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What's in Your Employee Handbook? Eight Things You Might Need to Add

Updated: May 3, 2021

Is your employee handbook working for you? Do you know what’s in your employee handbook, and if it’s enough?

It ensures your employees are aware of all your rules and your expectations. The handbook leaves nothing to guess, and it can protect both your employees and your business.

To help make sure your employee handbook includes everything it needs to be useful, let’s look at eight things you might need to add.

#1: Code of Conduct

One of the most important things is your company’s code of conduct. This is the first place employees turn to when they are wondering about your policies, procedures, and company ethics.

The code of conduct sets your company culture and may include:

  • Code of Ethics

  • Workplace Safety

  • Work attendance requirements

  • Employee dating policy

This area of your employee handbook sets strong expectations for your staff and lets them know the consequences when they aren’t met.

#2: Dress Code

By adding your dress code policy, you leave no room for confusion when it comes to how your staff should dress and groom themselves. It helps you maintain consistency across your leadership team, too.

The dress code may include what you expect with regard to attire (think suits or business casual), grooming, hygiene, tattoos, piercings, and more. Everyone should be treated the same.

#3: Flexible Work Arrangements

With more and more people working remotely or in a hybrid manner, let your team know what you expect.

It’s important that your team is treated fairly, and your flexible work options are spelled out and include:

  • Who is eligible.

  • How to request it.

  • When it will be reviewed.

  • Guidelines for it.

#4: Employee Conflict Resolution

Another vital component is how you’ll resolve employee complaints and conflict. These provide for open communication and enable your employees to have their issues resolved in a constructive way.

A complaint-resolution policy is vital for both you and your team. It also helps you defend yourself in case an employee files a lawsuit.

#5: Legal Information

There is some information that must be in every employee handbook. This would include:

  • Family medical leave policies (there is a federal act providing for this, so make sure you have federal as well as state policies here).

  • Equal employment and non-discrimination policies. The US Department of Labor requires many businesses to post this information.

  • Worker’s compensation policies.

#6: Paid Time Off

All of your employees want to know about their time off.

This section of your handbook tells your staff about your vacation policy, your sick leave policy, family medical leave, military leave, jury duty, etc. It also includes the holidays you observe. If you don’t give time off for traditional holidays, you want to spell it out here.

#7: Benefits

This is another integral area for your staff.

In this section, let them know about your benefits including health care, dental, vision, life insurance, and disability.

If you offer non-traditional benefits such as gym memberships, meals, and more, put it in this area.

#8: Digital Policies

It’s important to spell out your policies with regard to the technology you provide as well as what you expect on social media.

Can they send personal emails from company computers? Do you expect them to leave things off their social media with regard to your business? How much digital privacy may they expect?

To Conclude

Don’t forget to include a signature page. This confirms your employee received and read the book. It’s imperative your employees turn in this page as it can also help in case there is a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Finally, you want to make sure you keep your employee handbook updated as an outdated handbook can cause you some pretty significant issues.

An up-to-date employee handbook helps your employees and your new hires. It provides an information treasure trove for your staff and lets them know what is expected of them and what they can expect from you.

Your employee handbook sets your company culture while outlining policies and procedures that are good for both your team and your business.

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