How to Create an Employee Handbook (+ Templates)

How to Create an Employee Handbook (+ Templates)
Heleana Tiburca

Written by:
Heleana Tiburca

Oct 13, 2021

An employee handbook is a helpful document and communication tool that can set both your employees and your company up for success if made correctly.

This article will help you understand what an employee handbook is, why you need one, what policies it should include and how to create one for your own business.

We’ve also included professional and fully customizable employee handbook templates at the end of this post to help you quickly create your own.

Let’s get started.

Ready to create an employee handbook for your company? Use our professional document creator to develop employee handbooks, booklets, training manuals and more.

 

Table of Contents

What is an Employee Handbook?

Why You Need an Employee Handbook

9 Policies to Include in Your Employee Handbook

How to Create an Employee Handbook in 7 Steps

10 Employee Handbook Templates to Customize

 

What is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is a physical or electronic book where a company’s history, policies, procedures, rules, culture, expectations and other important pieces of information that employees need to know are listed out in detail.

Employee handbooks are also commonly known and referred to as company policy manuals, employee manuals or staff handbooks. They are essential documents that help employees know what is expected of them and the company culture.

 

How long should an employee handbook be?

Your employee handbook can be anywhere around 30 pages, but no longer than 60. By creating an employee handbook that’s too long, you risk your employees not reading it altogether.

For best results, we recommend that you keep it short and to the point, while still making sure you cover all necessary information, legalities and formalities.

 

How often should you update your employee handbook?

Your employee handbook should be updated every time a company policy changes. This way, there are no misunderstandings within the company.

But even if there are no significant company changes, your employee handbook should be updated or at the very least, revised every 2 years to make sure it stays up to date.

 

Why You Need an Employee Handbook

Creating an employee handbook is not just a formality. It has various benefits for both your company and your employees.

Below are some reasons you need an employee handbook for your business:

  • Onboard new employees: Well-written employee handbooks can help familiarize new employees with your company culture and values. This helps them align their goals, attitude, performance and expectations, and fit in faster.
  • Set expectations upfront: Creating an employee handbook can set your employees up for success by listing out everything that’s expected of them, from attitude to job performance.
  • Improve employee satisfaction: Employee handbooks can keep your employees happy because it’s an easily accessible document that can be looked back on at any point in time to answer any questions and to avoid any unwanted lawsuits.
  • Ensure legal compliance: Not only do employee handbooks ensure your employees are happy and perform well, they also protect you and the rest of the company by helping you comply with federal and state laws and regulations.

Whether your perspective on an employee handbook is for protection or setting your employees up for a job they can thrive at, having an employee handbook is an absolute must for all businesses.

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9 Policies to Include in Your Employee Handbook

You know how vital having an employee handbook is, but when it comes time to sit down to write and come up with all the things you need to include in your employee handbook, it’s easy to omit important bits of information.

When you write your employee handbook, make sure that you include the following:

  • Your company’s mission statement
  • Company culture
  • Employee code of conduct
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Communication & conflict-resolution policy
  • Dress code policy
  • Company dating policy
  • Non-discrimination & anti-harassment policy
  • Hiring and termination policies

In order to best set you up to create a successful employee handbook, we’re going to talk about each of these employee handbook policies and topic necessities a bit more in detail so you can ensure your handbook covers all its bases.

 

1. Company Mission Statement

At the very beginning of your employee handbook, it’s important to state your company’s mission statement to help align your employees on the company’s goals and its very purpose for existing.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

A mission statement is typically 1-3 sentences long, but can also get into greater detail by expanding into a paragraph. You can include things like:

  • How the company came to be
  • What problem do you want to solve
  • How your company serves its buyers or clients
  • How do you intend to nurture your employees
  • Your future goals and objectives

Remember, your mission statement should be easy to understand and grasp by all who read it.

 

2. Company Culture

Soon after you express your mission statement, it’s important to add a section to your employee handbook that expands on your company culture.

