Employee Handbook Template

Employee Handbook Guide to get everyone in your organization aligned

Employee Handbook Template – Examples and Best Practices for 2021

If your organization isn’t using an employee handbook to communicate with new and existing employees, it may be time to rethink your onboarding practices.

It’s often said that employees are a company’s biggest asset. When organizations invest time and resources into building a valuable business, it is crucial that they employ the right people for the job. And, of course, provide the right training. The new-hire experience sets employees up for success and long-term job satisfaction. On the flip side, a negative onboarding process could turn new hires away right from the start. Still, employers may overlook the value of onboarding and either put it off or give a sloppy orientation. 

Then, what happens is that once qualified candidates are not given the opportunity to properly integrate with their new environment. It has been reported that 30% of new hires quit within the first six months. More alarmingly, a study by BambooHR found that in the first week, 16.45% of people leave their jobs. Much of this turnover can be attributed to a lack of focus on the new employee experience.

In a nutshell, an employee handbook serves as a guideline for all employment matters. An employee handbook is a document containing company policies, values, mission and expectations. It also gives them a sense of what their responsibilities are and how they can bring value to their company. The employee handbook educates new hires on their rights and benefits for their employment period. These are all essential information for employees, to ensure that they are aligned with the organization and know what to do moving forward. 

How to Create an Employee Handbook 

Because you want your employee handbook to be substantial and detailed, it is important to take some time to create a well-crafted document. Here are the steps to creating an employee handbook.

Step 1: Think about company vision

Every company is different, in terms of mission, value, objectives and definitions for success. For the employee handbook to successfully encompass all these aspects, leaders ought to be clear on where the company is headed and what drives them. Documenting this information will help to communicate these values to employees.

Step 2: Come up with a list of topics to include

It can be hard to come up with pages of documentation without proper brainstorming. Managers and teams can collaborate and come up with ideas and potential topics to include in the employee handbook. Or, you could use our Employee Handbook Template to get started.

Step 3: Gather information

Speak to relevant stakeholders – departments, teams, managers, leaders – to gather information that goes into the employee handbook. Each section will be assigned to the most relevant team or individual, such as HR, marketing, legal or other experts. This way, you’ll have the best people for the job.

Step 4: Finalize it with legal

The employee handbook will contain a lot of sensitive information, as well as has to be written in a way that is professional. First, start off with reviewing company values, onboarding information and other company-related sections. When it comes to legal policies, like anti-harassment, compensation, worker’s benefits, code of conduct, and more, it will be best to have a legal professional review these areas and approve them.

Step 5: Decide on a sharing platform

Deciding where to store the employee handbook is an important step. It decides who can see it, how easy it is to find, and provides ease of updating. Leaving the employee handbook in a dark corner of the office or dropbox will just end up with an outdated handbook that managers neglect all the time. Knowledge-sharing tools like Kipwise allow documents to be stored in a central location.

Step 6: Review and update as it goes along

To ensure success, employee handbooks have to reflect the most current information, policies and objectives. As time goes by, company goals may shift, or regulations may change. It is crucial to constantly review the employee handbook so that people do not receive the wrong information. Kipwise enables accuracy by notifying users when it’s time for a scheduled review or when there are changes in policies. Read more about our built-in content review flow

Employee Handbook Dos and Don’ts

While there is no hard rule that states you have to have an employee handbook, it will be extremely beneficial to have one. However, it is crucial to bear in mind some of the best practices of creating an employee handbook.

For starters, it can be helpful to schedule regular reviews, such as once a year, to update the employee handbook. Other reasons for updating may be the implementation of new local employment laws or other regulatory compliance issues. Perhaps a leadership change will lead to expanded growth. Then, company missions, values and objectives may change.

Think of the employee handbook as a holy grail to all company-related matters. This should be a valuable tool for employees whether it’s their first day or years into their employment. Thus, it is vital for the employee handbook to contain the right information.

What should be included in the employee handbook 

An employee handbook is a valuable resource, only if it includes the right information. It should be a living document that is updated regularly and is treated as a guide to all company-related matters. Some things to include in your employee handbook are:

  • Easy-to-read length containing user-friendly language
  • Company mission statement, values, culture and background
  • Policies related to employment laws: anti-discrimincation, anti-harassment, employment policies, sick leave, jury leave, paid leave etc
  • Policies within the company’s operations: employment classification, compensation administration, work hours, break hours, overtime policies
  • Benefits
  • Workplace standards and expectations: workplace conduct, attendance, ethics, dress code
  • Disclaimer that states that the employee handbook is updated to reflect all current practices of the organization, overwriting all other documentations that are in the similar format.

What should not be included in the employee handbook

There are certain topics that should be avoided in an employee handbook at all costs. These matters may bring up litigation issues for the organization. In other cases, they are just irrelevant information or confusing to read. These should be avoided in an employee handbook:

  • Language and jargon that is hard to understand: Make sure that everything is written clearly to avoid ambiguity or confusion
  • Individual job information: Employee handbooks are a company-wide asset rather than catered to specific jobs and employees
  • Sensitive information: Certain information is prohibited by law to be discussed between employer and employee, or within employees themselves.
  • Company processes: These are ever-changing within the company, and it can be tedious to keep the employee handbook current
  • Legalese: Employment, arbitration, non-disclosure agreements are among some of the legal documents that should be presented to employees separately

Sample Employee Handbook Outline 

It can be confusing to get started on an employee handbook from scratch. Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered. Our Sample Employee Handbook Outline is built on the best practices for employee onboarding to help your new-hires get acquainted with the right information quickly.

Employee Handbook Outline Example

Introduction to company

  • Welcome message
  • Company history and background
  • Mission statement and values
  • Purpose of employee handbook
  • Overview

Employment information

  • Employment contract types
  • Equal opportunity employment statement
  • Attendance requirements
  • Overview of recruitment and selection and orientation process

Workplace policies

  • Workplace safety and health
  • Mental health policies
  • Anti-harassment, anti-violence and anti-discriminatory definitions and policies
  • Disabilities act
  • Drug and alcohol policy
  • Work hours and schedule
  • Overtime
  • Breaktimes and rest
  • Personnel records
  • Compensation administration
  • Data protection act
  • Exit process
  • Code of conduct
  • Dressing
  • Guidelines for use of digital devices internally and externally
  • Conflict of interest
  • Employee relationships and fraternization within the workplace


  • Performance review
  • Appraisals
  • Promotions
  • Transfers
  • Termination
  • Training and development

Compensation and benefits

  • Vacation days
  • Sick leave
  • Holidays
  • Family leave
  • Disability leave
  • Personal leave 
  • Jury duty
  • Urgent leave
  • Unpaid leave
  • Paid time off
  • Work-from-Home
  • Wellness benefits
  • Health insurance
  • Retirement and pension plans
  • Life insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Employee expenses
  • Company-issued equipment

Employer responsibility

  • Safety statement
  • Safety rules and reporting
  • Medical assistance

Create Your Employee Handbook Today

With our FREE Employee Handbook Template, you don’t need to be an expert to start on building better practices for business success. Start communicating with your employees the right way. Kipwise is a modern knowledge sharing tool that enables teams to share, manage and collaborate on knowledge in a fast-paced work environment. Find out more about Kipwise today.

Start with this template

Related templates

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Template

SOP Template to get teams aligned on business processes

OKR Template (Objectives & Key Results)

OKR examples to help your team set measurable goals

Interview Scorecard Template

Sample Recruiting / Hiring Scorecard for making better hiring decisions