Writing your employee handbook

If your small business or startup venture is expanding, what is one tool you need before hiring? You need an employee handbook! Employee handbooks form the basis of communication between you and your employees. In a handbook, you can lay out the rules, expectations, best practices, and processes, all valuable information when new employees onboard with your company. Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan for your employee handbook. 

Develop your company policies first

Make sure that your company policies are well developed and use them to create an outline for your handbook. In a nutshell, company policies communicate the mission and values of your business. Think big-picture goals when designing your company policies. The big picture will guide you through the practical applications in your employee handbook. 

To read more about writing good company policies, check out my blog post on the subject!

Avoid overly technical language

Frankly, most company handbooks fail to make entertaining literature. While necessary to guide the direction of a company or business, vision and mission statements aren’t especially exciting. In order to make your handbook accessible to your employees, make a concerted effort for readability. How do you make your handbooks readable? Simplicity! Avoid technical jargon and legalese. You do not need to employ legal language to command respect, and using straightforward language will enable your employees to grasp more complicated concepts and procedures.

Handbooks are for employees

What do your employees need to know about their roles, salaries, benefits, compensation, and company culture? Anything that is relevant to your employees’ success should be included in your handbook. This would also include legal issues such as equal employment, grievance procedures, and nondiscrimination laws. You may want to have a legal expert proof your handbook to make sure that you have covered all the important legal bases for your business. Expect that your employees will want to reference your handbook to help them navigate work issues!

If writing an employee handbook seems too time-consuming or intimidating, contact me and we’ll talk about removing the pressure! 

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