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In your company culture statement, it’s important to state:

  • Your company ethics and values
  • The way you intend for the company to function
  • What attitudes and behaviors are being encouraged
  • What will and will not be tolerated, from leadership to team members
  • Teamwork and growth mindset
  • The overall functionality you want from your company

A lot of companies also create company culture videos that quickly explain to employees what to expect in their work environment.

Pro Tip: If you’re creating a digital employee handbook with Visme, you can embed videos and links within your document and turn it into an interactive experience.

 

3. Code of Conduct

Your code of conduct will act as a rule book for your employees to refer back to when they have any questions regarding expectations, compliance, consequences and other related items.

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There are lots of things you can include in your code of conduct, but here are just a few:

  • The expectations you have of your employee
  • What happens when they do or don’t meet those expectations
  • Guidelines for safety in the workplace
  • Other rules, policies and procedures you expect the team to follow

 

4. Compensation and Benefits

It’s important for you to be upfront with your employees and let them know what to expect of their compensation.

There are many important things to mention in your compensation policy, but consider mentioning:

  • Their starting salary
  • How often they can expect a raise
  • Company benefits (e.g. gym memberships, bus passes, discounts etc.)
Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download
  • Salary deductions
  • Overtime policies
  • Company expenses
  • Any other monetary policies you need to cover

It’s important to cover as many of your legal bases as possible in this section of your employee handbook.

 

5. Communication and Conflict-Resolution Policy

In every company, there is bound to be some sort of conflict that will eventually arise, whether between co-workers or an employee and management.

The way your company chooses to handle conflict and resolution should all be spelled out in this section of your employee handbook.

Tell your employees your expectations of them when conflicts arise, such as:

  • Telling them about your open communication policy
  • When they should involve HR in a conflict
  • Provide a safe space with an intermediary for conflict-resolution
  • Consequences for not respecting company conflict-resolution policy

It’s especially important to explain to remote team members how you expect them to stay involved and communicate, even over a screen.

Pro Tip: Engaging remote employees can be tricky. Learn how to keep remote team members engaged in daily team activities and initiatives.

 

6. Dress Code Policy

Every company’s dress code policy will look a little different, depending on the industry and management’s decision.

To avoid any awkward conversations or problems in your company, be sure to spell out your dress code policy as clearly as possible. Mention things like:

  • Abstain from wearing clothing with profanity, offensive language or graphics on it
  • Tell employees if you respect a professional, business casual or casual dress code
  • If you do respect a professional wardrobe, then mention if you have any “casual dress day” and explain what that means to the company
  • Your hygiene policy
  • Consequences for not respecting the dress code

 

7. Company Dating Policy

Sometimes people find their significant other in their workplace. This means that you need to be prepared for romance in the office and your policies regarding it.

Here are some things to consider including in your company dating policy:

  • Whether or not dating coworkers is accepted in the workplace
  • How soon do relationships need to be disclosed to HR
  • Policies regarding PDA
  • Whether or not employees of the same team can date
  • What happens if someone from management dates someone from the team
  • Measures to be taken if company dating policies are not respected

 

8. Non-Discrimination & Anti-Harassment Policy

Discrimination and harassment is never okay and even prohibited by law, which is why you need to have a very clear non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy laid out for your employees to see and refer back to as much as needed.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

You can remind your employees of what your values and ethics are and tell them you don’t tolerate discrimination and/or harassment based on:

  • Color
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Abilities or disabilities
  • Nationality

Finally, it’s crucial that you have the consequences of any such actions that happen in the workplace written out, so everyone is clear on company policy.

 

9. Hiring and Termination Policies

Hiring a new employee can be an exciting move while terminating a work contract can be a bit on the stressful side.

In any case, you need to make sure you have all your ducks in a row and let employees know what to expect, like:

  • If you have a work trial or probation period
  • How often you will compensate them
  • Paternity leave
  • Number of sick and vacation days
  • Paid leave policies
Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download
  • How many warnings one will receive
  • Termination notice period
  • Termination policy

Your employee handbook should be full of useful information for both the company and the employee.

