Handbooks can be used for a lot of things. In a way, we can sort of think about them as a pocket guide to whatever we need more information about. But by far, the most popular is the employee handbook.
Whether it’s digital or a physical copy, I’m sure all of us are familiar with the concept of an employee handbook. These particular handbooks are used as an introduction to a company. They give all the necessary information to whoever may be reading it so that they can transition into the company as flawlessly as possible.
So with that said, what goes into an employee handbook? Are there any specific sections you should include? What about the design aspect? Don’t worry. We’re going to go over any questions that you may be having, plus a little more.
What it takes to make an employee handbook
The question was asked above: Are there any specific sections you should include in a handbook? In truth, yes, but it’s also not as cut and dry as that. Depending on your company, policies, and personal preferences, handbooks can vary from company to company.
But that’s not much of an answer, is it? We’re here to answer questions, not create new ones, so let’s start with the basics.
Don’t call it an employee handbook
First thing’s first, don’t call it an employee handbook. Nothing says boring like an employee handbook. Name it something fun and energetic. Get your new colleagues/employees excited to be on your team.
Simple names usually work best here. You really don’t have to worry about copyright infringement here, so try something simple like, “How our team works.” A title like that is straightforward, but it sort of lets the reader know that they’ll get all the good information that they need without boring them.
Give your mission statement
After the name is all sorted (try not to spend too much time on that) it’s time to open up with your mission statement. This is a very important thing to put first, as it highlights all the best aspects of your brand.
Think of it this way: first impressions last a lifetime. In order to get employees started off on the right foot, they first need to know the direction everyone else in the company is walking.
That being said, tell them what you’re all about. Tell them your story, about your goals, and the community that the company has built.
Table of contents
Now that the mission statement is out of the way, give them a little more guidance. Employee handbooks can be very long. The table of contents will be more than appreciated.
Of course, a new employee should read an employee handbook from front to back, but they may need to reference it later. Considering how long it might take them to read it the first time, it would be a real headache to have to go back and read it all over again, only for a tiny piece of information. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you can get creative with the table of contents.
One of the first things mentioned in any employee handbook should always be the company policies. That’s why they should come right after the mission statement and the table of contents.
This section is where you’ll include information on procedures, dress codes, holidays, and paid/unpaid leave. Of course, depending on your policies, this section could take up to quite a few pages. However, the length isn’t important. Include every bit of information any employee might need to know.
A helpful tip for this section would be to create policies that are unique to your company. I’m not talking about making everyone walk around in a clown costume. What I am talking about, however, is taking the time to think about how your company works, and creating policies based on that.
For example, if you have a very relaxed staff, friendly work environment, and maybe your office doesn’t deal directly with customers, then there really isn’t a need to dress business formal. Little details like that within the policy show that you care deeply about the wellbeing of the company and the people that work there.
Almost immediately following the policies, it would be a good idea to list the benefits of working for your company. This is another great way to show the employees that you care, and it’s also something that a lot of job seekers specifically look for.
Things like 401k, insurance, company retreats, and more can go here. Basically, think of all the good things that your company promotes and add them to the benefit section of the employee handbook.
Only after the points above are covered can you continue. After that, you can start talking about the general information of the company. Basically, anything that you can’t fit into the other categories can go here. Stuff like:
- Paycheck schedules and methods
- Full-time and part-time working hours
- Overtime and holiday pay
- Resignation procedures
- Safety and security
- Breaks and lunch
The range of topics are basically endless in this industry. The reason for mentioning it is so that you get a good idea of what the layout of the employee handbook should look like.
How to put all this together
Alright, so you have all this information, what’s next? It’s simple! You put it all together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be straightforward and very easy to read. Employees should come out of this with all their questions answered.
Lay it all out in a simple format. Something like the image above is a very good example. You’re not trying to entertain the new employees. You’re simply trying to inform them and make their transition into a new work environment a little easier.
Brand image is important in any company. It makes you unique in the face of customers and clients. It’s what makes you, you. But this headline is a double edged sword. I’m not referring to merely mentioning the guidelines of your brand’s image in the employee handbook, but following those guidelines while creating it, too.
As important as it is to talk about brand image in the employee handbook, it’s also important for the handbook itself to follow that same image. So how do you do that?
Well of course, you can’t follow the brand’s image if it’s not first established. But that can be hard to remember, right? After all, you’re having to write it down for everyone else.
Don’t freak out, we’ve got you. Flipsnack has a unique feature that allows you to save your brand image so that you can use it in the editor. Things like brand color, assets, and even typography can be set.
Take a look at the image above. The colors are saved all the way down to the specific hex code. The typography is saved based on its use. If you want to save a heading, subheading, or any other various styles of text. You can save more than 1 type, and up to 20 different ones.
No longer will you or any other employees guess whether the exact shade of blue is correct. It’s all saved and ready to go.
Some great employee handbook examples
Examples are always a great way to get a better understanding. Here are a few examples taken right from Flipsnack.
I mentioned this earlier, but this article really only scratches the surface when it comes to the contents of an employee handbook. Every single company will be different, so these points are general topics that you should include.
That being said, there’s still a lot to digest above, so here’s the rundown:
- Don’t call it an employee handbook
- Introduce your mission
- Don’t forget the table of contents!
- General (uncategorized) information
- Put all of it together in a simple and easy to read format
- Brand it with your image
There you have it. You now have a solid foundation to get your new employee handbook off the ground. Be sure to take your time when creating it, but don’t forget to have a little fun, too.