a clear idea of who and what they work for:

  • Include some info about the company founders.
  • Spell out your business’s primary values, goals, mission, and vision.
  • Provide a concise overview of where it all has started, what you’ve managed to accomplish over time, and which position you currently occupy in the market.

👍 Employee conduct

Employee conduct refers to the behavioral standards and rules that an organization expects from its employees. Such standards are important to have because they set the tone for the workplace and can impact the company’s bottom line. For example, if your team members are constantly arguing with each other, it can create a hostile environment that makes it difficult for everyone to get work done. Additionally, if employees are not following the company’s attendance policy, it can lead to decreased productivity and higher costs for the company.

So, the employee handbook should clearly state how you expect your team members to behave on a day-to-day basis. Here’s your chance to outline essential schedule and attendance requirements, team communication rules, dress code standards, anti-harassment regulations, and so on. Describe the most important dos and don’ts and include some references to relevant policies.

💰 Compensation and promotion

Employee compensation and promotion ensure that employees are motivated to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Plus, they help to retain those workers who might otherwise be tempted to leave their current positions.

Promotions are also a good way to recognize an employee’s exemplary performance or loyalty to the company. And it goes without saying that every well-written employee handbook will outline the company’s policies on these topics, as well as any relevant procedures that the company applies when promoting and providing wages for its staff members.

How do you calculate employee pay, and which methods do you use to process it? Be sure to state how your team members will be compensated for overtime work. Plus, indicate on which conditions they can get a raise or be promoted.

🌴 Time off

A good time off policy helps to maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout by giving employees dedicated time to relax and enjoy their personal lives. By describing your time off policy in an employee handbook, you will show employees that the company cares about their well-being and is willing to invest in their health and happiness. This can help to boost morale and build a sense of loyalty among your staff members.

Absence management and vacation tracking procedures vary greatly from one company to another. So, specify which rules and tools are adopted in yours. Which steps do your employees have to undertake to request days off? How frequently can they do that? And who is responsible for the leave approval process?

🍓 Benefits

Employee benefits are any perks or extra compensation that an employee receives as part of their job. These benefits can be both financial and non-financial and may include things like health insurance, matching 401(k) contributions, and more.

Employee benefits are typically offered by employers as a way to attract and retain top talent. Thus, it makes total sense to include some info about them in your employee handbook and let your team members know what they can expect to get in return for excellent work.

When writing the handbook, be sure to answer these questions:

  • What other monetary and non-monetary benefits besides vacation and regular pay can your employees enjoy?
  • Do you offer the same benefit packages to full-time and part-time employees, telecommuters, and those working in the company for short and extended periods?

🏡 Remote work

There are plenty of advantages to remote work for both employers and employees. For employers, remote work can lead to increased productivity and lower overhead costs. And for employees, remote work can offer a greater sense of work-life balance and freedom.

That’s why modern professionals regard remote work as a major perk and tend to be more attracted to businesses that offer them at least some degree of flexibility in choosing where to work.

  • Do your employees have an opportunity to work remotely?
  • If yes, how do employment conditions differ for those who choose this flexible work arrangement?
  • Which employees are eligible for remote work?
  • Do you have a part-time or full-time remote work policy?

Answer these questions and record them in your employee handbook.

👌 Workplace safety

Impeccable workplace safety produces the following advantages:

  • Reduced risk of accidents and injuries among employees
  • Higher workforce productivity
  • Lower costs for businesses
  • Improved team morale
  • Enhanced company reputation
  • Better compliance with government regulations

Plus, by describing the adopted workplace safety rules in your employee handbook, you will demonstrate to employees that you take their health and well-being seriously. So, be sure to explain how you maintain workplace safety, which relevant laws and regulations you adhere to, and how your team members are required to contribute to workplace safety as well.

🧩 Miscellaneous

Workplace environments and policies vary from one organization to another. So, you may describe any additional important information at the end of your employee handbook. This section may cover anything from workplace-related parking rules to social media guidelines and individual productivity recommendations.

✍ Acknowledgment of receipt

An acknowledgment of receipt is simply a document that confirms that a person has received something. It’s a useful tool for keeping track of your employee communication and ensuring that everything is properly documented.

Include an acknowledgment page in your employee handbook and ask each worker to sign it after reading the document. Once done, detach the page from the handbook and add it to the worker’s personal file. This simple action will help you keep your employees accountable and encourage them to follow the described rules and policies.

Want to manage your team more efficiently?
actiPLANS is ready to help!

Start using for free

Employee Handbook Writing Tips

Our free employee handbook template already contains the above sections. So, don’t hesitate to download and use it as a prompt during the handbook writing process. Besides, make sure to abide by the following fundamental rules:

  • Research applicable laws | Employment, time off, and other workplace-related regulations differ from one state to another. Thus, to provide your staff with all the necessary information, you should explore your legal environment in depth. This will help you understand which policy provisions you must cover in your handbook to prevent legal risks and guarantee better outcomes in terms of organizational behaviors.
  • Focus on positives | Your staff manual shouldn’t just focus on punishments that employees will suffer from after failing to meet your performance requirements. To motivate them to work harder and make them feel happy about joining the team, you need to use a welcoming tone and talk about their gains as well.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep | Include only relevant and actual information in your employee handbook. Claiming something you can’t support with actions is a definite way to undermine your employees’ trust.

An effectively constructed employee handbook will help you establish positive and productive relationships with your team members. Use it as a way to express your care, and it won’t be troublesome to promote loyalty and favorable behaviors among employees.

Enjoy a better way to
schedule work
Start Using actiPLANS