Now that you know what to include, let’s talk about how you can make an employee handbook.

 

How to Create an Employee Handbook in 7 Steps

Creating an employee handbook can be a difficult and time-consuming task, but with the right set of skills and a clear map of how to make one, it will make the process much easier and even enjoyable.

From creating a draft to creating the design, we have 7 tips that will show you exactly how to create an employee handbook, so let’s jump right into it.

 

1. Create an Outline or Draft

What you choose to include in your employee handbook is completely up to you, but it is recommended you include the basics.

This means you could include your company statement, your unique procedure and policies, employee onboarding procedures, termination policies, non-discrimination policies and other legalities to keep your company safe.

Before you create your employee handbook, write up a draft of what you want to include in a document and make sure you make bulleted lists of everything you need to cover.

By creating a rough draft, you will get an idea of how long your employee handbook will be and this will give you the opportunity to see how many pages your handbook will be and you’ll be able to adjust the length of each page or policy.

 

2. Summarize the Key Points of Each Policy

Because the average attention span has declined, it’s important that you can quickly get your policies across to your employees without bombarding them with lots of text.

One great way to do this is by creating short, bulleted lists and titles on each page highlighting the main idea of a policy.

As you can see in the example above, the main idea is written in bold; you can then include technicalities, benefits and consequences and get into the minute details of it.

This way, your employees can find the policies that they’re interested in, quickly understand them and further explore them if they need to.

 

3. Decide on Your Tone of Voice

Another important decision you need to make when creating your employee handbook is how you will address your employees and what tone of voice you will use.

Of course, this will depend greatly on the type of company you run and the way you run your company.

If you have a tech company full of young daring creatives, then maybe you can use a friendly, upbeat and fun tone of voice where you showcase how you’ll encourage their creativity and try to embody the workplace vibe in your handbook.

For this type of employee handbook, you can use fun text templates, bright images and daring colors themes, like in the example below.

If you’re creating a handbook for your law firm or private clinic, then you may want to assume a more serious or professional tone of voice with a firm font choice and neutral colors, as seen in the example below.

To help ease the pain of creating an employee handbook from scratch, we have a library of employee handbook templates you can choose from. We’ll talk about those and how you can use them in our last section.

 

4. Use a Professional Document Creator

You’ll make your life a thousand times easier by using a comprehensive employee handbook creator that’s literally made for the job.

When choosing your employee handbook creator, it’s important to pick one where you can upload your company branding elements like your font, colors and logo — such as Visme!

Here are the features you'll get with a Visme subscription:

  • Thousands of professional templates across 40+ categories
  • An intuitive, drag-and-drop editor that works in your browser
  • Animation and interactivity features; embed links, videos, quizzes and more
  • Millions of free design assets; photos, videos, audio, icons, animated graphics and more
  • Collaboration tools to help you create documents together with your team
  • Brand management tools to help you store and manage your brand assets
  • The ability to download, publish and share your designs online in various formats

Check out our pricing page to learn more about our plans and features to find the best fit for your needs.

 

5. Use a Ready-Made Employee Handbook Template

Using an employee handbook template will be incredibly time-efficient for you and your project.

They’re helpful because they are pre-made professional documents created by professional designers. You’ll get the benefits of a professionally designed employee handbook without putting in the effort.

Employee Handbook Templates

When choosing your employee handbook template, look for one that closely resembles your company’s charisma and attitude to make the editing process as minimal as possible.

Copy and paste your text into the employee handbook template and you’ll be done in no time. In Visme, all elements on an employee handbook template can be modified and you can add your content to them by dragging and dropping.

On the other hand, if you’re feeling up to it and you’d like to know how to create a training manual from scratch and skip the templates, we’ve got you covered and have an entire tutorial dedicated to the matter.

 

6. Run Your Handbook by Your Legal Team

Before you can publish your employee handbook, it’s very important that you run it by your legal team to make sure everything in the handbook is accurate and lines up with the company’s policies and procedures.

