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Employee Handbook: Definition, Benefits & Guide to Create

Employee Handbook: Definition, Benefits & Guide to Create

|Dec 18, 2023

As companies are established, they hire employees in small numbers.  When small numbers are hired, it is easier to manage them as most are connected individually. Communicating policy changes and networking is easy because of the limited number of folks to communicate with. As a company expands with increasing business, newer ways of working, or the organization culture, starts to develop.

An employee handbook is like a starter's manual for most new hires. It helps them know what the company's goals are. In addition, most employee handbooks talk about the story of the organization.

Let us deep dive to understand more about the employee handbook.

What is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook aims to help new hires settle down at the workplace quicker. It familiarizes them with what the company stands for, its mission, vision, goals.  An employee handbook definition includes what is expected out of a new hire.  Hence, you will find most company employee handbooks talking to a new employee. They highlight various policies, including perks and benefits and how to claim them. In addition, an employee handbook may describe procedures like reimbursements, tax savings, and other portals.

Various sections of an employee handbook may lay out different policies against discrimination. These could range from physical, sexual to harassment and more. Another section is attributed to helpful information like emergency telephone numbers, whom to contact in specific situations, department or section head's name, and contact details.

Some companies detail sections to those specially challenged physically or mentally. Such employees can expect to find information on how to access areas. It may contain information for special situations. Other details could include the location of especially accessible corridors and elevators.

Of course, employee handbook ideas depend a lot on the importance of an organizational culture of a company.

Remember that an employee handbook is a legal document in many countries.  Regular audits may require companies to show proof of having distributed these.

Do read our research on social awareness and emotional intelligence.

What is an Employee Handbook

What are the Benefits of an Employee Handbook?

Joining a new company can be an exhausting task. For the first few weeks, they have much information to soak in. At times, remembering new information isn't easy. So an introduction to a company that's new for a new hire is vital.  These could aim to reduce social work stress.

Most employee handbooks are aimed at providing a new hire with information in one place. Most employee handbooks are aimed at helping employees settle down quickly. This helps in employees being productive as soon as they are settled in. An employee handbook benefits employees and employers both in setting out expectations.

Once the basic hygiene factors are understood, employees are expected to agree on their work goals and routine with their supervisors. Finally, it sets out a tone for cultural diversity in the workplace.

Steps to Creating an Employee Handbook

If you haven't yet made an employee handbook, you don't have to worry.  Here are a few steps to begin with.

Step 1: Introduce the Company

Most employee handbooks would have an introduction to the company.  What is the company's mission? Why was the company formed? What does it expect to contribute to society?

What is the history of the company? How long have they been in existence? Who founded it? 

While sharing the history of a company, many employee handbooks showcase important milestones. These are important achievements that they have achieved in the past. This has helped them shape their brand.  With this information shared with employees, companies expect that they can influence and direct the energy of new hires in the right direction.

It is just like meeting someone for the first time in a business meeting.  You may have prepared to gather information from various sources, including media, social media, and more. However, getting a first-hand account from the person you meet holds more vital information to understand the other person.

In more recent times, most employee handbooks have become digital.  Technology advancements have enabled enrich employee joining experiences. Processes have modernized from using artificial intelligence and bots to welcoming a new hire. 

You may find companies sending out digital employee handbooks or links in a welcome email much before the joining date of an employee. In addition, you may retain certain legal and proprietary information for a follow-up or volume 2 on the date of joining.

Steps to Creating an Employee Handbook

Step 2: Explain Policies and Benefits

Employee handbooks usually detail the employee benefits and perks offered at various levels.  Employee handbook guidelines are customized to ensure that a new hire gets only information about his level. Any generic information on employee benefits and perks is avoided.  Any such information could set incorrect expectations. For example, an executive joining the company may not be entitled to a lunch reimbursement when meeting clients. This may be more apt for a Manager or a Director level employee.

Policies lay down the correct procedures for any process.  When shared with new hires, it becomes obligatory for any new hire to follow them. There could be several new things to be adhered to. Retaining all this information is certainly a challenge to any newcomer.  Hence, detailing them in an employee handbook helps employees to fall back to a reference book.

Perks and benefits help the employee know how to follow the procedures. These could include reimbursements for a client meeting or travel for work. Many employee handbooks detail any payment cycles and turnaround time to set expectations for new hires.   Don't forget sections on fire drills, handling special situations, doctor's office, and how to access it.

Remember to include how employees could benefit from social media in the workplace.  

Explain Policies and Benefits

Step 3: Validation

Remember that an employee handbook guide holds legal information being shared with a new hire.  Apart from checks and management approvals, ensure you have taken a legal counsel’s approval. This would ensure that no information is misrepresented by error or otherwise.  A legal view also ensures that mandatory information shared with a new hire is not missed out.

Step 4: Distribution

As you prepare to welcome a new batch of employees, ensure you have checked on the best way to distribute these. Technology has advanced, and presenting employee handbooks in a digital format is the in thing.  It helps you present information that attracts new employees. In addition, Digital formats may be easier to distribute, store and access.


Step 5: Recording Receipt

When deciding on whether you want to go manual or digital on employee handbooks, ensure that every new hire has access to read a digital employee handbook. Why? Employees can always claim they didn't have access to or the time to read one. In addition, some companies require employees to sign a declaration that they have received, read the employee handbooks, and follow the procedures.

 And hey, pronto, your new employees are ready to begin their journey to new successes!

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As you sit down to write an employee handbook, remember it could make or break the new hire process a success. Why? Any employee handbook is more like an ambassador of the organization. It talks volumes about the culture, quality, and more about an organization. So here is wishing you success in writing an employee handbook.

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