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What Should I Include in my Employee Handbook?

Why should you consider creating an employee handbook? A well-written employee handbook helps prevent workplace misunderstandings, disputes, and conflicts. It’s a transparent guide that also fosters a positive work environment by clearly stating the company’s mission, vision, and core values.

It also minimizes legal risks and promotes effective communication between employers and employees. It helps set expectations, clarify guidelines, and contributes to the overall success and stability of the business.

So, what should you include in your employee handbook?

While specific content may vary based on the organization’s size, industry, and specific needs, the following are common key sections found in many employee handbooks. 

Please note: We offer these common sections only to get you thinking about your own handbook. This is a general overview for a more comprehensive employee handbook.

Welcome Letter/Introduction A brief message from company leadership welcoming new employees and setting a positive tone.

Mission, Vision, and Values An overview of the organization’s mission, vision, and core values to give employees a sense of the company’s purpose and culture.

Employment Policies Information about employment classifications (full-time, part-time, etc.). Equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination policies. Anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies.

Code of Conduct/Ethics Expectations for employee behavior, integrity, and ethical standards.

Workplace Behavior Guidelines on professionalism, dress code, and interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

Work Hours and Attendance Details about regular work hours, attendance expectations, breaks, and time-off policies.

Compensation and Benefits Information about salary, pay schedules, and benefits offered (healthcare, retirement plans, etc.).

Leave Policies Policies related to vacation, sick leave, personal days, and other types of leave.

Performance Expectations Performance standards and expectations, including job responsibilities and performance review processes.

Training and Development Information about employee training programs, professional development opportunities, and continuing education.

Technology and Communication Guidelines on the use of company technology, email, internet, and social media policies.

Health and Safety Workplace safety policies, emergency procedures, and information about health and safety programs.

Security and Confidentiality Guidelines on protecting sensitive company information and data security.

Conflict Resolution and Grievance Procedures Processes for addressing workplace conflicts and procedures for lodging complaints.

Termination Policies Information about the grounds for termination, notice periods, and exit procedures.

Acknowledgment of Receipt A section where employees acknowledge that they have read and understood the handbook.

It’s important for employers to regularly review and update the employee handbook to ensure that it reflects current policies and complies with relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, employees should be encouraged to ask questions and seek clarification on any policies outlined in the handbook.

Create Your Own Employee Handbook with Empower’s Business Advisory 

We realize that there is a lot to this. Creating and updating a compliant employee handbook can be overwhelming for business owners. Especially relative to compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. 

But it also returns exponential value in the workplace by preventing problems down the road. That’s why we help our clients craft custom employee handbooks unique to their organizations. We’ll make sure it clearly conveys your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. And complies with federal, state, and local law. 

So call us or email today to get started on your employee handbook for a stronger, clearer relationship with your workforce.

Until next time,


Nikki Magnone,
Empower Business Strategies HR Consultant