It never hurts to have fresh eyes look over your documents as they can catch things that you might have let slip by you.

 

7. Publish Your Employee Handbook

Once your employee handbook gets the green light from your legal team, it’s time to publish your employee handbook and distribute it to the team.

In Visme, you have various ways to save and distribute your handbook. You can download your documents in JPG, PNG, PDF or HTML5 format, or share online with a public or private link.

You can also generate an embed code for your employee handbook and embed it anywhere on your website. Any time you make changes to it in Visme, the changes will automatically reflect on your live handbook.

 

10 Employee Handbook Templates You Can Customize

Don’t lose any time or sleep over creating an employee handbook from scratch. Visme has professional employee handbook templates that you can customize to suit your specific needs.

Browse through these employee handbook templates, click on the one that resembles your needs the most to open it in our editor and then begin the editing process.

 

1. SaaS Company Employee Handbook Template

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

This employee handbook template is the perfect blend between fun and professional.  The red and purple color theme grabs the attention of readers without being too “out there.”

It’s the perfect template for showcasing company policies and procedures to new and old employees alike.

 

2. Interior Design Employee Handbook Template

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

This minimal and sleek employee handbook template is perfect for interior design companies, but not only. Anyone who wants to get employee onboarding information across in a beautiful way can benefit from this template.

 

3. Construction Company Employee Handbook Template

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

This fully customizable employee handbook template is professional and savvy.

It has lots of custom-created graphic design elements integrated into the design that you can use to make your employee handbook more pleasing to look at.

Engage with your employees while telling your story by using this employee handbook template.

 

4. Interactive Employee Handbook Template [Presentation]

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Ever heard of the expression “You can have your cake and eat it too?” That statement rings true for this employee handbook presentation template.

You can create an amazing employee handbook and transform it into an interactive presentation easily with this template.

Hand out your handbook to all your employees, then present it on-screen to have everyone follow along.

 

5. Corporate Employee Handbook Template [Presentation]

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

This modern employee handbook template is great for any start-up that wants to showcase their policies and procedures in a fun way.

The stock images are happily contagious, and you can substitute them with your own images by uploading them to your library in Visme.

 

6. Marketing Agency Employee Handbook Template

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

This employees handbook template touches on everything from the company culture to dress code and work schedule.

Everything is ready for you, all you need to do is add in your company’s details.

 

7. HR Software Employee Handbook Template

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

This professional employee handbook template is polished and sleek. It’s perfect for large corporations who want to list out all of their expectations of their employees in a professional manner.

Introduce the team with dedicated team member pages, express company policies and more with this template.

 

8. Technology Company Employee Handbook Template

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This employee handbook template is the perfect way to show your company values and welcome new team members aboard.

With 10 unique pages, each dedicated to a different subject, you’ll be able to create an incredible employee handbook that welcomes new members in no time.

 

9. Creative Employee Handbook Template

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

If you’re looking for an employee handbook that's fun and unique, then look no further.

This handbook is perfect for a company targeting millennials and Gen-Z, as its colors are lively and its pages full of creative layouts and professional vector icons.

 

10. Accounting Employee Handbook Template

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

This employee handbook template was designed with professional business owners in mind.

It has pages dedicated to company culture codes, company policies, expectations, communication methods and more. Customize it to match your unique company policies.

 

Create a Professional Employee Handbook Now

Developing an employee handbook can protect your company, improve employee happiness, and boost the motivation and performance of your staff.

Creating an employee handbook from scratch can be difficult and time-consuming. That’s why we have a professional employee handbook creator like Visme to help you out.

With Visme, you can develop a professional employee handbook for free. Plus, if you use our employee handbook templates, you can put one together in minutes, not hours.

With a premium Visme subscription, you also get access to thousands of other templates for presentations, training manuals, reports and proposals, infographics, social media graphics and any other type of content you need to grow your business.

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    About the Author

    I’m Heleana and I’m a content creator here at Visme. My passion is to help people find the information they’re looking for in the most fun and enjoyable way possible. Let’s make information beautiful.

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