Introduction On Writing Your Employee Handbook

With all the meetings, introductions and paperwork involved in employee orientation, it might be tempting to give the Employee Handbook poor treatment.

But don’t do it.

The Employee Handbook is one of your first official communications to your new employee and it should be:

  • up to date
  • detailed
  • & well written

In fact, your Employee Handbook is the single most important internal document for communicating

  • policies
  • practices
  • and employee benefits

It sets forth your expectations for your employees and outlines what they in turn can expect from your organization.

While the policies outlined in your handbook will reflect your company’s own unique culture, these policies also must be drafted in adherence to:

  • Federal
  • State
  • Local laws & regulations

You may even find you need more than one edition of your official handbook.

For example, one for exempt employees and another for non-exempt.


Or, for Union employees and Non-union employees.

In any instance, there are a number of key elements to be included in an Employee Handbook.​

Step 1 – Begin With Your General Employment Information

After a welcome and introduction from your president or CEO, begin with general employment information.

Provide an overview of your business and layout basic policies relating to

  • employment eligibility
  • job classifications
  • employee records
  • job posting
  • termination
  • resignation procedures
  • *if applicable* Union information

​Next, address your company’s anti-discrimination policies.

Depending on the size of the company, employers MUST comply with a number of different Federal and State Equal Employment Opportunity laws prohibiting discrimination.

Outline them here and set out a statement of your official compliance.


This section is also a good place to set out your sexual harassment and any affirmative action policies.

Your handbook should also cover compensation and work schedules.

With respect to compensation, include information on Federal and State tax deductions, as well as voluntary deductions for benefits.

Also, explain pay schedules, time keeping policies and topics such as performance reviews, raises and bonuses.

You should also clearly state your company’s regular work hours and schedules and your policy on attendance, punctuality and reporting absences.

If telecommuting or flex hours are an option, cover those here as well.
Standards of Conduct is one of the most important sections in your handbook.

Make sure you document how you expect employees to conduct themselves in the workplace, from dress code to ethics.


For your example, dress codes could include ​2 different polices from workplace dress code to dress code for safety.

As the bellow 2 dress code examples:

Workplace Dress Code

ACME COMPANY encourages employees to dress comfortable, with consideration given to maintaining a professional appearance. Appropriate attire should be worn at all times in keeping with commonly recognized standards. If you interface with clients or are scheduled to meet with clients on an occasional basis, be prepared and dress appropriately. Be considerate of the company’s image as well as your image with customers and your co-workers.​

Dress Code for Safety

Long hair as well as certain types of clothing, shoes and accessories may impose unsafe conditions in certain areas of the facility. Loose clothing, neck ties, long hair, jewelry and hanging accessories may get tangled in machinery and cause injury. High-heel shoes may be unsafe in many parts of the production area. Some areas of the plant require safety glasses, hard hats or other personal protection equipment be worn at all times.Safety requirements may vary throughout the day in some areas, based on work functions being performed. Please adhere strictly to notices and management warnings regarding safe dress policies in specific areas of the facility. Area managers have authority to define safety issues in their area as it relates to safety policy, including dress codes.If you have questions or concerns contact

Remind employees of any legal obligations that they may need to comply with such as protecting sensitive customer data.

And, describe your standards related to employee discipline including any progressive discipline policy.​

​In Part Two, we’ll continue our discussion of the Employee Handbook beginning with the topic of Safety and Security.

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